Madeira is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the Portuguese Age of Discovery.
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies in the north Atlantic Ocean and is the outermost region of the European Union. The archipelago is at the top of a massive shield volcano that rises about 6 km from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The first settlers began colonizing the islands around 1420. In the 16th century the Portuguese started building levadas or aqueducts to carry water from the wet north to the dry, agricultural regions in the south.
The name given to the island: Ilha da Madeira (English: Madeira Island, or literally island of wood) corresponded to the large dense forests of native laurisilva trees that populated the island during the settlement. To date only the valleys in the north contain laurisilva forests and are designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.