Madeira is the main island of the Portuguese archipelago that bears the same name and is situated in the Atlantic Ocean 520 kilometres west of the African coast. Madeira itself covers an area of 740.7 square kilometres, is of volcanic origin and has a mountain ridge running along its centre. ‘Madeira’ is the Portuguese word for ‘wood’ and the island is named after the laurisilva (meaning ‘laurel’) forests that existed at the time of settlement, which was about 1420.

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