Azores

Azores (Açores)
Autonomous Region (Região Autónoma)
Açores 2010-07-19 (5047589237).jpg
Mount Pico and the green landscape, emblematic of the archipelago of the Azores
Official name: Região Autónoma dos Açores
Name origin: açor, Portuguese for the Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis, pt:Açor), a species of raptor
Motto: Antes morrer livres que em paz sujeitos
(English: "Rather die as free men than be enslaved in peace")
Country   Portugal
Autonomous Region  Azores
Region Atlantic Ocean
Subregion Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Position Azores Platform
Islands Corvo, Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, São Jorge, São Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira
Municipalities Angra do Heroísmo, Calheta, Horta, Lagoa, Lajes das Flores, Lajes do Pico, Madalena, Nordeste, Povoação, Praia da Vitória, Ponta Delgada, Ribeira Grande, Santa Cruz da Graciosa, Santa Cruz das Flores, São Roque, Velas, Vila do Corvo, Vila do Porto, Vila Franca do Campo
Capital cities Angra do Heroísmo,
Horta, Ponta Delgada
Largest city Ponta Delgada
 - center São José
 - elevation 22 m (72 ft)
 - coordinates 37°44′28″N 25°40′32″W / 37°44′28″N 25°40′32″W / 37.74111; -25.67556
Highest point Mount Pico
 - elevation 2,351 m (7,713 ft)
 - coordinates 38°28′19″N 28°51′50″W / 38°28′19″N 28°51′50″W / 38.47194; -28.86389
Lowest point Sea level
 - location Atlantic Ocean
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Area 2,333 km2 (901 sq mi)
Population 245,746 (2012) Census 2011
Density 105.87/km2 (274/sq mi)
Settlement 15 August 1432
 - Administrative autonomy c. 1895
 - Political autonomy 4 September 1976
Discovery c. 1427
 -  Santa Maria c. 1427
 -  São Miguel c. 1428
Management
 - location Assembleia Regional, Rua Marcelino Lima, Horta, Faial
 - elevation 46 m (151 ft)
 - coordinates 38°32′6″N 28°37′51″W / 38°32′6″N 28°37′51″W / 38.53500; -28.63083
Government
 - location Palácio de Santana, Rua José Jácome Correia, Ponta Delgada, São Miguel
 - elevation 60 m (197 ft)
 - coordinates 37°44′52″N 25°40′19″W / 37°44′52″N 25°40′19″W / 37.74778; -25.67194
President (Government) Vasco Cordeiro ( PS)
 - President (Assembleia) Ana Luís ( PS)
Timezone AZOT ( UTC−1)
 - summer (DST) AZOST ( UTC)
ISO 3166-2 code PT-20
Postal code 9XXX-XXX
Area code (+351) 29X XX XX XX [1]
ccTLD .pt
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Drives on the right
Demonym Azorean
Patron Saint Espírito Santo
Holiday 51st day (Monday) following Easter (Dia da Região Autónoma dos Açores)
Anthem A Portuguesa (national)
Hino dos Açores (regional)
Currency Euro (€) [2]
GDP (nominal) 2013
- Total € 3,694 million [3]
- Per capita € 14,900 [3]
Locator map of Azores in EU.svg
Location of the Azores relative to Portugal (green) and the rest of the European Union (dark blue)
Azoren blank map.PNG
Distribution of the islands of the archipelago
Wikimedia Commons: Azores
Statistics: Instituto Nacional de Estatística [4]
Website: www.azores.gov.pt
Geographic detail from CAOP (2010) [5] produced by Instituto Geográfico Português (IGP)

The Azores ( z/ ə-ZORZ or z/ AY-zorz; Portuguese: Açores, [ɐˈsoɾɨʃ]), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (Região Autónoma dos Açores), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. It is an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of continental Portugal, about 1,643 km (1,021 mi) west of Lisbon, in continental Portugal, about 1,507 km (936 mi) from the African coast, and about 1,925 km (1,196 mi) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Its main industries are agriculture, dairy farming, livestock, fishing, and tourism, which is becoming the major service activity in the region. In addition, the government of the Azores employs a large percentage of the population directly or indirectly in the service and tertiary sectors. The main settlement of the Azores is Ponta Delgada.

There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are Flores and Corvo, to the west; Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas Reef to the east. They extend for more than 600 km (370 mi) and lie in a northwest-southeast direction.

All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, is the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351 m (7,713 ft). If measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which thrust high above the surface of the Atlantic, the Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet.

The climate of the Azores is very mild for such a northerly location, being influenced by its distance from the continents and by the passing Gulf Stream. Due to the marine influence, temperatures remain mild year-round. Daytime temperatures normally fluctuate between 16 °C (61 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F) depending on season. [6] [7] Temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F) or below 3 °C (37 °F) are unknown in the major population centres. It is also generally wet and cloudy.

The culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions of the Azorean islands vary considerably, because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries.

History

A small number of alleged hypogea, earthen structures carved into rocks that were used for burials, have been identified on the islands of Corvo, Santa Maria and Terceira by Portuguese archaeologist Nuno Ribeiro, who speculated that they might date back 2000 years, alluding to a human presence on the island before the Portuguese. [8] However, these kinds of structures have been used in the Azores to store cereals, and suggestions by Ribeiro that they might be burial sites are unconfirmed. Detailed examination and dating to authenticate the validity of these speculations is lacking. [9] It is unclear whether these structures are natural or man-made and whether they predate the 15th-century Portuguese colonization of the Azores. Solid confirmation of a pre-Portuguese human presence in the archipelago has not yet been published.

European discovery

1584 map of the Azores.

The islands were known in the fourteenth century and parts of them appear in the Atlas Catalan. In 1427, a captain sailing for Henry the Navigator, possibly Gonçalo Velho, rediscovered the Azores, but this is not certain. In Thomas Ashe's 1813 work, A History of the Azores, [10] the author identified a Fleming, Joshua Vander Berg of Bruges, who made landfall in the archipelago during a storm on his way to Lisbon. [10] He stated that the Portuguese explored the area and claimed it for Portugal. [10] Other stories note the discovery of the first islands ( São Miguel Island, Santa Maria Island and Terceira Island) by sailors in the service of Henry the Navigator, although there are few documents to support the claims.

Although it is commonly said that the archipelago received its name from the goshawk (Açor in Portuguese), a common bird at the time of discovery, it is unlikely that the bird nested or hunted in the islands.

Settlement

Angra do Heroísmo, the oldest continuously-settled town in the archipelago of the Azores and UNESCO World Heritage Site

There were no large animals on Santa Maria, so after its discovery and before settlement began, sheep were let loose on the island to supply future settlers with food. Settlement did not take place right away, however. There was not much interest among the Portuguese people in an isolated archipelago so far from civilization. However, Gonçalo Velho Cabral patiently gathered resources and settlers for the next three years (1433–1436) and sailed to establish colonies first on Santa Maria and then on São Miguel.

Settlers cleared bush and rocks to plant crops—grain, grape vines, sugar cane, and other plants suitable for local use and of commercial value. They brought domesticated animals, such as chickens, rabbits, cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs and built houses and established villages.

The archipelago was largely settled from mainland Portugal. Portuguese settlers came from the provinces of Algarve, Minho, Alentejo and Ribatejo as well as Madeira. São Miguel was first settled in 1444, the settlers – mainly from the Estremadura, Alto Alentejo and Algarve areas of mainland Portugal, under the command of Gonçalo Velho Cabral – landed at the site of modern-day Povoação. Many early settlers were Portuguese Sephardic Jews who fled the pressures of inquisition in mainland Portugal. In 1522 Vila Franca do Campo, then the capital of the island, was devastated by an earthquake and landslide that killed about 5,000 people, and the capital was moved to Ponta Delgada. The town of Vila Franca do Campo was rebuilt on the original site and today is a thriving fishing and yachting port. Ponta Delgada received its city status in 1546. From the first settlement, the pioneers applied themselves to agriculture and by the 15th century Graciosa exported wheat, barley, wine and brandy. The goods were sent to Terceira largely because of the proximity of the island.

During the 18th and 19th century, Graciosa was host to many prominent figures, including Chateaubriand, the French writer who passed through upon his escape to America during the French revolution; Almeida Garrett, the Portuguese poet who visited an uncle and wrote some poetry while there; and Prince Albert of Monaco, the 19th century oceanographer who led several expeditions in the waters of the Azores. He arrived on his yacht Hirondelle, and visited the furna da caldeira, the noted hot springs grotto. In 1869, the author Mark Twain published The Innocents Abroad, a travel book, where he described his time in the Azores.

The first reference to the island of São Jorge was made in 1439 but the actual date of discovery is unknown. In 1443 the island was already inhabited but active settlement only began with the arrival of the noble Flemish native Wilhelm Van der Haegen. Arriving at Topo, where he lived and died, he became known as Guilherme da Silveira to the islanders. João Vaz Corte-Real received the captaincy of the island in 1483. Velas became a town before the end of the 15th century. By 1490, there were 2,000 Flemings living in the islands of Terceira, Pico, Faial, São Jorge and Flores. Because there was such a large Flemish settlement, the Azores became known as the Flemish Islands or the Isles of Flanders. Prince Henry the Navigator was responsible for this settlement. His sister, Isabel, was married to Duke Philip of Burgundy of which Flanders was a part. There was a revolt against Philip's rule and disease and hunger became rampant. Isabel appealed to Henry to allow some of the unruly Flemings to settle in the Azores. He granted this and supplied them with the necessary transportation and goods.

The settlement of the then-unoccupied islands started in 1439 with people mainly from the continental provinces of Algarve and Alentejo. In 1583, Philip II of Spain, as king of Portugal, sent his fleet to clear the Azores of a combined multinational force of adventurers, mercenaries, volunteers and soldiers who were attempting to establish the Azores as a staging post for a rival pretender to the Portuguese throne. Following the success of his fleet at the Battle of Ponta Delgada, the captured enemies were hanged from yardarms, as they were considered pirates by Philip II. This was added to the " Black Legend" by his enemies.[ citation needed] An English expedition to the Azores in 1589 was met with success as a few of the islands along with the harbouring ships were plundered. Another English expedition against the Azores in 1597, the Islands Voyage, however failed. Spain held the Azores in what is called The Babylonian captivity of 1580–1642. Into the late 16th century, the Azores as well as Madeira began to face problems of overpopulation. Spawning from that particular economic problem, some of the people began to emigrate to Brazil. [11]

Iberian Union

Following the death of Henry, the Cardinal-King of Portugal the nation fell into a dynastic crisis with various pretenders to the Crown of Portugal. [12] Following his proclamation in Santarém, António, Prior of Crato was acclaimed in the Azores in 1580 (through his envoy António da Costa), but was expelled from the continent following the Battle of Alcântara. [12] Yet, through the administration of Cipriano de Figueiredo, governor of Terceira (who continued to govern Terceira in the name of ill-fated, former-king Sebastian of Portugal), the Azoreans resisted attempts to conquer the islands (including specifically at the Battle of Salga). [13] It was Figueiredo and Violante do Canto who helped organize a resistance on Terceira that influenced some of the response of the other islands, even as internal politics and support for Philip's faction increased on the other islands (including specifically on São Miguel, where the Gonçalvez da Câmara family supported the Spanish pretender). [13]

The Azores were the last part of the Portuguese Empire to resist Philip's reign over Portugal ( Macau resisted any official recognition) and were returned to Portuguese control with the end of the Iberian Union in 1640, not by the professional military, who were used in the Restoration War in the mainland, but by local people attacking a fortified Castilian garrison.

Liberal Wars

The Portuguese Civil War (1828–1834) had strong repercussions in the Azores. In 1829, in Praia da Vitória, the Liberals won over the absolutists, making Terceira Island the main headquarters of the new Portuguese regime and also where the Council of Regency (Conselho de Regência) of Maria II of Portugal was established.

Beginning in 1868, Portugal issued its stamps overprinted with "AÇORES" for use in the islands. Between 1892 and 1906, it also issued separate stamps for the three administrative districts of the time.

From 1836 to 1976, the archipelago was divided into three districts, equivalent (except in area) to those in the Portuguese mainland. The division was arbitrary, and did not follow the natural island groups, rather reflecting the location of each district capital on the three main cities (none of which were on the western group).

  • Angra do Heroísmo consisted of Terceira, São Jorge, and Graciosa, with the capital at Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira.
  • Horta consisted of Pico, Faial, Flores, and Corvo, with the capital at Horta on Faial.
  • Ponta Delgada consisted of São Miguel and Santa Maria, with the capital at Ponta Delgada on São Miguel.

20th century

In 1931 the Azores (together with Madeira and Portuguese Guinea) revolted against the Ditadura Nacional and were held briefly by military rebels. [14]

In 1943, during World War II, the Portuguese ruler António de Oliveira Salazar leased air and naval bases in the Azores to the British Empire. [15] The occupation of these facilities in October 1943 was codenamed Operation Alacrity by the British. [16]

This was a key turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic, enabling the Royal Air Force, the U.S. Army Air Forces, and the U.S. Navy to provide aerial coverage in the Mid-Atlantic gap. This helped them to protect convoys and to hunt hostile Kriegsmarine U-boats.

In 1944, the American armed forces constructed a small and short-lived air base on the island of Santa Maria. In 1945, a new base was constructed on the island of Terceira, and it is named Lajes Field. This air base is in an area called Lajes, a broad, flat sea terrace that had been a large farm. Lajes Field is a plateau rising out of the sea on the northeast corner of the island. This air base is a joint American and Portuguese venture. Lajes Field continues to support the American and Portuguese Armed Forces. During the Cold War, U.S. Navy P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare squadrons patrolled the North Atlantic Ocean for Soviet Navy submarines and surface warships. Since its opening, Lajes Field has been used for refuelling American cargo planes bound for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The U.S. Navy keeps a small squadron of its ships at the harbor of Praia da Vitória, three kilometres (1.9 miles) southeast of Lajes Field.

The airfield also has a small commercial terminal handling scheduled and chartered passenger flights from the other islands in the Azores, Europe, Africa, and North America.

In 1976, the Azores became the Autonomous Region of the Azores (Região Autónoma dos Açores), one of the autonomous regions of Portugal, and the subdistricts of the Azores were eliminated.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Asore
Alemannisch: Azoren
العربية: الأزور
aragonés: Azores
asturianu: Azores
azərbaycanca: Azor adaları
беларуская: Азорскія астравы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Азорскія астравы
български: Азорски острови
brezhoneg: Azorez
català: Açores
čeština: Azory
corsu: Azore
Cymraeg: Azores
dansk: Azorerne
Deutsch: Azoren
eesti: Assoorid
Ελληνικά: Αζόρες
español: Azores
Esperanto: Acoroj
estremeñu: Açoris
euskara: Azoreak
فارسی: آزور
français: Açores
Frysk: Azoaren
Gaeilge: Na hAsóir
Gagauz: Azorlar
galego: Azores
hrvatski: Azori
Ido: Acori
Bahasa Indonesia: Azores
íslenska: Asóreyjar
italiano: Azzorre
Basa Jawa: Azores
kernowek: Ynysek Açores
Kiswahili: Azori
Кыргызча: Азор аралдары
Latina: Azores
latviešu: Azoru salas
lietuvių: Azorai
Ligure: Isoe Azore
Limburgs: Azore
македонски: Азорски Острови
Malagasy: Asaoro
मराठी: असोरेस
მარგალური: აზორიშ კოკეფი
Bahasa Melayu: Azores
Mirandés: Açores
Nederlands: Azoren
Nedersaksies: Azoren
Nordfriisk: Azoren
norsk: Azorene
norsk nynorsk: Asorane
occitan: Açòres
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Azor orollari
پنجابی: ازور
polski: Azory
português: Açores
română: Azore
русский: Асориш
sardu: Azorras
Scots: Azores
Seeltersk: Azoren
Simple English: Azores
slovenčina: Azory
slovenščina: Azori
српски / srpski: Азорска острва
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Azori
Basa Sunda: Asores
suomi: Azorit
svenska: Azorerna
Tagalog: Azores
татарча/tatarça: Азор утраулары
Türkçe: Azorlar
українська: Азорські острови
اردو: آزورس
Tiếng Việt: Açores
West-Vlams: Azôorn
Winaray: Azores
ייִדיש: אזארן
Yorùbá: Àwọn Azore
粵語: 亞速爾
Zeêuws: Azoôr'n