Online Encyclopedia

FUNCHAL

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 301 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FUNCHAL, the capital of the Portuguese archipelago of the Madeiras; on the south coast of Madeira, in 32° 37' N. and 16° 54' W. Pop. (1900) 20,850. Funchal is the see of a bishop, in the archiepiscopal province of Lisbon; it is also the administrative centre of the archipelago, and the residence of the governor and foreign consuls. The city has an attractive appearance from the sea. Its whitewashed houses, in their gardens full of tropical plants, are built along the curving shore of Funchal Bay, and on the lower slopes of.an amphitheatre of mountains, which form a background 4000 ft. high. Numerous country houses (quintas), with terraced gardens, vineyards and FUNCTION 301 sugar-cane plantations occupy the surrounding heights. Three mountain streams traverse the city through deep channels, which in summer are dry, owing to the diversion of the water for irrigation. A small fort, on an isolated rock off shore, guards the entrance to the bay, and a larger and more powerfully armed fort crowns an eminence inland. The chief buildings include the cathedral, Anglican and Presbyterian churches, hospitals, opera-house, museum and casino. There are small public gardens and a meteorological observatory. In the steep and narrow streets, which are lighted by electricity, wheeled traffic is impossible; sledges drawn by oxen, and other primitive conveyances are used instead (see MADEIRA). In winter the fine climate and scenery attract numerous invalids and other visitors, for whose accommodation there are good hotels; many foreigners engaged in the coal and wine trades also reside here permanently. The majority of these belong to the British community, which was first established here in the 18th century. Funchal is the headquarters of Madeiran industry and commerce (see MADEIRA). It has no docks and no facilities for landing passengers or goods; vessels are obliged to anchor in the roadstead, which, however, is sheltered from every wind except the south. Funchal is connected by cable with Carcavellos (for Lisbon), Porthcurnow (for Falmouth, England) and St Vincent in the Cape Verde Islands (for Pernambuco, Brazil).
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