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Autonomous Kingdom of Madeira
Reino Autónomo da Madeira (portuguese)

Flag of Madeira.svg.png(AD) 2009 - present

Flagmad.png
Flag
Coatmadeira.png
Coat of Arms

Motto
Das ilhas, as mais belas e livres.
English: Of all islands, the most beautiful and free.

Anthem
Hino da Madeira
Madeira's Anthem

800px-Região Autónoma da Madeira islands.svg.png
The 4 group of isles of Madeira.

Capital city Funchal
Largest city Calheta
Official language(s) Portuguese
Official religion(s) Secular
Demonym Madeirense

Government Constitutional monarchy
- King D. Manuel de Luzia-Sé II
- Prime Minister Albert Johan d'Ardin

Formation .
- Discovery 1418 - 1419 by Portugal
- Settlement circa 1425
- Autonomy 30 April 1976
- Independence 25 April 2009

Area Claimed 801 km2 (309 sq mi)
Population ~267,785 (2011)
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
Summer WEST (UTC+1)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Patron saint Nossa Senhora do Monte

The Autonomous Kingdom of Madeira or usualy abbreviated as Madeira is a simulationist sovereign archipelago or often adressed as a fictional micronation. Madeira is an archipelago of 4 group of islands, located in the north Atlantic Ocean, just under 400 kilometres (250 mi) north of the Canary Islands.

Madeira was claimed by Portuguese sailors in the service of Infante D. Henrique (Henry the Navigator) in 1419, and settled after 1420. The archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Later on 25 April 2009 after the FLAMA's referendum for independence from Portuguese Republic was accepted, the Autonomous Region of Madeira turned into an independent contitutional monarchy and appointed their regional president to Madeira's first prime minister and a sovereign as King of Madeira.

History

Exploration

Pliny the Elder mentioned certain "Purple Islands", their position corresponding to the location of the Fortunate Isles (or Canary Islands), that may have referred to islands of Madeira and Porto Santo. Plutarch (Sertorius, 75 AD) referring to the military commander Quintus Sertorius (d. 72 BC), relates that after his return to Cádiz: "...The islands are said to be two in number separated by a very narrow strait and lie 10,000 furlongs from Africa. They are called the Isles of the Blessed..." The estimated distance from Africa is 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi), and the closeness of the two islands, seem to describe the similar position of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo.

Portuguese Discovery

Much like the Azores, it is clear that some knowledge of Atlantic islands, such as Madeira, existed before the discovery and settlement of these lands, as the islands appear on maps as early as 1339. From a portolan dating to 1351, and preserved in Florence, Italy, it would appear that the islands of Madeira had been discovered long before Portuguese vessels rediscovered them. In Libro del Conocimiento (1348–1349), a Castilian monk also identified the location of the islands in its present location, with the names Leiname (modern Italian legname, cognate of Portuguese madeira, "wood"), Diserta and Puerto Santo.

Officially, in 1418, two captains under service to Prince Henry the Navigator, João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, were driven off-course by a storm to an island which they named Porto Santo; the name was bestowed for their gratitude and divine deliverance from a possible shipwreck by the protected anchorage. The following year, an organised expedition, under the captaincy of Zarco and Vaz Teixeira, was sent to this new land, and along with captain Bartolomeu Perestrello, to take possession of the island on behalf of the Portuguese crown. Subsequently, the new settlers observed "a heavy black cloud suspended to the southwest", which when investigated led to the discovery of the larger island of Madeira.

Settlement

The first settlers began colonizing the islands around 1420 or 1425; the three Captains-major had led the first settlement, along with their respective families, a small group of minor nobility, people of modest conditions and some prisoners, who could be trusted to work the lands. To gain the minimum conditions for the development of agriculture, they had to rough-hew a part of the dense forest of laurisilva and to construct a large number of canals (levadas), since in some parts of the island there was excess water, while in others water was scarce. During this period, fish constituted about half of the settlers' diet, together with vegetables and fruits cultivated from small cleared parcels of land. Initially, these colonists produced wheat for their own subsistence, but later the quantity cultivated was sufficient to begin exporting wheat to continental Portugal.

On the 23 September of 1433, the name Ilha da Madeira began to appear in the first documents and maps. The name given to the islands corresponded to the large dense forests of native laurisilva trees that populated the island during the settlement.

Autonomy

On 1 July 1976, following the democratic revolution of 1974, Portugal granted political autonomy to Madeira, celebrated on Madeira Day. The region now has its own government and legislative assembly.

Independence

The wish for independence was first noticed in Madeira when FLAMA (Frente de Libertação do Arquipélago da Madeira) a right-wing terrorist paramilitary organisation, whose main goal was to achieve Madeira's independence from mainland Portugal carried out some armed and bomb attacks between 1974-1976, during the revolucionary period that followed the Portuguese Carnation Revolution (April 25 1974).

Later on 2009, FLAMA sent an independence refferendum to the Portuguese Republic and after months of denial, Madeira's independence was accepted on 25 April 2009 when the biggest portuguese protest took place in the city of Funchal with almost 80.000 madeirenses. Later in 2010, madeira sent a petition for the United Nation recognition and the reply is still awaited. The current king of Madeira is the sovereign D. Manuel de Luzia-Sé II the 33rd Archbishop of Funchal.

Geography

The archipelago itself is a series of oceanic volcanic islands that date back to the Miocene (about 20 million years ago), and constructed from a hotspot in the Earth's crust of the African Tectonic Plate. Madeira, and the smaller Desertas Islands, are the youngest of these islands (dating from 4.6 to 0.7 million years), while Porto Santo, the smaller of the main islands, is the oldest (approximately 14 million years). Since their immersion, there have been five phases related to the volcanism of the group, and they are particularly visible on the island of Madeira.

Islands and islets

  • Madeira Island (740.7 km²) - including Ilhéu de Agostinho, Ilhéu de São Lourenço, Ilhéu Mole (northwest);
  • Porto Santo Island (42.5 km²) - including Ilhéu de Baixo ou da Cal, Ilhéu de Ferro, Ilhéu das Cenouras, Ilhéu de Fora, Ilhéu de Cima;
  • Desertas Islands (14.2 km²) - including the three uninhabited islands: Deserta Grande Island, Bugio Island and Ilhéu de Chão;
  • Savage Islands (3.6 km²) - archipelago 280 km south-southeast of Madeira Island including three main islands and 16 uninhabited islets in two groups: the Northwest Group (Selvagem Grande Island, Ilhéu de Palheiro da Terra, Ilhéu de Palheiro do Mar) and the Southeast Group (Selvagem Pequena Island, Ilhéu Grande, Ilhéu Sul, Ilhéu Pequeno, Ilhéu Fora, Ilhéu Alto, Ilhéu Comprido, Ilhéu Redondo, Ilhéu Norte).

Climate