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) , motto =
( en, "Rather die free than subjected in peace") , anthem=
( en, "Anthem of the Azores") , image_map=Locator_map_of_Azores_in_EU.svg , map_alt=Location of the Azores within the European Union , map_caption=Location of the Azores within the European Union , coordinates = , subdivision_type=
Sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimate authority over territory. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defin ...
, subdivision_name=
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
, established_title=Settlement , established_date=1432 , established_title3=Autonomous status , established_date3=30 April 1976 , official_languages= Portuguese , demonym= ( en, Azorean) , capital_type=
Capitals Capital may refer to: Common uses * Capital city A capital city or capital is the municipality holding primary status in a country, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, or other subnational entity, usually as its s ...
, capital =
Ponta Delgada Ponta Delgada (; ) is the largest municipality (''concelho'') and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,28 ...
(executive)
Angra do Heroísmo Angra do Heroísmo (), or simply Angra, is a city and municipality on Terceira Island Terceira () is a volcanic island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, ...
(judicial)
Horta (legislative) , largest_city =
Ponta Delgada Ponta Delgada (; ) is the largest municipality (''concelho'') and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,28 ...
, government_type=
Autonomous Region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administrative division or territory, internal territory of a sovereign state that has a degree of a ...
, leader_title1=Representative of the Republic , leader_name1=Pedro Manuel dos Reis Alves Catarino , leader_title2= President of the Legislative Assembly , leader_name2= Luís Garcia , leader_title3= President of the Regional Government , leader_name3= José Manuel Bolieiro , leader_title4=Vice-President of the Regional Government , leader_name4= Artur Lima , legislature= Legislative Assembly , national_representation = National and European representation , national_representation_type1 = Assembly of the Republic , national_representation1 = 5 MPs (of 230) , national_representation_type2 =
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
, national_representation2 = 1 MEP ( of 21 Portuguese seats) , area_km2=2,351 , elevation_max_m=2,351 , elevation_max_point=
Mount Pico Mount Pico ( pt, Montanha do Pico) is a currently quiescent stratovolcano located on Pico Island, in the mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. It is the highest mountain in Portugal, at above sea level, and is one of the highest Atlantic mount ...
, elevation_min_m=0 , elevation_min_point=
Atlantic Ocean The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's five oceans, with an area of about . It covers approximately 20% of Earth's surface and about 29% of its water surface area. It is known to separate the " Old World" of Africa ...
, population_census=236,440 , population_density_km2=110 , GDP_PPP= €4.128 billion , GDP_PPP_year=2017 , GDP_PPP_per_capita= €16,900 , GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank= , currency=
Euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 out of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU). This group of states is known as the eurozone o ...
(€) , currency_code=EUR , utc_offset=−01:00 , utc_offset_DST=±00:00 , date_format=dd/mm/yyyy ( CE) , drives_on=right , calling_code= +351 (292) , postal_code_type =
Postal code A postal code (also known locally in various English-speaking countries throughout the world as a postcode, post code, PIN or ZIP Code) is a series of letters or numerical digit, digits or both, sometimes including spaces or punctuation, includ ...
, postal_code = 95nn-99nn , iso_code = PT-20 , website = , blank7_name_sec1=Usual abbreviation , blank7_info_sec1=RAA , cctld = .pt The Azores ( , ; pt, Açores ), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (), is one of the two
autonomous regions of Portugal The two Autonomous Regions of Portugal from 1999 ( pt, Regiões Autónomas de Portugal) are the Azores (''Região Autónoma dos Açores'') and Madeira (''Região Autónoma da Madeira''). Together with Continental Portugal (''Portugal Continenta ...
(along with
Madeira ) , anthem = ( en, "Anthem of the Autonomous Region of Madeira") , song_type = Regional anthem , image_map=EU-Portugal_with_Madeira_circled.svg , map_alt=Location of Madeira , map_caption=Location of Madeira , subdivision_type=Sovereign st ...
). It is an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islands. Examples of archipelagos include: the List of islands ...
composed of nine
volcanic island Geologically, a high island or volcanic island is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features ...
s in the
Macaronesia Macaronesia (Portuguese: ''Macaronésia,'' Spanish: ''Macaronesia'') is a collection of four volcanic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collection of islands, or ...
region of the North Atlantic Ocean, about west of
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
, about northwest of
Morocco Morocco (),, ) officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is the westernmost country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and has land borders with Algeria to A ...
, and about southeast of
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (; french: Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador; frequently abbreviated as NL) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. The province comprises t ...
,
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
. Its main industries are
agriculture Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating Plant, plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of Sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of Domestication, domesticated species created food ...
,
dairy farming Dairy farming is a class of agriculture for long-term production of milk, which is food processing, processed (either on the farm or at a dairy plant, either of which may be called a dairy) for eventual sale of a dairy product. Dairy farming ha ...
,
livestock Livestock are the domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to provide labor and produce diversified products for consumption such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool Wool is the textile fibre obtained from sheep an ...
,
fishing Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish. Fish are often caught as wildlife from the natural environment, but may also be caught from fish stocking, stocked bodies of water such as fish pond, ponds, canals, park wetlands and reservoirs. ...
, and
tourism Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tour (disambiguation), tours. Th ...
, which has become a major service activity in the region. The government of the Azores employs a large percentage of the population directly or indirectly in the service and tertiary sectors. The largest city of the Azores is
Ponta Delgada Ponta Delgada (; ) is the largest municipality (''concelho'') and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,28 ...
. The culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions of the Azorean islands vary considerably, because these remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries. There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are
Flores Flores is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, a group of islands in the eastern half of Indonesia. Including the Komodo Islands off its west coast (but excluding the Solor Archipelago to the east of Flores), the land area is 15,530.58 km2, and the ...
and Corvo, to the west;
Graciosa Graciosa Island () (literally "graceful" or "enchanting" in Portuguese) is referred to as the ''White Island'', the northernmost of the Central Group of islands in the Azores. The ovular Portuguese island has an area of , a length of and a width ...
,
Terceira Terceira () is a volcanic island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, with a population of 53,311 inhabitants in an area of approximately . It is the location ...
, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas islet to the east. They extend for more than and lie in a northwest–southeast direction. All of the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity in the time since the islands were settled several centuries ago.
Mount Pico Mount Pico ( pt, Montanha do Pico) is a currently quiescent stratovolcano located on Pico Island, in the mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. It is the highest mountain in Portugal, at above sea level, and is one of the highest Atlantic mount ...
, on the island of Pico, is the highest point in Portugal, at . 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 among 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 The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension the North Atlantic Current, North Atlantic Drift, is a warm and swift Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and flows through the Straits of Florida a ...
. Because of the marine influence, temperatures remain mild year-round. Daytime temperatures normally fluctuate between depending on season. Temperatures above or below are unknown in the major population centres. It is also generally wet and cloudy.


History

A small number of alleged
hypogea A hypogeum or hypogaeum (plural hypogea or hypogaea, pronounced ; literally meaning "underground", from Greek language, Greek ''hypo'' (under) and ''ghê'' (earth)) is an underground temple or tomb. Hypogea will often contain niche (archite ...
(underground structures carved into rocks) have been identified on the islands of Corvo, Santa Maria, and Terceira by Portuguese archaeologist Nuno Ribeiro, who speculated that they might date back 2,000 years, implying a human presence on the island before the Portuguese. These structures have been used by settlers in the Azores to store grain and the suggestion by Ribeiro that they might be burial sites is unconfirmed. Detailed examination and dating to authenticate the validity of these speculations is lacking; thus it is unclear whether these structures are natural or human-made and whether they predate the 15th century Portuguese colonization of the Azores. According to a 2015 paper published in ''
Journal of Evolutionary Biology The ''Journal of Evolutionary Biology'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (:wiktionary:peer#Etymology 2, peers). It functions as a form of s ...
'', research based on mouse
mitochondrial DNA Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA or mDNA) is the DNA located in mitochondria, cellular organelles within eukaryotic cells that convert chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Mitochondrial DN ...
points to a Scandinavian rather than Portuguese origin of the local mouse population. Some years later, a paper published in ''
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ''Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America'' (often abbreviated ''PNAS'' or ''PNAS USA'') is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journal. It is the official journal of the National Academy of Scien ...
'' in 2021, using data from lake sediment core sampling suggests brush-clearing was undertaken and animal husbandry introduced between 700 and 850 C.E. Together, these findings may be explained by a brief period of Norse settlement and the 2021 paper further cites climate simulations carried out that suggest the dominant winds in the North Atlantic Ocean in that period blew from the northeast, which would have taken Viking ships heading southwest from Scandinavia more or less directly to the Azores.Price, Michael
"Vikings in paradise: Were the Norse the first to settle the Azores?" October 2021.
''
Science Science is a systematic endeavor that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science may be as old as the human species, and some of the earli ...
''. Retrieved 26 March 2022.


Discovery

The islands were known to Europeans in the 14th century; parts of them appear in the
Catalan Atlas The Catalan Atlas ( ca, Atles català, ) is a medieval world map, or mappamundi, created in 1375 that has been described as the most important map of the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted ...
, created in 1375. In 1427, a captain sailing for
Prince Henry the Navigator Dom (title), ''Dom'' Henrique of Portugal, Duke of Viseu (4 March 1394 – 13 November 1460), better known as Prince Henry the Navigator ( pt, Infante Dom Henrique, o Navegador), was a central figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire an ...
, possibly Gonçalo Velho, may have rediscovered the Azores but this is not certain. In
Thomas Ashe Thomas may refer to: People * List of people with given name Thomas * Thomas (name) * Thomas (surname) * Saint Thomas (disambiguation) * Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, and Doctor of the Church * Thomas the Ap ...
's 1813 work, ''A History of the Azores'', the author identified a Fleming, Joshua Vander Berg of
Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ) is the capital and largest city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Scienc ...
, who made landfall in the archipelago during a storm on his way to Lisbon. Ashe stated that the Portuguese explored the area and claimed it for Portugal. Other writers note the discovery of the first islands (São Miguel, Santa Maria and Terceira) 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 (Portuguese for
goshawk Goshawk may refer to several species of birds of prey, mainly in the genus '' Accipiter'': * Northern goshawk, ''Accipiter gentilis'', often referred to simply as the goshawk, since it is the only goshawk found in much of its range (in Europe and ...
, a common bird at the time of discovery) it is unlikely that the bird ever nested or hunted on the islands. There were no large animals on Santa Maria; after its discovery and before settlement began, sheep were let loose on the island to supply future settlers with food.


Early settlement

The archipelago was largely settled from mainland Portugal but settlement did not take place right away. Gonçalo Velho Cabral 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 built houses, established villages and cleared bush and rocks to plant crops, grain, grapevines,
sugar cane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, Perennial plant, perennial grass (in the genus ''Saccharum'', tribe Andropogoneae) that is used for sugar Sugar industry, production. The plants are 2–6 m (6–20 ft) tall with ...
and other plants suitable for local use and for export. They brought domesticated animals, such as chickens, rabbits, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. The settlement of the unoccupied islands started in 1439 with people mainly from the continental provinces of Algarve and
Alentejo Alentejo ( , ) is a geographical, historical, and cultural region of south–central and southern Portugal. In Portuguese, its name means "beyond () the Tagus river" (''Tejo''). Alentejo includes the regions of Alto Alentejo Province, Alto Al ...
, in mainland Portugal. São Miguel was first settled in 1449, the settlers – mainly from the Estremadura, Alto Alentejo and
Algarve The Algarve (, , ; from ) is the southernmost NUTS statistical regions of Portugal, NUTS II region of continental Portugal. It has an area of with 467,495 permanent inhabitants and incorporates 16 municipalities (concelho, ''concelhos'' or ''mun ...
areas of mainland Portugal – under the command of Gonçalo Velho Cabral, who landed at the site of modern-day Povoação.


Flemish settlers

The first reference to the island of São Jorge was made in 1439 but the date of discovery is unknown. In 1443, the island was already inhabited but settlement only began after the arrival of the noble Flemish native Willem van der Haegen. Arriving at
Topo Topo or TOPO may refer to: * Topo (Calheta), a civil parish in the municipality of Calheta, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores * Topo (climbing), in climbing, a guide for a crag or climbing area * Topo (robot), a robot aimed at the consu ...
, São Jorge, 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
Philip the Good Philip III (french: Philippe le Bon; nl, Filips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a House of Valois-Burgundy, cadet line of the House of Valois, Valois dynasty, to which ...
Duke 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 means of transport and goods.


The 1522 earthquake and recovery

In 1522, Vila Franca do Campo, then the capital of São Miguel, was devastated by an earthquake and landslide that killed about 5,000 people, and the capital was moved to
Ponta Delgada Ponta Delgada (; ) is the largest municipality (''concelho'') and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,28 ...
. 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.


Effects of the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580

Portugal fell into a dynastic crisis following the death of Cardinal-King Henry of Portugal in 1580. Of the various claimants to the crown, the most powerful was king Phillip II of Spain, who justified his rights to the Portuguese throne by the fact that his mother was a Portuguese royal princess, his maternal grandfather having been King Manuel I of Portugal.Melo Bento (2008) p 34 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 by the Spaniards following the Battle of Alcântara. 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 Sebastian ( pt, Sebastião I ; 20 January 1554 – 4 August 1578) was King of Portugal from 11 June 1557 to 4 August 1578 and the penultimate Portuguese monarch of the House of Aviz. He was the son of João Manuel, Prince of Portugal, and hi ...
), the Azoreans resisted Spanish attempts to conquer the islands (including specifically at the Battle of Salga).Melo Bento (2008) p 36 In 1583,
Philip II of Spain Philip II) in Spain, while in Kingdom of Portugal, Portugal and his Italian kingdoms he ruled as Philip I ( pt, Filipe I). (21 May 152713 September 1598), also known as Philip the Prudent ( es, Felipe el Prudente), was King of Spain from 1556, K ...
, as
King of Portugal This is a list of Portuguese monarchs who ruled from the establishment of the Kingdom of Portugal, in 1139, to the deposition of the Portuguese monarchy and creation of the Portugal, Portuguese Republic with the 5 October 1910 revolution. Throu ...
, 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 A pretender is someone who claims to be the rightful ruler of a country although not recognized as such by the current government. The term is often used to suggest that a claim is not legitimate.Curley Jr., Walter J. P. ''Monarchs-in-Waiting'' ...
to the Portuguese throne. Following the success of his fleet at the Battle of Ponta Delgada captured enemies were hanged from yardarms, as they were considered
pirate Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable goods. Those who conduct acts of piracy are called pirates, v ...
s by Philip II. Opponents receiving the news variously portrayed Philip II as a despot or " Black Legend"; the sort of insult widely made against contemporary monarchs engaged in aggressive empire building and the
European wars of religion The European wars of religion were a series of wars waged in Europe during the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries. Fought after the Protestant Reformation began in 1517, the wars disrupted the religious and political order in the Catholic Chu ...
. Figueiredo and Violante do Canto 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 claimant).


English raids of 1589 and 1598

An English raid of the Azores in 1589 successfully plundered some islands and harbouring ships; eight years later, a second raid failed – the
Islands Voyage The Islands Voyage, also known as the Essex-Raleigh Expedition, was an ambitious, but unsuccessful naval campaign sent by Queen Elizabeth I of England Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was List of English monarchs, Queen of ...
.


Iberian Union

Spain held the Azores under the
Iberian Union pt, União Ibérica , conventional_long_name =Iberian Union , common_name = , year_start = 1580 , date_start = 25 August , life_span = 1580–1640 , event_start = War of the Portuguese Succession , event_end = Portuguese Restoration War ...
from 1580–1642 (called the "Babylonian captivity" in the Azores). The Azores were the last part of the
Portuguese Empire The Portuguese Empire ( pt, Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (''Ultramar Português'') or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (''Império Colonial Português''), was composed of the overseas Colonialism, colonies, Factory ...
to resist Philip's reign over Portugal (
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), is a city and special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China in the western Pearl River D ...
resisted any official recognition), until the defeat of forces loyal to the Prior of Crato with the Conquest of the Azores in 1583. Portuguese control resumed with the end of the
Iberian Union pt, União Ibérica , conventional_long_name =Iberian Union , common_name = , year_start = 1580 , date_start = 25 August , life_span = 1580–1640 , event_start = War of the Portuguese Succession , event_end = Portuguese Restoration War ...
in 1640, and the beginning of the
Portuguese Restoration War The Portuguese Restoration War ( pt, Guerra da Restauração) was the war between History of Portugal (1640–1777), Portugal and Habsburg Spain, Spain that began with the Portuguese revolution of 1640 and ended with the Treaty of Lisbon (1668), ...
, not by the professional military, who were occupied with warfare on the Portuguese mainland, but by local people attacking a fortified Castilian garrison.


Overpopulation and emigration

In the late 16th century, the Azores and Madeira began to face problems of overpopulation. Responding to the consequent economic problems, some people of the Azores began to emigrate to Brazil.


Liberal Wars of 1828–1834

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 () of
Maria II of Portugal Don (honorific), Dona Maria II (4 April 1819 – 15 November 1853) "the Educator" ( pt, "a Educadora") or "the Good Mother" ( pt, "a Boa Mãe"), reigned as Queen of Portugal from 1826 to 1828, and again from 1834 to 1853. Born in Rio de Janeir ...
was established. Beginning in 1868, Portugal issued its stamps overprinted with "" for use in the islands. Between 1892 and 1906, it also issued separate stamps for the three administrative districts of the time.


Arbitrary district divisions 1836–1976

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 Angra do Heroísmo (), or simply Angra, is a city and municipality on Terceira Island Terceira () is a volcanic island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, ...
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 Ponta Delgada (; ) is the largest municipality (''concelho'') and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,28 ...
on São Miguel.


Modern period

In 1931, the Azores (together with Madeira and
Portuguese Guinea Portuguese Guinea ( pt, Guiné), called the Overseas Province of Guinea from 1951 until 1972 and then State of Guinea from 1972 until 1974, was a West African colony of Portugal from 1588 until 10 September 1974, when it gained independence as Gu ...
) revolted against the
Ditadura Nacional The ''Ditadura Nacional'' (, National Dictatorship) was the name given to the regime that governed Portugal from 1926, after the re-election of General Óscar Carmona to the post of President, until 1933. The preceding period of military dicta ...
and were held briefly by rebel military. In 1943, during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, the Portuguese ruler
António de Oliveira Salazar António de Oliveira Salazar (, , ; 28 April 1889 – 27 July 1970) was a Portuguese people, Portuguese dictator who served as President of the Council of Ministers from 1932 to 1968. Having come to power under the ("National Dictatorship"), ...
leased air and naval bases in the Azores to Great Britain. The occupation of these facilities in October 1943 was codenamed '' Operation Alacrity'' by the British. This was a key turning point in the
Battle of the Atlantic The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, ran from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, covering a major part of the naval history of World War II. At its core was the Allied naval block ...
, enabling the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's Air force, air and space force. It was formed towards the end of the World War I, First World War on 1 April 1918, becoming the first independent air force in the world, by regrouping the Royal ...
, 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
convoy A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support and can help maintain cohesion within a unit. It may also be used ...
s and to hunt hostile German
U-boat U-boats were Submarine#Military, naval submarines operated by Germany, particularly in the World War I, First and Second World War, Second World Wars. Although at times they were efficient fleet weapons against enemy naval warships, they were ...
s. In 1944, the U.S. 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, named
Lajes Field Lajes Field or Lajes Air Base (; pt, Base Aérea das Lajes), officially designated Air Base No. 4 (''Base Aérea Nº 4'', BA4) , is a multi-use airfield near Lajes and northeast of Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira Island Terceira () is a ...
. 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 The Portuguese Armed Forces ( pt, Forças Armadas) are the military of Portugal. They include the Armed Forces General Staff (Portugal), General Staff of the Armed Forces, the other unified bodies and the three service branches: Portuguese Navy ...
. During the
Cold War The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of Geopolitics, geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term ''Cold war (term), co ...
, U.S. Navy
P-3 Orion The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engined, turboprop Anti-submarine warfare, anti-submarine and maritime patrol aircraft, maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s. Lockheed Corporation, Lockh ...
anti-submarine warfare Anti-submarine warfare (ASW, or in older form A/S) is a branch of underwater warfare that uses surface warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to th ...
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 A cargo aircraft (also known as freight aircraft, freighter, airlifter or cargo jet) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is designed or converted for the carriage of air cargo, cargo rather than passenger aircraft, passengers. Such aircraft usually ...
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, 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. Following the
Carnation Revolution The Carnation Revolution ( pt, Revolução dos Cravos), also known as the 25 April ( pt, 25 de Abril, links=no), was a military coup by left-leaning military officers that overthrew the authoritarian Estado Novo (Portugal), Estado Novo regime on ...
of 1974, which deposed the Estado Novo dictatorship in Lisbon, Portugal and its territories across the world entered into a period of great political uncertainty. The Azorean Liberation Front attempted to take advantage of this instability immediately after the revolution, hoping to establish an independent Azores, until operations ceased in 1975. In 1976, the Azores became the Autonomous Region of the Azores (), one of the
autonomous regions of Portugal The two Autonomous Regions of Portugal from 1999 ( pt, Regiões Autónomas de Portugal) are the Azores (''Região Autónoma dos Açores'') and Madeira (''Região Autónoma da Madeira''). Together with Continental Portugal (''Portugal Continenta ...
, and the subdistricts of the Azores were eliminated. In 2003, the Azores saw international attention when United States President
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, Bush family, and son of the 41st ...
, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
, Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, and Portuguese Prime Minister José Manuel Durão Barroso held a summit there days before the commencement of the
Iraq War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Iraq War , partof = the Iraq conflict (2003–present), Iraq conflict and the War on terror , image = Iraq War montage.png , image_size = 300px , caption ...
.


Geography

The archipelago of the Azores is located in the middle of the northern hemisphere of the Atlantic Ocean and extends along a west-northwest to east-southeast orientation (between 36.5°–40° North latitudes and 24.5°–31.5° West
longitudes Longitude (, ) is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east East or Orient is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the four main compass directions: north, east, south, and w ...
) in an area approximately wide. The islands of the Azores emerged from what is called the
Azores Plateau The Azores Plateau or Azores Platform is an oceanic plateau An oceanic or submarine plateau is a large, relatively flat elevation that is higher than the surrounding relief with one or more relatively steep sides. There are 184 oceanic plat ...
, a 5.8 million km2 region that is morphologically accented by a depth of .Machado, ''et al''. (2008) p 14. The nine islands that compose the archipelago occupy a surface area of , that includes both the main islands and many islets located in their vicinities. They range in surface area from the largest, São Miguel, at to the smallest, Corvo, at approximately . Each of the islands has its own distinct geomorphological characteristics that make them unique: *Corvo (the smallest island) is a crater of a major Plinian eruption *Flores (its neighbor on the North American Plate) is a rugged island carved by many valleys and escarpments *Faial is characterized for its
shield volcano A shield volcano is a type of volcano named for its low profile, resembling a warrior's shield lying on the ground. It is formed by the eruption of highly fluid (low viscosity) lava, which travels farther and forms thinner flows than the more vi ...
and caldera ( Caldeira Volcano) * Pico, is the highest point, at , in the Azores and continental Portugal *Graciosa is known for its active Furnas do Enxofre and mixture of volcanic cones and plains *São Jorge is a long slender island, formed from fissural eruptions over thousands of years *Terceira, almost circular, is the location of one of the largest craters in the region *São Miguel is the largest island and is pitted with many large craters and fields of spatter cones *Santa Maria – the oldest island – is heavily eroded, being one of the few places to encounter brown sandy beaches in the archipelago. These islands can be divided into three recognizable groups located on the Azores Plateau: *The Eastern Group () of São Miguel, Santa Maria and Formigas Islets *The Central Group () of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial *The Western Group () of Flores and Corvo. São Jorge, Pico and Faial are also collectively called (‘Islands of the Triangle’). Several sub-surface reefs (particularly the Dollabarat on the fringe of the Formigas), banks (specifically the Princess Alice Bank and D. João de Castro Bank), as well as many hydrothermal vents and sea-mounts are monitored by the regional authorities, owing to the complex geotectonic and socioeconomic significance within the economic exclusion zone of the archipelago.


Geology

From a geostructural perspective, the Azores are located above an active
triple junction A triple junction is the point where the boundaries of three tectonic plates Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin, tectonicus, from the grc, τεκτονικός, lit=pertaining to building) is the generally accepted scient ...
between three of the world's major tectonic plates (the
North American Plate The North American Plate is a Plate tectonics, tectonic plate covering most of North America, Cuba, the Bahamas, extreme northeastern Asia, and parts of Iceland and Azores, the Azores. With an area of , it is the Earth's second largest tectonic p ...
, the
Eurasian Plate The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate that includes most of the continent of Eurasia (a landmass consisting of the traditional continents of Europe and Asia), with the notable exceptions of the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian Plate, Arabian sub ...
and the
African Plate The African Plate is a List of tectonic plates#Major plates, major tectonic plate that includes much of the continent of Africa (except for its east Africa, easternmost part) and the adjacent oceanic crust to the west and south. It is bounded by ...
), a condition that has translated into the existence of many faults and fractures in this region of the Atlantic. The westernmost islands of the archipelago (Corvo and Flores) are located on the North American Plate, while the remaining islands are located within the boundary that divides the Eurasian and African plates. The principal tectonic structures that exist in the region of the Azores are the
Mid-Atlantic Ridge The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a mid-ocean ridge (a divergent or constructive plate boundary) located along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's five oceans, with an area of about . It covers ...
, the Terceira Rift, the Azores Fracture Zone and the Glória Fault. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is the main frontier between the North American Plate and the African-Eurasian Plates that crosses the Azores Plateau between the islands of Flores and Faial from north to south then to the southwest; it is an extensive form crossed by many transform faults running perpendicular to its north–south orientation, that is seismically active and susceptible to volcanism.


Rift and fault geology

The Terceira Rift is a system of fractures that extends from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to the Glória Fault that represents the main frontier between the Eurasian and African Plates. It is defined by a line of submarine volcanoes and island mounts that extend northwest to southeast for about , from the area west of Graciosa until the islets of the Formigas, that includes the islands of Graciosa, Terceira and São Miguel. Its northwest limit connects to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, while the southeast section intersects the Gloria Fault southeast of the island of Santa Maria. The Azores Fracture Zone extends from the Glória Fault and encompasses a relatively inactive area to the south of the islands of the Central and Eastern groups north to the Terceira Rift, along a 45° angle. The Glória Fault, for its part, extends along a linear line from the Azores to the Azores–Gibraltar Transform Fault.


Volcanoes

The island's volcanism is associated with the
rift In geology, a rift is a linear zone where the lithosphere is being pulled apart and is an example of extensional tectonics. Typical rift features are a central linear downfaulted depression, called a graben, or more commonly a half-grab ...
ing along the
Azores Triple Junction The Azores Triple Junction (ATJ) is a geologic triple junction A triple junction is the point where the boundaries of three tectonic plates Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin, tectonicus, from the grc, τεκτονι ...
; the spread of the crust along the existing faults and fractures has produced many of the active volcanic and seismic events,Ferreira (2005) p 4 while supported by buoyant upwelling in the deeper mantle, some associate with an
Azores hotspot The Azores hotspot is a volcano, volcanic hotspot (geology), hotspot in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. The Azores is relatively young and is associated with a bathymetric swell, a gravity anomaly and ocean island basalt geochemistry. The Azores ho ...
. Most of the volcanic activity has centered, primarily, along the Terceira Rift. From the beginning of the island's settlement, around the 15th century, there have been 28 registered volcanic eruptions (15 terrestrial and 13 submarine). The last significant volcanic eruption, the Capelinhos volcano (), occurred off the coast of the island of Faial in 1957; the most recent volcanic activity occurred in the seamounts and submarine volcanoes off the coast of Serreta and in the Pico-São Jorge Channel. The islands have many examples of volcano-built geomorphology including caves and
lava tube A lava tube, or pyroduct, is a natural conduit formed by flowing lava from a volcano, volcanic vent that moves beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow. If lava in the tube empties, it will leave a cave. Formation A lava tube is a type o ...
s (such as the
Gruta das Torres Gruta das Torres ( pt, Grotto of Towers), is a lava cave, a geological formation of volcanic origin formed from the flow and cooling of subterranean magma rivers. This formation is located outside the parish of Criação Velha, in the municipalit ...
, Algar do Carvão, Gruta do Natal, Gruta das Cinco Ribeiras), the coastal lava fields (like the coast of Feteiras, Faial, the Mistério of Prainha or São João on Pico Island) in addition to the inactive cones in central São Miguel Island, the aforementioned Capelinhos on Faial, the volcanic complexes of Terceira or Plinian caldeira of Corvo Island. The islands of the archipelago were formed through volcanic and seismic activity during the
Neogene The Neogene ( ), informally Upper Tertiary or Late Tertiary, is a Geologic time scale#Terminology, geologic period and system that spans 20.45 million years from the end of the Paleogene Period million years ago (Year#Abbreviations yr and ya, ...
Period; the first embryonic surfaces started to appear in the waters of Santa Maria during the
Miocene epoch The Miocene ( ) is the first geological epoch The geologic time scale, or geological time scale, (GTS) is a representation of time based on the Geologic record, rock record of Earth. It is a system of chronological dating that uses chronost ...
(from circa 8 million years ago). The sequence of the island formation has been generally characterized as: Santa Maria (8.12 Ma), São Miguel (4.1 Ma), Terceira (3.52 Ma), Graciosa (2.5 Ma), Flores (2.16 Ma), Faial (0.7 Ma), São Jorge (0.55 Ma), Corvo (0.7 Ma) and the youngest, Pico (0.27 Ma).Carine, 2010, p. 78 Although all islands have experienced volcanism during their geological history, within recorded "human settlement" history the islands of Santa Maria, Graciosa, Flores, and Corvo have not experienced any volcanic eruptions; in addition to active fumaroles and hot-springs, the remaining islands have had sporadic eruptions since the 14th century. Apart from the Capelinhos volcano in 1957–1958, the last recorded instance of "island formation" occurred off the coast of São Miguel, when the island of Sabrina was briefly formed.


Earthquakes

Owing to its geodynamic environment, the region has been a center of intense seismic activity, particularly along its tectonic boundaries on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and Terceira Rift. Seismic events although frequent, are usually tectonic or vulco-tectonic in nature, but in general are of low to medium intensities, occasionally punctuated by events of level 5 or greater on the
Richter magnitude scale The Richter scale —also called the Richter magnitude scale, Richter's magnitude scale, and the Gutenberg–Richter scale—is a measure of the strength of earthquakes, developed by Charles Francis Richter and presented in his landmark 1935 p ...
. The most severe earthquake was registered in 1757, near Calheta on the island of São Jorge, which exceeded 7 on the Richter magnitude scale. In comparison, the 1522 earthquake that was mentioned by historian
Gaspar Frutuoso Gaspar Frutuoso (c.1522 in Ponta Delgada – 1591 in Ribeira Grande, São Miguel, Ribeira Grande) was a Portuguese priest, historian and Humanism, humanist from the island of São Miguel Island, São Miguel, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Az ...
measured 6.8, but its effects were judged to be X (''Extreme'') on the
Mercalli intensity scale The Modified Mercalli intensity scale (MM, MMI, or MCS), developed from Giuseppe Mercalli's Mercalli intensity scale of 1902, is a seismic intensity scales, seismic intensity scale used for measuring the intensity of shaking produced by an earthq ...
, and was responsible for the destruction of Vila Franca do Campo and landslides that may have killed more than 5,000 of the inhabitants.


Biome

The archipelago lies in the
Palearctic realm The Palearctic or Palaearctic is the largest of the eight biogeographic realms of the Earth. It stretches across all of Eurasia north of the foothills of the Himalayas, and North Africa. The realm consists of several bioregions: the Euro-Siber ...
and has a unique biotic community that includes the
Macaronesia Macaronesia (Portuguese: ''Macaronésia,'' Spanish: ''Macaronesia'') is a collection of four volcanic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collection of islands, or ...
n
subtropical The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographical zone, geographical and Köppen climate classification, climate zones to the Northern Hemisphere, north and Southern Hemisphere, south of the tropics. Geographically part of the Geographical z ...
laurissilva, with many
endemic species Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of or ...
of plants and animals. There are at least 6,112 terrestrial species, of which about 411 are
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of or ...
. The majority (75%) of these endemics are animals, mostly
arthropod Arthropods (, (gen. ποδός)) are invertebrate animals with an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods form the phylum Arthropoda. They are distinguished by their jointed limbs and Arth ...
s and
mollusks Mollusca is the second-largest phylum of invertebrate animals after the Arthropoda, the members of which are known as molluscs or mollusks (). Around 85,000 extant taxon, extant species of molluscs are recognized. The number of fossil sp ...
. New species are found regularly in the Azores (e.g., 30 different new species of land snails were discovered circa 2013). Even though the Azores look very green and sometimes wild, the vegetation has been extremely altered. A great part of it has been wiped out in the past 600 years for its valuable wood (for tools, buildings, boats, fire wood, and so on) and to clear land for agriculture. As a result, it is estimated that more than half of insects on the Graciosa island have disappeared or will become extinct. Many cultivated places (which are traditionally dedicated to pasture or to growing
taro Taro () (''Colocasia esculenta)'' is a root vegetable. It is the most widely cultivated species of several plants in the family Araceae that are used as vegetables for their corms, leaves, and Petiole (botany), petioles. Taro corms are a food ...
, potatoes, maize and other crops) have now been abandoned, especially as a result of emigration. Consequently, some invasive plants have filled these deserted and disturbed lands.
Hydrangea ''Hydrangea'', () commonly named the hortensia, is a genus of over 75 species of flowering plants native plant, native to Asia and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Korea, and Japan. Most are ...
s are another potential pest, but their threat is less serious. Notwithstanding the fact that hydrangeas were introduced from America or Asia, some locals consider them a symbol of the archipelago and propagate them along roadsides. ''
Cryptomeria ''Cryptomeria'' (literally "hidden parts") is a Monotypic taxon, monotypic genus of Pinophyta, conifer in the cypress family (biology), family Cupressaceae, formerly belonging to the family Taxodiaceae. It includes only one species, ''Cryptomeri ...
'', the Japanese cedar, is a
conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The division contains a single ...
extensively grown for its timber. The two most common of these alien species are '' Pittosporum undulatum'' and '' Hedychium gardnerianum''. Reforestation efforts with native laurissilva vegetation have been accomplished successfully in many parts of the Azores. The Azores has at least two endemic living bird species. The Azores bullfinch, or ''Priolo'', is restricted to remnant laurisilva forest in the mountains at the eastern end of São Miguel and is classified by BirdLife International as
endangered An endangered species is a species that is very likely to become extinct in the near future, either worldwide or in a particular political jurisdiction. Endangered species may be at risk due to factors such as habitat loss, poaching and invas ...
.
Monteiro's storm petrel Monteiro's storm petrel (''Hydrobates monteiroi'') is a seabird species from the storm petrel family (biology), family, Hydrobatidae. The cryptic species was once considered to be conspecific with the band-rumped storm petrel.M. Bolton, A.L. Smit ...
, described to science as recently as 2008, is known to breed in just two locations in the islands but may occur more widely. An extinct species of owl, the São Miguel scops owl, has recently been described, which probably became extinct after human settlement because of habitat destruction and the introduction of alien species. Five species of flightless
rail Rail or rails may refer to: Rail transport *Rail transport and related matters *Rail (rail transport) or railway lines, the running surface of a railway Arts and media Film *Rails (film), ''Rails'' (film), a 1929 Italian film by Mario Camerini ...
(''
Rallus ''Rallus'' is a genus of wetland birds of the Rallidae, rail family. Sometimes, the genera ''Lewinia'' and ''Gallirallus'' are included in it. Six of the species are found in the Americas, and the three species found in Eurasia, Africa and Mada ...
'' spp.) once existed on the islands, as did a flightless quail (''
Coturnix ''Coturnix'' is a genus of five extant species and five to eight known extinct species of Old World quail. These species are distributed throughout Africa, Eurasia, Australia, and formerly New Zealand. An extinct Adaptive radiation, radiation o ...
'' sp.) and another species of bullfinch, the greater Azores bullfinch, but these also went extinct after human colonization. Eleven subspecies of bird are endemic to the islands. The Azores has an endemic bat, the
Azores noctule The Azores noctule (''Nyctalus azoreum'') is a species of bat found in the dry forests of the Azores. It is the only species of mammal endemism, endemic to the Azores. It has been recorded on most of the islands of the Azores, and remains common ...
, which has an unusually high frequency of diurnal flight. The islets of the Formigas (the Portuguese word for "ants"), including the area known as the Dollabarat Reef, have a rich environment of maritime species, such as
black coral Antipatharians, also known as black corals or thorn corals, are an Order (biology), order of soft deep-water corals. These corals can be recognized by their jet-black or dark brown chitin skeletons, surrounded by the Polyp (zoology), polyps (par ...
and
manta ray Manta rays are large Batoidea, rays belonging to the genus ''Mobula'' (formerly its own genus ''Manta''). The larger species, ''Giant oceanic manta ray, M. birostris'', reaches in width, while the smaller, ''Reef manta ray, M. alfredi'', reac ...
s, different species of sharks, whales, and sea turtles. Seventeen new marine reserves (with special conservation status) were added to the Azorean Marine Park (which covers around ). On São Miguel there are notable micro-habitats formed by hot springs that host
extremophile An extremophile (from Latin ' meaning "extreme" and Greek ' () meaning "love") is an organism that is able to live (or in some cases Thriving, thrive) in extreme environments, i.e. environments that make survival challenging such as due to extre ...
microorganisms.


Climate

The archipelago is spread out at roughly the same latitude as the southern half of mainland Portugal, but its location in the mid-Atlantic Ocean gives it a generally tepid, oceanic, mild to warm subtropical climate, with mild annual oscillations.


‘Azores High’ anticyclone

The Azores archipelago is located in a transition and confrontation zone between air masses of tropical origin and masses of cooler air of polar origin. The climate of the archipelago is largely determined by variations in the atmospheric pressure field over the North Atlantic. These variations conditioned by the mass of the American Continent and the Atlantic water mass are overlapped by a semi-permanent subtropical Atlantic
anticyclone An anticyclone is a weather meteorological phenomenon, phenomenon defined as a large-scale circulation of winds around a central high-pressure system, region of high atmospheric pressure, clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise ...
, commonly known as the
Azores High The Azores High also known as North Atlantic (Subtropical) High/Anticyclone or the Bermuda-Azores High, is a large subtropics, subtropical semi-permanent centre of high-pressure area, high atmospheric pressure typically found south of the Azores in ...
. This anticyclone experiences seasonal variations which can affect the archipelago in many ways. In winter, the Azores
anticyclone An anticyclone is a weather meteorological phenomenon, phenomenon defined as a large-scale circulation of winds around a central high-pressure system, region of high atmospheric pressure, clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise ...
is positioned further south, and allows for a descent of the
Polar front In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences (which include atmospheric chemistry and physics) with a major focus on weather forecasting. The study of meteorology dates back millennia, though significant progress in met ...
, approaching it to the archipelago. In summer, on the other hand, the anticyclone's movement further north, leads to the departure of the polar front and its associated disturbances towards higher latitudes. Far enough away from the mainland coasts, the continental air masses that reach the archipelago are weakened by the maritime influence. The same can not be said for the higher altitudes (e.g.
Mount Pico Mount Pico ( pt, Montanha do Pico) is a currently quiescent stratovolcano located on Pico Island, in the mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. It is the highest mountain in Portugal, at above sea level, and is one of the highest Atlantic mount ...
), where upper air masses of a continental origin and with a more direct pathway can reach the surface and present those areas with drier air and more extreme temperatures. At the same time, this free atmosphere circulating air transports
aerosol An aerosol is a suspension (chemistry), suspension of fine solid particles or liquid Drop (liquid), droplets in air or another gas. Aerosols can be natural or Human impact on the environment, anthropogenic. Examples of natural aerosols are fog o ...
s to the archipelago, namely volcanic ash or fine sands from the
Sahara , photo = Sahara real color.jpg , photo_caption = The Sahara taken by Apollo 17 astronauts, 1972 , map = , map_image = , location = , country = , country1 = , ...
desert, which sporadically affect the radiation and air quality. Daily maximum temperatures at low altitudes usually range between . The average annual rainfall generally increases from east to west, ranging from in Santa Maria to in Flores and reaching values above on the highlands of Pico.


Köppen classification

Under the Köppen climate classification, the eastern group ( São Miguel and Santa Maria) is usually classified as
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
while the central and western group (especially
Flores Flores is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, a group of islands in the eastern half of Indonesia. Including the Komodo Islands off its west coast (but excluding the Solor Archipelago to the east of Flores), the land area is 15,530.58 km2, and the ...
and Corvo) is increasingly more
humid subtropical A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents (except Antarctica), generally between latitudes 25° and 40° ...
and overall rainier because of the effects of the
Gulf Stream The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension the North Atlantic Current, North Atlantic Drift, is a warm and swift Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and flows through the Straits of Florida a ...
. This stream has a large effect over the sea temperature which varies between in February and March, and in August and September, and increases earlier in the western group. Salvador Rivas-Martínez data presents several different bioclimatic zones for the Azores.
Seasonal lag Seasonal lag is the phenomenon whereby the date of maximum average air temperature at a geographical location on a planet is delayed until some time after the date of maximum insolation (i.e. the summer solstice). This also applies to the minimum ...
is extreme in the low-sun half of the year, with December being milder than April in terms of mean temperatures. During summer the lag is somewhat lower, with August being the warmest month, though September is usually as warm or warmer than July.


Temperatures, humidity, and sunshine

Although temperatures as warm as have been recorded on Pico, neither Ponta Delgada nor Angra do Heroísmo, the two largest cities, have ever gone above . There has never been a frost, snowfall, freeze or even temperatures below recorded at sea level on any of the islands. The coldest weather in winter usually comes from northwesterly
air mass In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences (which include atmospheric chemistry and physics) with a major focus on weather forecasting. The study of meteorology dates back millennia, though significant progress in ...
es originating from
Labrador , nickname = "The Big Land" , etymology = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Canada , subdivision_type1 = Provinces and territories of C ...
in Canada. However, since those air masses are warmed up as they pass across the warmer Atlantic Ocean, temperatures by day even then exceed . The average
relative humidity Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Humidity indicates the likelihood for precipitation (meteorology), precipitation, dew, or fog t ...
can range from 80% at the coast to over 90% above . However, higher elevations above the
planetary boundary layer In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences (which include atmospheric chemistry and physics) with a major focus on weather forecasting. The study of meteorology dates back millennia, though significant progress in ...
can experience extremely low values close to 10%. Summers are especially humid in August and may increase the perceived temperature by a few degrees. Winters are not only very mild but also very humid and contribute substantially to the annual precipitation.
Insolation Solar irradiance is the power (physics), power per unit area (surface power density) received from the Sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of the measuring instrument. Solar irradiance is measured in watts per ...
is relatively low, with 35-40% of the total possible value for sunshine, and higher in topographically lower islands such as
Graciosa Graciosa Island () (literally "graceful" or "enchanting" in Portuguese) is referred to as the ''White Island'', the northernmost of the Central Group of islands in the Azores. The ovular Portuguese island has an area of , a length of and a width ...
or Santa Maria, inversely proportional to precipitation. This is directly caused by the
orographic lift Orographic lift occurs when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain. As the air mass gains altitude it quickly cools down Adiabatic cooling, adiabatically, which can raise the relative humid ...
of humid air masses and is especially pronounced in islands marked by high
orography Orography is the study of the topographic relief of mountains, and can more broadly include hills, and any part of a region's elevated terrain. Orography (also known as ''oreography'', ''orology'' or ''oreology'') falls within the broader discipl ...
.


Hurricanes

With a greater rarity, especially in late summer and autumn, despite the northern position that the archipelago occupies, the Azores can be affected by the passage of
tropical cyclones A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms tha ...
, or tropical storms derived from them, some can result from anomalies of low latitude systems while others result from the return, back to the Atlantic, after a route close to or even over the American continent. Though often small and in the process of dissipation, these cyclones result in many of the worst storms the archipelago is subject to. A total of 14
tropical The tropics are the regions of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are defined in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S. The tropics are also referred to ...
or
subtropical cyclone A subtropical cyclone is a weather system that has some characteristics of both tropical cyclone, tropical and an extratropical cyclone. As early as the 1950s, meteorologists were uncertain whether they should be characterized as Tropical cyclo ...
s have affected the region in history. Most of them were either
extratropical Extratropical cyclones, sometimes called mid-latitude cyclones or wave cyclones, are low-pressure area In meteorology, a low-pressure area, low area or low is a region where the atmospheric pressure is lower than that of surrounding locati ...
or
tropical storms A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms tha ...
when they affected the region, although several Category 1 hurricanes have reached the Azores. The following storms have impacted the region while at Category 1 strength: * Hurricane Fran in 1973 * Hurricane Emmy in 1976 * Hurricane Gordon in 2006 * Hurricane Gordon in 2012 * Hurricane Alex in 2016 Several tropical storms have hit the region, including * Tropical Storm Irma in 1978 * Hurricane Bonnie in 1992 *
Hurricane Charley Hurricane Charley was the first of four separate hurricanes to impact or strike Florida during 2004, along with Hurricane Frances, Frances, Hurricane Ivan, Ivan and Hurricane Jeanne, Jeanne, as well as one of the strongest hurricanes ever to ...
in 1992 * Hurricane Erika in 1997 * Hurricane Gaston in 2016 Storms that were extratropical when they impacted the region include *
Hurricane Tanya Hurricane Tanya was the first named storm to start with a "T" in the Atlantic since naming began in 1950, and the final storm of the very active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. The twenty-first tropical cyclone, nineteenth named storm, and elevent ...
in 1995 * Tropical Storm Ana in 2003 * Tropical Storm Grace in 2009 In addition, the 2005 Azores subtropical storm affected the region in October 2005.


Economy

In order of importance, the main sectors of employment of the Azores are services, agriculture, fishery, industry and tourism. Agricultural products include São Jorge cheese.


Demographics

The Azores are divided into 19 municipalities (); each municipality is further divided into ''
freguesia ''Freguesia'' (), usually translated as " parish" or "civil parish", is the third-level administrative subdivision of Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, c ...
s'' (civil administrative parishes), of which there is a total of 156 in all of the Azores. There are six cities () in the Azores:
Ponta Delgada Ponta Delgada (; ) is the largest municipality (''concelho'') and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,28 ...
, Lagoa and Ribeira Grande on the island of São Miguel;
Angra do Heroísmo Angra do Heroísmo (), or simply Angra, is a city and municipality on Terceira Island Terceira () is a volcanic island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, ...
and Praia da Vitória on the island of Terceira, and Horta on Faial. Three of these,
Ponta Delgada Ponta Delgada (; ) is the largest municipality (''concelho'') and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,28 ...
, Angra and Horta are considered capital/administrative cities to the regional government: homes to the President (Ponta Delgada), the Judiciary (Angra) and the Regional Assembly (Horta). Angra also serves as the ecclesiastical centre of the
Roman Catholic Diocese of Angra The Roman Catholic diocese of Angra ( pt, Diocese de Angra, la, Dioecesis Angrensis) is a Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
, the episcopal see of the Azores.


Population

According to the 2019 Census, population in the Azores was 242,796."População residente".
Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
The Azores were uninhabited when Portuguese navigators arrived in the early 15th century; settlement began in 1439 with migrants from several regions of mainland Portugal and from
Madeira ) , anthem = ( en, "Anthem of the Autonomous Region of Madeira") , song_type = Regional anthem , image_map=EU-Portugal_with_Madeira_circled.svg , map_alt=Location of Madeira , map_caption=Location of Madeira , subdivision_type=Sovereign st ...
. North African and Sephardic Jews settled on the islands in large numbers.
Moorish The term Moor, derived from the ancient Mauri, is an exonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, ''native'' name for a geographical place, group of people, individual person, language or ...
(Muslim) prisoners and African slaves from Guinea
Cape Verde , national_anthem = () , official_languages = Portuguese , national_languages = Cape Verdean Creole , capital = Praia , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , demonym ...
, and São Tomé contributed to the population as well. Thus the Azorean population received a significant contribution from people with geographic backgrounds other than Portuguese. The islands sometimes served as a waypoint for ships carrying
African slaves Slavery has historically been widespread in Africa. Systems of servitude and slavery were common in parts of Africa in ancient times, as they were in much of the rest of the Ancient history, ancient world. When the trans-Saharan slave trade ...
. Moorish and African genetic heritage, likely facilitated by the African slavery, and supported by historical reports, is supported by mtDNA genetic data. Contributions from Sephardic Jews and Northern Europe also are supported by the analysis of genetic data. In addition to Portuguese and Africans,
Moors The term Moor, derived from the ancient Mauri, is an Endonym and exonym, exonym first used by Christianity in Europe, Christian Europeans to designate the Muslims, Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Malta duri ...
, Sephardic Jews, Madeirans, as well as Flemish, French, and Spanish settlers migrated to the Azores. Genetic analysis suggests that the archipelago was populated mainly from Portugal; however, contributions from other lineages are significant.


Emigration

Since the 17th century, many Azoreans have emigrated, mainly to Brazil, Uruguay, the United States and Canada.
Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road'') is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the Northeastern United States. It is the List of U.S. states by area, smallest U.S. state by area and the List of states and territories of the United States ...
and southeastern
Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing systems, məhswatʃəwiːsət'' English: , ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous U.S. state, state in the New England ...
are the primary destination for Azorean emigrants. From 1921 to 1977, about 250,000 Azoreans immigrated to Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Northern
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located along the West Coast of the United States, Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territori ...
was the final destination for many of the Massachusetts immigrants who then moved on to the
San Joaquin Valley The San Joaquin Valley ( ; es, Valle de San Joaquín) is the area of the Central Valley (California), Central Valley of the U.S. state of California that lies south of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and is drained by the San Joaquin ...
, especially the city of Turlock. In the late 19th century many Azoreans immigrated to the Hawaiian islands. The
tuna A tuna is a saltwater fish that belongs to the Tribe (biology), tribe Thunnini, a subgrouping of the Scombridae (mackerel) family. The Thunnini comprise 15 species across five genera, the sizes of which vary greatly, ranging from the bullet ...
fishing industry drew a significant number of Azoreans to the
Point Loma Point Loma (Spanish language, Spanish: ''Punta de la Loma'', meaning "Hill Point"; Kumeyaay language, Kumeyaay: ''Amat Kunyily'', meaning "Black Earth") is a seaside community within the city of San Diego, California. Geographically it is a hill ...
neighborhood of
San Diego San Diego ( , ; ) is a city on the Pacific Ocean coast of Southern California located immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border. With a 2020 population of 1,386,932, it is the List of United States cities by population, eigh ...
. During the
Great Recession The Great Recession was a period of marked general decline, i.e. a recession, observed in national economies globally that occurred from late 2007 into 2009. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country (see map). At t ...
of the early 21st century, Portugal was in a recession from 2011 until 2013, which resulted in high levels of unemployment across the mainland as well as the Azores. The Great Recession led to an increase of emigration from the Azores.
Florianópolis Florianópolis () is the capital and second largest city of the state of Santa Catarina (state), Santa Catarina, in the South Region, Brazil, South region of Brazil. The city encompasses Santa Catarina Island and surrounding small islands, as we ...
and
Porto Alegre Porto Alegre (, , Brazilian ; ) is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Its population of 1,488,252 inhabitants (2020) makes it the List of largest cities in Brazil, twelfth most populous city in the country ...
in the Southern Region of Brazil were founded by Azoreans, who accounted for over half of
Rio Grande do Sul Rio Grande do Sul (, , ; "Great River of the South") is a Federative units of Brazil, state in the South Region, Brazil, southern region of Brazil. It is the Federative_units_of_Brazil#List, fifth-most-populous state and the List of Brazilian st ...
and Santa Catarina's populations in the late 18th century. As late as 1960, mass immigration currents were registered to Brazil, and many were from the Azores.Russell King, John Connell (1999).
Small worlds, global lives: islands and migration
''. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 61–65.


Politics

Since 1976, the Azores has been an autonomous region integrated within the framework of the Portuguese Republic. It has its own government and autonomous legislature within its own political-administrative statute and organic law. Its governmental organs include: the legislative assembly, a
unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''camera'' "chamber") is a type of legislature, which consists of one house or assembly, that legislates and votes as one. Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multic ...
parliament composed of 52 elected deputies, elected by universal
suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in representative democracy, public, political elections and referendums (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally i ...
for a four-year term; the regional government and presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a president, a vice-president and seven regional secretaries responsible for day-to-day operations. It is represented in the Council of Ministers by a representative appointed by the president of the Republic, which was created during the revision of the constitution of 2004 (which, among other things, removed the older Portuguese representative that was appointed by the president of the Republic, beholden to the Council of State and coincident with the president). Since becoming a Portuguese autonomous region, the executive branch of the regional authority has been located in
Ponta Delgada Ponta Delgada (; ) is the largest municipality (''concelho'') and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,28 ...
, the legislative branch in Horta, and the judicial branch in
Angra do Heroísmo Angra do Heroísmo (), or simply Angra, is a city and municipality on Terceira Island Terceira () is a volcanic island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, ...
. The islands of the archipelago do not have independent status in law, except in electoral law and are governed by 19 municipalities that subdivide the islands. In addition, until the administrative reform of the 19th century, the following civil parishes had municipal standing: Topo (today integrated into the municipality of Calheta, São Jorge);
Praia Praia (, Portuguese for "beach") is the capital and largest city of Cape Verde , national_anthem = () , official_languages = Portuguese , national_languages = Cape Verdean Creole , capital = Praia , ...
(today integrated into municipality of
Santa Cruz da Graciosa Santa Cruz da Graciosa () is a Portugal, Portuguese Municipalities of Portugal, municipality on the island of Graciosa, in the archipelago of the Azores. The population in 2011 was 4,391, in an area of 60.66 km². It includes four local paris ...
); São Sebastião (today an integral part of the municipality of Angra do Heroísmo); Capelas (now part of the municipality of Ponta Delgada); and Água de Pau (now a civil parish in the municipality of Lagoa). These civil parishes still retain their titles of "vila" in name only; the populations of Capelas and neighbouring parish still protest the change and promote the restoration of their status. The municipalities are further subdivided into several civil parishes, with the exception of Corvo (the only municipality by law without a civil parish, owing to its size). Azorean politics is dominated by the two largest Portuguese political parties, the
Socialist Party Socialist Party is the name of many different political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas a ...
and Social Democratic Party, the former holding a majority in the Legislative Assembly. The Democratic and Social Center / People's Party, the Left Bloc, the Unitary Democratic Coalition and the People's Monarchist Party are also represented. , the President of the Azores is Social Democratic Party leader José Manuel Bolieiro. Although the Socialist Party dominates the regional politics, the Social Democratic Party is traditionally popular in city and
town council A town council, city council or municipal council is a form of local government for small municipalities. Usage of the term varies under different jurisdictions. Republic of Ireland Town Councils in the Republic of Ireland were the second t ...
elections. As part of Portugal, the Azores are in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
and
Schengen Area The Schengen Area ( , ) is an area comprising 27 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. Being an element within the wider area of freedom, security and j ...
. They are also in the
European Union Customs Union The European Union Customs Union (EUCU), formally known as the Community Customs Union, is a customs union which consists of all the member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU), Monaco, and the British Overse ...
and
VAT A value-added tax (VAT), known in some countries as a goods and services tax (GST), is a type of tax that is assessed incrementally. It is levied on the price of a product or service at each stage of production, distribution, or sale to the end ...
area but levy a lower rate of VAT than applies on the mainland. The Azores, like Madeira and the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Canarias, ), also known informally as the Canaries, are a Spanish autonomous community and archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collecti ...
, are among member state territories with special status, as one of the designated "Outermost Regions".


Transport


Aviation

Each of the nine islands has an airport, although the majority are airfields rather than airports. The primary (and busiest) airport of the island group is João Paulo II Airport. The commercial terminals in Ponta Delgada, Horta, Vila do Porto and Santa Cruz das Flores are operated by ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, a public entity that oversees the operations of airports across Portugal. The remaining, except for
Lajes Field Lajes Field or Lajes Air Base (; pt, Base Aérea das Lajes), officially designated Air Base No. 4 (''Base Aérea Nº 4'', BA4) , is a multi-use airfield near Lajes and northeast of Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira Island Terceira () is a ...
, are operated by the Regional Government. Lajes is a military airbase, as well as a commercial airport, and is operated by the Portuguese Armed Forces in conjunction with the United States. The airports are: *Santa Maria: Santa Maria Airport (LPAZ) *São Miguel: João Paulo II Airport (LPPD) *Terceira: Lajes Airport (LPLA) *São Jorge: São Jorge Airport (LPSJ) *Pico: Pico Airport (LPPI) *Faial: Horta Airport (LPHR) *Graciosa: Graciosa Airport (LPGR) *Flores: Flores Airport (LPFL) *Corvo: Corvo Airport (LPCR)


Marine transportation

The Azores has had a long history of marine transport to overcome distances and establish inter-community contacts and trade. Consequently, the shipbuilding industry developed in many islands, from small fishing boats to whaling sloops and larger passenger services. Passenger traffic to the main islands (São Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira and Faial) began in the 17th century, and between the 18th–19th century, the ''Pico Yacht'' controlled the lucrative summer traffic season. After 1871, the Insulana Shipping Company was the only entity responsible for regular traffic between the islands (except Corvo), Madeira and the United States. Finally, cargo and passenger transportation ceased in the 1970s, and the ships were sold or converted into tuna fishing boats. For the next 20 years, commercial maritime service between the islands ceased (except between Faial-Pico and Lajes das Flores-Vila do Corvo). Transmaçor (Transportes Marítimos Açorianos, Lda.) was founded in 1987. The shipping company operates four to six daily connections between Horta and Madalena throughout the year, using its small fleet of ships, in addition to inter-island connections between Faial, Pico, São Jorge and Terceira during the summer months. New initiatives began in the late 1990s: the catamaran ''Iapetos'' began services, followed by ''Lady of Mann'' and ''Golfinho Azul'' (chartered by Açorline). In 2005, Atlânticoline was established, providing transport services. In 2009, Atlanticoline was involved in a controversial rejection of a 750-passenger, 150-vehicle ship ordered from the Estaleiros de Viana do Castelo (ENVC). The ''Atlantida'', a 50 million Euro cruiser (as part of a two-ship deal with the other named ''Anticiclone'') was rejected in 2009 by Atlanticoline for the under-performance of the power-plant. Although it would only result in a five-minute delay between islands, the public company rejected the ship, and the contract was broken over the builder's inability to deliver the required ship on time. While the ship was being shopped to other interested parties ( Hugo Chávez once considered purchasing the ferryboat in 2010), no interested buyers appeared, and ENVC decided to cede the ''Atlantida'' to Atlânticoline as part of the latter's open international competition to charter two ships in 2012. In June 2011, the Regional Government announced that it would purchase 60% of Transmaçor, equivalent to 500,000 Euro of the company's capital. With this transaction the autonomous government of the Azores ceded control, of which it once had 88% of the capital. The signed memorandum of understanding concluded negotiations between the various parties involved, under which the liability of Transmaçor (worth a total of 8 million Euro) was divided equally between the government and businessman José E. Almeida, who is now the holder of a majority stake in the company. Similarly, the Regional Government approved the consolidation of the three individual port authorities (Administração dos Portos do Triângulo e Grupo Ocidental, Administração dos Portos da Terceira e Graciosa and the Administração dos Portos das Ilhas de São Miguel e Santa Maria) and regional Portos dos Açores into one entity that resulted in a 2.2 million Euro cost savings, in addition to a reduction from 11 to three administrators.


Culture


Religious societies and festivals

Religious festivals, patron saints, and traditional holidays mark the Azorean calendar. The most important religious events are tied with the festivals associated with the cult of the Holy Spirit, commonly referred to as the festivals of the Holy Spirit (or ), rooted in millenarian dogma and held on all islands from May to September. These festivals are very important to the Azorean people, who are primarily Roman Catholic, and combine religious rituals with processions celebrating the benevolence and egalitarianism of neighbours. These events are centred around or , small buildings that host the meals, adoration and charity of the participants, and used to store the artefacts associated with the events. On Terceira, for example, these impérios have grown into ornate buildings painted and cared for by the local brotherhoods in their respective parishes. The events focus on the members of local parishes, not tourists, but all are welcome, as sharing is one of the main principles of the festivals. Some limited events focus on tourists, including a public event that the city government of Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel holds, which attracts visitors and locals. The Festival of the Lord Holy Christ of the Miracles () in Ponta Delgada is the largest individual religious event in the Azores and takes place on Rogation Sunday. Pilgrims from within the Portuguese diaspora normally travel to Ponta Delgada to participate in an afternoon procession behind the image of Christ along the flower-decorated streets of the city. Although the solemn procession is only held on one day, the events of the Festival of Senhor Santo Cristo occur over a period of a week and involve a ritual of moving the image between the main church and convent nightly, ultimately culminating in the procession, which is televised within the Azores and to the Portuguese diaspora. The Sanjoaninas Festivities in
Angra do Heroísmo Angra do Heroísmo (), or simply Angra, is a city and municipality on Terceira Island Terceira () is a volcanic island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, ...
on Terceira are held in June honoring Saint Anthony,
Saint Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρος, Petros; cop, Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, Petros; lat, Petrus; ar, شمعون الصفـا, Sham'un ...
and
Saint John the Baptist John the Baptist or , , or , ;Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history''. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1994. syc, ܝܘܿܚܲܢܵܢ ܡܲܥܡܕ݂ܵܢܵܐ, Yoḥanān Maʿmḏānā; he, יוחנן המטביל, Yohanān HaMatbil; la, Ioannes Bapti ...
, in a large religious celebration. The festival of
Our Lady of Lourdes Our Lady of Lourdes (french: Notre-Dame de Lourdes) is a title of the Virgin Mary Mary; arc, ܡܪܝܡ, translit=Mariam; ar, مريم, translit=Maryam; grc, Μαρία, translit=María; la, Maria; cop, Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ, translit=Mari ...
(),
patron saint A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Catholic Church, Catholicism, Anglicanism, or Eastern Orthodoxy is regarded as the heavenly advocacy, advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, ...
of whalers, begins in Lajes on Pico Island on the last Sunday of August and runs through the week—Whalers Week. It is marked by social and cultural events connected to the tradition of whale hunting. The Wine
Harvest Festival A harvest festival is an annual celebration that occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Given the differences in climate and crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times at different places. ...
(), takes place during the first week of September and is a century-old custom of the people of Pico. On Corvo, the people celebrate their patron saint (Our Lady of Miracles) on 15 August every year in addition to the festivals of the Divine Holy Spirit. The (August Sea Festival), takes place every year beginning on 15 August in Praia Formosa on Santa Maria. Also, the (Sea Week), dedicated almost exclusively to
water sports Water (chemical formula ) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living ...
, takes place in August in the city of Horta, on Faial. is celebrated in the Azores. Parades and pageants are the heart of the Carnaval festivities. There is lively music, colorful costumes, hand-made masks, and floats. The traditional bullfights in the bullring are ongoing as is the running of bulls in the streets.


International visitors

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Graciosa was host to many prominent figures, including * Chateaubriand, the French writer who passed through upon his escape to America during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, ...
*
Almeida Garrett João Baptista da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett, 1st Viscount of Almeida Garrett (; 4 February 1799 – 9 December 1854) was a Portuguese people, Portuguese poet, orator, playwright, novelist, journalist, politician, and a peer of the realm. A ...
, the Portuguese poet who visited an uncle and wrote some poetry while there * 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. *author
Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was praised as the "greatest humorist the United States has pr ...
published ''
The Innocents Abroad ''The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims' Progress'' is a travel literature , travel book by American author Mark Twain. Published in 1869, it humorously chronicles what Twain called his "Great Pleasure Excursion" on board the chartered vess ...
'' in 1869 – a travel book, where he described his time in the Azores.


Sports

Notable sports teams in the Azores include Santa Clara (
Primeira Liga The Primeira Liga (; English: Premier League, also written as Liga Portugal 1), also known as Liga Portugal Bwin for sponsorship reasons, is the top level of the Portuguese football league system. Organised and supervised by the Liga Portuguesa ...
), Lusitânia ( Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol), Fonte do Bastardo ( Portuguese Volleyball First Division) and Sporting Clube da Horta ( Portuguese Handball Second Division). The Rallye Açores is an international rally race held annually since 1965, which was part of the
European Rally Championship The European Rally Championship (officially FIA European Rally Championship) is an rallying, automobile rally competition held annually on the European continent and organized by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The champions ...
and the
Intercontinental Rally Challenge The Intercontinental Rally Challenge was an Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, FIA-sanctioned rallying series organised by SRW Events and Eurosport, Eurosport Events, and aimed to "give new opportunities to young or amateur rally drivers ...
. The Azores Senior Open was a golf tournament held in 2008 as part of the European Seniors Tour.


See also

*
Macaronesia Macaronesia (Portuguese: ''Macaronésia,'' Spanish: ''Macaronesia'') is a collection of four volcanic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collection of islands, or ...
* Postage stamps and postal history of the Azores *
List of islands of Portugal This is a list of Island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerri ...


Citations


General and cited sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Azores Regional Government
* {{Authority control Autonomous Regions of Portugal Geography of Southwestern Europe Islands of Macaronesia Mid-Atlantic Ridge Outermost regions of the European Union Provinces of Portugal (1936–1976)