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MADEIRA

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 283 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MADEIRA ISLANDS Forte l.. Pico Ss F to Santo Porto s a Ferro l. . °. ee..o `6 q.° C Po English Miles ~.. $ to t5 v 33 L A N T I 950 33` A T c• ' >< C Qt. T°~°` ,apt. ^^ak a S~ 0.6° ~~nF Rio Pt. e y i1y,,/~!'b a` Fore I. 6Oµ Wp neab 5 F 3?.~'~ b° ~~e,• , M1 F!_t`{, Seg.° 'te„~ L°P° vt <, C °e o/ Madeira ca."' ~ ; `~o~~~~ .,,r 5° 1 ° o e Q I. cPaP r' 0 C L A N Pedreon17, eserta Grande 3i d Bosses io Pt fugio Longitude West tiro'. Greenwich 1630 Arabs Pi Emery Walker w The Selvagens or Salvages are a group of three islands, 156 m. from Madeira, and between Madeira and the Canary Islands. The largest island is the Great Piton, 3 m. long, and 1 m. broad. The inclusion of the Selvagens in the Madeira Archipelago is due to political rather than to geographical reasons. Geology.—All the islands of the group are of volcanic origin. They are the summits of very lofty mountains which have their bases in an abyssal ocean. The greater part of what is now visible in Madeira is of subaerial formation, consisting of basaltic and trachytic lavas, beds of tuff and other ejectamenta, the result of a long and complicated series of eruptions from innumerable vents. Besides this building up by the emission of matter from craters and clefts, a certain amount of upheaval in mass has taken place, for at a spot about 1200 ft. above the sea in the northern valley of Sao Vicente, and again at about the same height in Porto Santo, there have been found fragments of limestone accompanied by tuffs containing marine shells and echinoderms of the Miocene Tertiary epoch. We have here proof that during or since that epoch portions at least of these islands have been bodily uplifted more than woo ft. The fossils are sufficiently well preserved to admit of their genera, and in many instances even their species, being made out. There were pauses of considerable duration whilst the island of Madeira was being increased in height. The leaf bed and the accompanying carbonaceous matter, frequently termed lignite, although it displays no trace of structure, which lie under 1200 ft. cf lavas in the valley of Sao Jorge, afford proof that there had been sufficient time for the growth of a vegetation of high order, many of the leaf impressions belonging to species of trees and shrubs which still exist on the island. Moreover, great alterations and dislocations had taken place in the rocks of various localities before other lavas and tuffs had been thrown upon them. There are no data for determining when volcanic action began in this locality, but looking at the enormous depth of the surrounding sea it is clear that a vast period of time must have elapsed to allow of a great mountain reaching the surface and then rising several thousand feet. Again, considering the comparatively feeble agents for effecting the work of denudation (neither glaciers nor thick accumulations of alpine snow being found here), and then the enormous erosion that has actually taken place, the inference is inevitable that a very great lapse of time was required to excavate the deep and wide ravines that everywhere intersect the island. Nor is anything known as to the period of the cessation of volcanic action. At the present day there are no live craters or smoking crevices, as at the Canaries and Cape Verdes, nor any hot springs, as at the Azores. In one of the northern ravines of Madeira by Porto da Cruz some masses of a coarsely crystalline Essexite are exposed to view; this rock is evidently the deep-seated representative of the Trachydoleritic and Nepheline basalt lavas. Fragments of a sodalite-syenite have also been found at Soca in the same neighbourhood. In the eastern part of the island several small crater rings are to be seen; their rims are formed of spheroidal basalt, while within the craters themselves masses of bauxite are found accompanied by evidences of fumerolic action. In the sections afforded by the ravines, which strike north and south from the central ridge of Madeira to the sea, the nucleus of the island is seen to consist of a confused mass of more or less stratified rock, upon which rest beds of tuff, scoriae and lava, in the shape of basalt, trap and trachyte, the whole traversed by dykes. These beds are thinnest near the central axis; as they approach the coast they become thicker and less intersected by dykes. In various parts are elevated tracts of comparatively level ground. These are supposed to have been formed by the meeting of numerous streams of lava flowing from cones and points of eruption in close proximity, various ejectamenta assisting at the same time to fill up inequalities. Deep down in some of the lateral ravines may be seen ancient cones of eruption which have been overwhelmed by streams of melted matter issuing from the central region, and after-wards exposed to view by the same causes that excavated the ravines. These ravines may be regarded as having been formed at first by subterranean movements, both gradual and violent, which dislocated the rocks and cut clefts through which streams flowed to the sea. In course of time the waters, periodically swollen by melted snows and the copious rains of winter, would cut deeper and deeper into the heart of the mountains, and would undermine the lateral cliffs, until the valleys became as large as we now find them. Even the Curral, which from its rounded shape and its position in the centre of the island has been usually deemed the ruins of a crater, is thought to be nothing more than a valley scooped out in the way described. The rarity of crateriform cavities in Madeira is very remarkable. There exists, however, to the east of Funchal, on a tract 2000 ft. high, the Lagoa, a small but perfect crater, 500 ft. in diameter, and with a depth of 150 ft.; and there is another, which is a double one, in the district known as Fanal, in the north-west of Madeira, nearly 5000 ft. above the sea. The basalt, of which much of the outer part of the island is composed, is of a dark colour and a tough texture, with small disseminated crystals of olivine and augite. It is sometimes full of vesicular cavities, formed by the expansion of imprisoned gases. A rudely columnar structure is very often seen in the basalt, but there is nothing so perfect as the columns of Staffa or the Giant's Causeway. The trachytic rocks are small in quantity compared with those of the basaltic class. The tufa is soft and friable, and generally of a yellow colour; but where it has been overflowed by a hot stream of lava it has assumed a red colour. Black ashes and fragments of pumice are sometimes found in the tufaceous strata. There are no metallic ores, nor has any sulphur been found; but a little iron pyrites and specular iron are occasionally met with. The basalt yields an excellent building-stone, various qualities of which are quarried near Camara de Lobos, five or six miles west of Funchal. In Porto Santo the trachytic rocks bear a much greater proportion to the basaltic than in Madeira. An adjacent islet is formed of tuffs and calcareous rock, indicating a submarine origin, upon which supramarine lavas have been poured. The older series contains corals and shells (also of the Miocene Tertiary epoch), with water-worn pebbles, cemented together by carbonate of lime, the whole appearing to have been a coral reef near an ancient beach. The calcareous rock is taken in large quantities to Funchal, to be burnt into lime for building purposes. Climate.—Observations taken at Funchal Observatory (8o ft. above sea-level) in the last twenty years of the 19th century showed that the mean annual temperature is about 65° F. The mean minimum for the coldest part of the year (October to May inclusive) does not fall below 55°, and the average daily variation of temperature in the same period does not exceed to°. Madeira thus has a remarkably mild climate, though it liestonly toe north of the Tropic of Cancer. This mildness is due to the surrounding ocean, from which the atmosphere obtains a large supply of watery vapour. The mean humidity of the air is about 75 (saturation =100). The prevalent winds are from the north or from a few points east or west of north, but these winds are much mitigated on the south coast by the central range of mountains. The west wind usually brings rain. That from the east is a dry wind. A hot and dry wind, the leste of the natives, occasionally blows from the east-south-east, the direction of the Sahara, and causes the hill region to be hotter than below; but even on the coast the thermometer under its influence sometimes indicates 930. The leste is often accompanied by sandstorms. As the thermometer has never been known to fall as low as 46° at Funchal, frost and snow are there wholly unknown; but snow falls on the mountains once or twice during the winter, very seldom, however, below the altitude of 2000 ft. Thunderstorms are rare, and scarcely ever violent. Madeira has long had a high reputation as a sanatory resort for persons suffering from diseases of the chest. Notwithstanding the ever-increasing competition of other winter resorts, a consider-able number of invalids, especially English and German, winter at Funchal. Fauna.—No species of land mammal is indigenous to the Madeiras. Some of the early voyagers indeed speak of wild goats and swine, but these animals must have escaped from confinement. The rabbit, black rat, brown rat and mouse have been introduced. The first comers encountered seals, and this amphibious mammal (Mona-chits albiventer) still lingers at the Desertas. Amongst the thirty species of birds which breed in these islands are the kestrel, buzzard and barn owl, the blackbird, robin, wagtail, goldfinch, ring sparrow, linnet, two swifts, three pigeons, the quail, red-legged partridge, woodcock, tern, herring gull, two petrels and three puffins. Only one species is endemic, and that is a wren (Regulus madeirensis), but five other species are known elsewhere only at the Canaries. These are the green canary (Fringilla butyracea, the parent of the domesticated yellow variety), a chaffinch (Fringilla tinlillon), a swift (Cypselus unicolor), a wood pigeon (Columba trocaz) and a petrel (Thalassidroma Bulwerii). There is also a local variety of the black-cap, distinguishable from the common kind by the extension in the male of the cap to the shoulder. About seventy other species have been seen from time to time in Madeira, chiefly stragglers from the African coast, many of them coming with the leste wind. The only land reptile is a small lizard (Lacerla dugesii), which is abundant and is very destructive to the grape crop. The logger-head turtle (Caouana caretta, Gray) is frequently captured, and is cooked for the table, but the soup is much inferior to that made from the green turtle of the West Indies. A single variety of frog (Rana esculenta) has been introduced ; there are no other batrachians. About 250 species of marine fishes taken at Madeira have been scientifically determined, the largest families being Scombridae with 35 species, the sharks with 24, the Sparidae with 15, the rays with 14, the Labridae with 13, the Gadidae with 12, the eels with 12, the Percidae with and the Carangidae with to. Many kinds, such as the mackerel, horse mackerel, groper, mullet, braise, &c., are caught in abundance, and afford a cheap article of diet to the people. Several species of tunny are taken plentifully in spring and summer, one of them sometimes attaining the weight of 300 lb. The only fresh-water fish is the common eel, which is found in one or two of the streams. According to T. V. Wollaston (Testacea atlantica, 1878), there have been found 158 species of mollusca on the land, 6 inhabiting fresh water, and 7 littoral species, making a total of 171. A large majority of the land shells are considered to be peculiar. Many of the species are variable in form or colour, and some have an extra-ordinary number of varieties. Of the land mollusca 91 ,species are assigned to the genus Helix, 31 to the genus Pupa, and 15 to the genus Achatina (or Lovea). About 43 species are found both living and fossil in superficial deposits of calcareous sand in Madeira or Porto Santo. These deposits were assigned by Lyell to the Newer Pliocene period. Some 12 or 13 species have not been hitherto discovered alive. More than loo species of Polyzoa (Bryozoa) have been collected,. among them are some highly interesting forms. The only order of insects which has been thoroughly examined is that of the Coleoptera. By the persevering researches of T. V. Wollaston the astonishing number of 695 species of beetles has been brought to light at the Madeiras. The proportion of endemic kinds is very large, and it is remarkable that 200 of them are either wingless or their wings are so poorly developed that they cannot fly, while 23 of the endemic genera have all their species in this condition. With regard to the Lepidoptera, 11 or 12 species of butterflies have been seen, all of which belong to European genera. Some of the species are geographical varieties of well-known types. Upward of loo moths have been collected, the majority of them being of a European stamp, but probably a fourth of the total number are peculiar to the Madeiran group. Thirty-seven species of Neuroptera have been observed in Madeira, 12 of them being so far as is known peculiar. The bristle-footed worms of the coast have been studied by Professor P. Langerhans, who has met with about 200 species, of which a large number were new to science. There are no modern coral reefs, but several species of stony and flexible corals have been collected, though none are of commercial value. There is, however, a white stony coral allied to the red coral of the Mediterranean which would be valuable as an article of trade if it could be obtained in sufficient quantity. Specimens of a rare and handsome red Paragorgia are in the British Museum and Liverpool Museum.orders are the Compositae, Leguminosae and Graminaceae. Forty-one species of ferns grow in Madeira, three of which are endemic species and six others belong to the peculiar flora of the North Atlantic islands. About zoo species of moss have been collected, and 47 species of Hepaticae. A connexion between the flora of Madeira and that of the West Indies and tropical America has been inferred from the presence in the former of six ferns found nowhere in Europe or North Africa, but existing on the islands of the east coast of America or on the Isthmus of Panama. A further relationship to that continent is to be traced by the presence in Madeira of the beautiful ericaceous tree Clethra arborea, belonging to a genus which is otherwise wholly American, and of a Persea, a tree laurel, also an American genus. The dragon tree (Dracaena Draco) is almost extinct. Amongst the trees most worthy of note are four of the laurel order belonging to separate genera, an Ardisia, Pittosporum, Sideroxylon, Notelaea, Rhamnus and Myrica,—a strange mixture of genera to be found on a small Atlantic island. Two heaths of arborescent growth and a whortleberry cover large tracts on the mountains. In some parts there is a belt of the Spanish chestnut about the height of 1500 ft. There is no indigenous pine tree as at the Canaries; but large tracts on the hills have been planted with Pinus pinaster, from which the fuel of the inhabitants is mainly derived. A European juniper (J. Oxycedrus), growing to the height of 40 or 50 ft., was formerly abundant, but has been almost exterminated, as its scented wood is prized by the cabinet-maker. Several of the native trees and shrubs now grow only in situations which are nearly inaccessible, and some of the, indigenous plants are of the greatest rarity. But some plants of foreign origin have spread in a remarkable manner. Among these is the common cactus or prickly pear (Opuntia Tuna), which in many spots on the coast is sufficiently abundant to give a character to the landscape. As to Algae, the coast is too rocky and the sea too unquiet for a luxuriant marine vegetation, consequently the species are few and poor. Inhabitants.—The inhabitants are of Portuguese descent, with probably some intermixture of Moorish and negro blood amongst the lower classes. The dress of the peasantry, without being picturesque, is peculiar. Both men and women in the outlying country districts wear the carapuca, a small cap made of blue cloth in shape something like a funnel, with the pipe standing upwards. The men have trousers of linen, drawn tight, and terminating at the knees; a coarse shirt enveloping the upper part of their person, covered by a short jacket, completes their attire, with the exception of a pair of rough yellow boots. The women's outer garments consist of a gaudily coloured gown, made from island material, with a small cape of coarse scarlet or blue woollen cloth.) The population tends to increase rapidly. In 1900 it amounted to 150,574, including 890 foreigners, of whom the majority were British. The number of females exceeds that of males by about 6000, partly because many of the able-bodied males emigrate to Brazil or the United States. The density of population (479.5 per sq. m. ) is very great for a district containing no large town and chiefly dependent on agriculture and viticulture. Agriculture.—A large portion of the land was formerly entailed in the families of the landlords (morgados), but entails have been abolished by the legislature, and the land is now absolutely free. The deficiency of water is a great obstacle to the proper cultivation of the land, and the rocky nature or steep inclination of the upper parts of the islands is an effectual bar to all tillage. An incredible amount of labour has been expended upon the soil, partly in the erection of walls intended to prevent its being washed away by the rains, and to build up the plots of ground in the form of terraces. Watercourses have been constructed for purposes of irrigation, without which at regular intervals the island would not produce a hundredth part of its present yield. These watercourses originate high up in the ravines, are built of masonry or driven through the rock, and wind about for miles until they reach the cultivated land. Some of them are brought by tunnels from the north side of the island through the central crest of hill. Each occupier takes his turn at the running stream for so many hours in the day or night at a time notified to him beforehand. In this climate flowing water has a saleable value as well as land, which is useless without irrigation. The agricultural implements employed are of the rudest kind, and the system of cultivation is extremely primitive. Very few of the occupiers own the land they cultivate ; but they almost invariably own the walls, cottages and trees standing thereon, the land alone belonging to the landlord. The tenant can sell his share of the property without the consent of the landlord, and if he does not so Flora.—The vegetation is strongly impressed with a south-European character, Many of the plants in the lower region undoubtedly were introduced and naturalized after the Portuguese colonization. A large number of the remainder are found at the Canaries and the Azores, or in one of these groups, but nowhere else. Lastly, there are about a hundred plants which are peculiarly Madeiran, either as distinct species or as strongly marked varieties. The flowering plants found truly wild belong to about 363 genera and 717 species,—the monocotyledons numbering 70 genera and 128 species, the dicotyledons 293 genera and 589 species. The three largest dispose of it that share passes to his heirs. In this way the tenant practically enjoys fixity of tenure, for the landlord is seldom in a position to pay the price at which the tenant's share is valued. Money rents are rare, the metayer system regulating almost universally the relations between landlord and tenant; that is, the tenant pays to the owner a certain portion of the produce, usually one half or one third. The holdings are as a rule rarely larger than one man can cultivate with a little occasional assistance. There are few meadows and pastures, the cattle being stall-fed when not feeding on the mountains. Horses are never employed for draught, all labour of that kind being done by oxen. The two staple productions of the soil are wine and sugar. The vine was introduced from Cyprus or Crete soon after the discovery of the island by the Portuguese (1420), but it was not actively cultivated until the early part of the 16th century. The vines, after having been totally destroyed by the oidium disease, which made its first appearance in the island in 1852, were replanted, and Wlne. in a few years wine was again made. The phylloxera also made its way to the island, and every vineyard in Madeira was more or less affected by it. The wine usually termed Madeira is made from a mixture of black and white grapes, which are also made separately into wines called Tinta and Verdelho, after the names of the grapes. Other high-class wines, known as Bual, Sercial and Malmsey, are made from varieties of grapes bearing the same names. (See also WINE.) The sugar cane is said to have been brought from Sicily about 1452, and in course of time its produce became the sole staple of the island. The cultivation languished, however, as the more abundant produce of tropical countries came into the European market, and sugar had long ceased to be made when the destruction of the vines compelled the peasants to turn their attention to other things. Its cultivation was resumed and sugar machinery imported. A Sugar considerable quantity of spirit is made by the distillation of the juice or of the molasses left after extracting the sugar, and this is consumed on the island. The cane does not flourish here as luxuriantly as within the tropics; but in localities below woo ft., where there is a good supply of water, it pays the cultivator well. The grain produced on the island (principally wheat, barley and Indian corn) is not sufficient for the consumption of the people. The common potato, sweet potato and gourds of various kinds are extensively grown, as well as the Colocasia esculenta, the kalo of the Pacific islanders, the root of which yields an insipid food. Most of the common table vegetables of Europe are plentiful. Besides apples, pears and peaches, all of poor quality, oranges, lemons, guavas, mangoes, loquats, custard-apples, figs, bananas and pine-apples are produced, the last two forming articles of export. The date palm is occasionally grown, but its fruit is scarcely edible. On the hills large quantities of the Spanish chestnut afford an item in the food of the common people. A little tobacco is grown, and is made into cigars of inferior quality. The total foreign trade of Madeira was valued at £628,000 in 1900. The principal exports are wine, sugar, embroidery, vegetables, fruits and wicker goods. Coal is imported for the ships calling at Funchal, which is the headquarters of Madeiran commerce and industry. Spirits, beer, olive oil, soap, butter, linen and woollen goods, straw hats and leather, are manufactured for home consumption, and there are important fisheries. Chief Towns and Communications.—Funchal (pop. 20,850) is described in a separate article. The other chief towns are Camara de Lobos (7150), Machico (6128), Santa Cruz (5876) Ponta do Sol (5665), Sao Vicente (4896), Calheta (3475), Sant' Anna (3012) and Porto Santo (2311). Each of these is the capital of a commune (concelho), to which it gives its name. Madeira is connected by regular lines of steamships with Great Britain, Germany, Portugal, Cape Colony, Brazil and the United States. There is no railway in the archipelago, and partly owing to the irregularities of the surface of the roads, of which there are some 58o m., are bad, except in the neighbourhood of Funchal. Wheel carriages are rare, and all heavy goods are transported either on the backs of mules or upon rude wooden sledges drawn by bullocks. When horses are not employed, locomotion is effected either by means of hammocks or by bullock cars. The ham-mock (ree"de) is a piece of stout canvas gathered up and secured at each end to a long pole carried by a couple of bearers. In place of cabs, curtained cars on sledges, made to hold four persons, and drawn by a pair of bullocks, are employed. They are convenient, but the rate of progress is very slow. Administration.—The archipelago is officially styled the district of Funchal; it returns members to the Portuguese Cortes, and is regarded as an integral part of the kingdom. The district is subdivided into the eight communes already enumerated, and is administered in accordance with the same laws that 253 regulate local government on the mainland (see PORTUGAL). Funchal is a Roman Catholic bishopric in the archiepiscopal province of Lisbon. Education is compulsory in name only, for less than 2% of the population could read when the census of 1900 was taken. An infantry regiment and a battery of garrison artillery are permanently stationed in Madeira. History.—It has been conjectured, but on insufficient evidence, that the Phoenicians discovered Madeira at a very early period. Pliny mentions certain Purple or Mauretanian Islands, the position of which with reference to the Fortunate Islands or Canaries might seem to indicate the Madeiras. There is a romantic story, to the effect that two lovers, Robert Machim, a Machin, or Macham, and Anna d'Arfet, fleeing from England to France (c. 1370) were driven out of their course by a violent storm and cast on the coast of Madeira at the place subsequently named Machico, in memory of one of them. Both perished here, but some of their crew escaped to the Barbary coast, and. were made slaves. Among them was the pilot Pedro Morales of Seville, who is said to have been ransomed and to have communicated his knowledge of Madeira to Joao Goncalvez Zarco (or Zargo). How far this story is true cannot now be ascertained. It is, however, certain that Zarco first sighted Porto Santo in 1418, having been driven thither by a storm while he was exploring the coast of West Africa. Madeira itself was discovered in 1420. It is probable that the whole archipelago had been explored at an earlier date by Genoese adventurers, and had been forgotten; for an Italian map dated 13 51 (the Laurentian portolano) shows the Madeiras quite clearly, and there is some reason to believe that they were known to the Genoese before 1339. When Zarco visited Madeira in 1420 the islands were uninhabited, but Prince Henry the Navigator at once began their colonization, aided by the knights of the Order of Christ. Sanctioned by the pope and by two charters which the king of Portugal granted in 1430 and 1433, the work proceeded apace; much land was deforested and brought into cultivation, and the Madeiran sugar trade soon became important. For the sixty years 158o–164o Madeira, with Portugal itself, was united with Spain. Slavery was abolished in Madeira in 1775, by order of Pombal. In 18o2 British troops, commanded by General Beresford, occupied the island for a few months, and it was again under the British flag from 1807 to 1814. It shared in the civil disturbances brought about by the accession of Dom Miguel (see PORTUGAL: History), but after 1833 its history is a record of peaceful commercial development. See A. S. Brown, Madeira, the Canary Islands and the Azores (1903), a comprehensive study of the three archipelagoes. The Land of the Wine, by A. J. D. Biddle (Philadelphia, 1901) is generally valuable, but its history cannot be trusted. See also P. Langerhans, Handbuch fitr Madeira (1884) and Vahl, Madeira's Vegetation (Copenhagen, 1904).
End of Article: MADEIRA
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