History

Porto Santo Island was the first Portuguese discovery in the fifteenth century. This is the place where the great epic of Discoveries led by Infante D. Henrique began. Years later Christopher Columbus spent some time on the island preparing the voyage for the discovery of America.

For decades Porto Santo has suffered from combined effects of extreme agriculture poverty, due to water shortage and the damage from pirate assaults. Worsening this situation, there was the growing scarcity of arable land, as a result of erosion and the progression of sands and also the precarious health conditions that existed at the time.

This island was abundant in some natural resources such as ‘dragon's blood’ from the Dragon Tree (dracaena draco), which was much used in dyeing and tanneries. Other very important natural resources were lime, clay, salt, fishing and the beach.
Currently, the Porto Santo Island undergoes an exceptional surge of progress, human and economic development, strongly focused on the tertiary sector activities, mainly the tourism industry.
 
Age of Discoveries

The Porto Santo Island was discovered in 1418 by the Portuguese sailors João Gonçalves Zarco, Tristão Vaz Teixeira and Bartolomeu Perestrelo, later appointed first Captain Donee of this island. This trip and the discovery of the island signaled the beginning of the overseas discoveries.
 
Pirates and Corsairs

The island suffered violent attacks by pirates and buccaneers, and the cruelest of them all was the one that happened between the 16th and the 27th of August 1617, perpetrated by an Algerian fleet of eight ships.
 
 
 
From the 19th century to the present day

Porto Santo became a municipality in 1835.
On January 7th 1893, a first analysis of Fontinha waters was made in Paris, which revealed that this liquid was bicarbonate, chlorinated and sodium sulfated, and so it was recommended for skin treatments and digestive tract diseases.
  
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