Madeira is situated in the North Atlantic (32° 38' N, 16° 54' W) and has an area of 736 square kilometres.

The maximum length is 58 km, from Ponta do Pargo to S. Lourenço and width 23 km, from Ponta de S. Jorge to Ponta da Cruz.

When we were school kids, the Portuguese history told us that Madeira was discovered by João Gonçaves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira in 1420 but today, new records came to life and attribute the first visit to the island to Manuel Pessanha, a Genovese admiral employed by the then king D. Dinis of Portugal in 1317.

Regardless who came first, Madeira was the first settlement outside of Portugal and the beginning of the golden era of the Discoveries.