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Plutarch (Sertorius, 75 AD) referring to the military commander Quintus Sertorius (d.
The effect on Portugal in World War I was first felt in Madeira on 31 December 1916 when the German U-boat, SM U-38, captained by Max Valentiner went into Funchal harbour on Madeira and torpedoed and sank 8 ships, CS Dacia (1,856 tons), had previously undertaken war work off the coast of Casablanca and Dakar, was in the process of diverting the German South American cable into Brest, France.During this period, fish constituted about half of the settlers' diet, together with vegetables and fruits cultivated from small cleared parcels of land.Initially, these colonists produced wheat for their own subsistence, but later the quantity cultivated was sufficient to begin exporting wheat to continental Portugal.The accessibility of Madeira attracted Genoese and Flemish traders who were keen to bypass Venetian monopolies."By 1480 Antwerp had some seventy ships engaged in the Madeira sugar trade, with the refining and distribution concentrated in Antwerp.Subsequently, the new settlers observed "a heavy black cloud suspended to the southwest", The first settlers began colonizing the islands around 1420 or 1425; the three Captains-major had led the first settlement, along with their respective families, a small group of minor nobility, people of modest conditions and some prisoners, who could be trusted to work the lands.
To gain the minimum conditions for the development of agriculture, they had to rough-hew a part of the dense forest of laurisilva and to construct a large number of canals (levadas), since in some parts of the island there was excess water, while in others water was scarce.
These specialised plants, and their associated industrial technology, created one of the major revolutions on the islands and fuelled Portuguese industry.
The expansion of sugar plantations in Madeira began in 1455, using advisers from Sicily and financed by Genoese capital (it would become an integral part of the island economy until the 17th century).
Officially, in 1418, two captains under service to Prince Henry the Navigator, João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, were driven off-course by a storm to an island which they named Porto Santo (English: holy harbour); the name was bestowed for their gratitude and divine deliverance from a possible shipwreck by the protected anchorage.
The following year, an organised expedition, under the captaincy of Zarco and Vaz Teixeira, was sent to this new land, and along with captain Bartolomeu Perestrello, to take possession of the island on behalf of the Portuguese crown.
On the 23 September of 1433, the name Ilha da Madeira (English: Madeira Island, or literally island of wood) began to appear in the first documents and maps.