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.

The first inhabitant of the island was a pregnant rabbit, released on the island in a superstitious way by Bartolomeu Perestrelo and his comrades, in order to verify the territory healthy conditions. The rabbits were the first immigrant inhabitants of Porto Santo and became a major obstacle to the establishing of settlers.
In 1446, D. Henrique donated Porto Santo Island to Bartolomeu Perestrelo.

Between 1479 and 1481, Christopher Columbus lived on the island and married one of the daughters of Bartolomeu Perestrelo, D. Filipa Moniz. It was in Porto Santo that Christopher Columbus expanded his knowledge of cartography and navigation, and planned the journey that led him to America. The house where he lived is located in the center of Vila Baleira, and where today is located the Christopher Columbus House Museum.

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