Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, west and slightly south of Portugal. Its total population was estimated in 2011 at 267,785. The capital of Madeira is Funchal on the main island's south coast.
It is just under 400 kilometres (250 mi) north of Tenerife, Canary Islands. Since 1976, the archipelago has been one of the two Autonomous regions of Portugal (the other being the Azores, located to the northwest). It includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas, administered together with the separate archipelago of the Savage Islands. It is an outermost region of the European Union.
Madeira was claimed by Portuguese sailors in the service of Prince Henry the Navigator in 1419 and settled after 1420. The archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, which extended from 1415 to 1542.
Its southerly marine position renders the warmest year-round subtropical climate in Portugal, with winters being extremely mild and summers long but with relatively modest heat.
Today, it is a popular year-round resort, being visited every year by about one million tourists. The region is noted for its Madeira wine, gastronomy, historical and cultural value, its flora and fauna, landscapes (Laurel forest) which are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and embroidery artisans. Its annual New Year celebrations feature one of the largest fireworks show in the world.