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All About Portugal | January 21, 2021

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Flores Island history

Flores Island
Clara Campos

Flores Island is one of the amazing islands of the Azores archipelago. Its history and economic growth are linked to the sea, the vineyards and the whaling.

Flores Island history started sometime around 1452. The exact date of the Island’s discovery is unknown. Its name means literally Flowers Island and it came from the fact that the island was covered with flowers when the first settlers landed.

Flores Island development

The first settlers came from Flanders, under the orders of Willem van der Haghen. This Flemish had already been responsible for the efforts to settle Sao Jorge Island. However, they didn’t stay for long either due to Flores Island’s isolation or to its poor economic potential.

After the Flemish experience, Flores Island was abandoned for several years. Then in 1508 another group of settlers headed by a Portuguese family named Fonseca came to the Island. Since then there has been a sustained demographic growth on the Island. More people mean more development and by the end of the 16th century both Lajes das Flores and Santa Cruz das Flores were granted town charters.

During the first centuries the economy grew mostly based on the growth of cereal, sheep breeding, fishing and the production of cloth. Life was hard but peaceful.
Flowers at Flores Island

Photo by Galeria de unukorno

The strategic location of the Island ended by making pirates and corsairs covetous. They came in search of the treasures brought aboard the Portuguese galleons arriving from the East and the Spanish ships arriving from the Americas.

During the 18th century Flores Island was sought by English and North-American whalers, who were coming to hunt sperm whales. Shortly after, were built premises to extract the oil from the whales. The whaling became an important economic activity of the Island.

During the 20th century the Island’s economy boosted once more mainly due to the airport opened in 1972. Tourism is becoming more and more a source of income of the Flores Island. Even though there aren´t many hotels and restaurants in Flores Island the ones existing offer all the conditions needed for wonderful holidays.

Where is Flores Islands?

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Hotel das flores: 39.462902, -31.136798
Hotel Ocidental: 39.461400, -31.127700
Aldeia da Cuada: 39.440766, -31.256275

Main Image Credits

Photo by Galeria de Maria Cartas

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