S. Miguel Island, Azores
S. Miguel Island, Azores is a natural paradise waiting to be discovered. The also named Green Island a has rich history that you may discover in this post.
S. Miguel Island, Azores is a natural paradise. Alongside with all the other islands of the archipelago.
In fact, according to the travel site UCityGuides the beauty of Azores alone would grant Portugal a place on the top 10 most beautiful countries in the world.
S. Miguel is also nicknamed as “the Green Island” thanks to its abundant pastures and forest covered peaks. The natural breath-taking landscapes of S. Miguel, Azores makes it an enchanted place.
The history of S. Miguel Island, Azores
Portuguese navigators came to S. Miguel sometime between 1427 and 1431. Yet, the first settlement was created only in 1444. It resulted from te order of Henry the Navigator to place cattle ashore on all islands of the Azores. Under the command of Gonçalo Velho Cabral, several Portuguese from Estremadura, Upper Alentejo and the Algarve settled there. Gonçalo Velho Cabral was a knight and friar of the Order of Christ. Later on, the territory also housed people from Madeira, Jews, Moors and French.
The development of S. Miguel Island, Azores
S. Miguel Island, Azores had a rapid economic growth. This happen mainly due to its fertile soil and its geographic position. After all, the Island is set on the cross-roads of Europe, Africa and America. At first, the economic expansion was based on the exports of wheat, sugar cane, special plants used to dye, wine and dairy products. New crops were introduced with the development of the Island’s agriculture. The production of sweet potatoes, maize, yams, flax and oranges became highly important.
All this prosperity raised the greed of many. Therefore, S. Miguel Island, Azores was attacked by French, English and Algerian corsairs. However, were the Spaniards who occupied the Island in 1582. S. Miguel recovered its Portuguese identity with the Restoration of Portugal’s Independence in 1640.
By then it also recovered its leading role as a trading centre. It also developed a close relationship with Brazil. This new period of expansion was interrupted by the Liberal Wars. During those troubled times, S. Miguel was a stronghold against the Absolutist regime.
With the end of the Liberal Wars prosperity came once more. Tea, pineapple, flag, chicory, sugar-beet and tobacco crops were introduced. These were crucial to compensate the end of the export of oranges to England. This interruption happened due to a plague that destroyed the orange production on S. Miguel Island, Azores.
The construction of a new port in Ponta Delgada allowed the increase of the exports. It also boosted the development of the fishing industry.
Nowadays, tea, pineapple, livestock and dairy products are the main stars of the local economy. Alongside of these activities, tourism is becoming more and more important each year to the largest and more inhabited Island of the Azores. S. Miguel is also the seat of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, thus the largest political-administrative centre of the archipelago.