The Azores (Portuguese: Açores) is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean; they are about 1,500 km (930 mi) west of Lisbon and about 1,900 km (1,200 mi) southeast of Newfoundland. The islands, and their Exclusive Economic Zone, form the Autonomous Region of the Azores, one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal.
|Portuguese: Os Açores|
|Autonomous Region (Região Autónoma)|
|Official name: Região Autónoma dos Açores|
|Motto: Antes morrer livres que em paz sujeitos|
(English:Rather die as free men than be enslaved in peace)
|Capitals||Ponta Delgada[a], Horta[b], Angra do Heroísmo[c]|
|Largest city||Ponta Delgada|
|- center||São José|
|- elevation||22 m (72 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Pico|
|- elevation||2,351 m (7,713 ft)|
|Lowest point||Sea level|
|- location||Atlantic Ocean|
|- elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Area||2,333 km² (901 sq mi)|
|Population||246,746 (2011) Census|
|Density||106 /km² (275 /sq mi)|
|Settlement||August 15, 1432|
|- Administrative autonomy||c. 1895|
|- Political autonomy||September 4, 1976|
|- Santa Maria||c. 1427|
|- São Miguel||c. 1428|
|President||Vasco Cordeiro (PS)|
|- President (Assembleia)||Ana Luís (PS)|
|- summer (DST)||UTC 0|
|ISO 3166-2 code||PT-20|
|Area code||(+351) 292 XX XX XX|
|Anthem||A Portuguesa (national)|
Hino dos Açores (regional)
Location of the Azores relative to Portugal (green) and the rest of the European Union (dark blue)
|Wikimedia Commons: Azores|
|Statistics: Instituto Nacional de Estatística|
There are nine major Azores islands and several very small islands (islets), in three main groups. They extend for more than 600 km (370 mi) and lie in a northwest-southeast direction.
The archipelago is part of the Macaronesia islands.
Officially, the islands were discovered in the 15th century (in 1431) by Gonçalo Velho Cabral a Captain in the service of Infante Dom Henrique, although credit is also given to the explorer Diogo de Silves (in 1427).
The nine islands are in three natural geographic groups, each group separated by more than 160 km (99 mi) of water. These groups are:
- The eastern group, with the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria;
- The central group, with the islands of Faial, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, and Pico;
- The western group, with the islands of Flores and Corvo.
The eastern group also has, to the northeast of Santa Maria, a group of very small islands (islets) and reefs that are named Ilhéus das Formigas (Islets of the Ants), or just Formigas ("Ants"); these smalls islands, together with the Dollabarat reef, form the Reserva Natural do Ilhéu das Formigas.
The nine islands have a total area of 2,333 km2 (901 sq mi). Their individual areas vary between 759 km2 (293 sq mi) of the largest island (São Miguel) to 17 km2 (6.6 sq mi) of the smallest (Corvo).
|São Miguel||759||1,103||Pico da Vara|
|Terceira||403||1,021||Serra de Santa Barbara|
|São Jorge||246||1,053||Pico da Esperânça|
|Santa Maria||97||587||Pico Alto|
|Corvo||17||718||Morro dos Hormens|
All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. The last volcano to erupt in the archipelago was the Capelinhos Volcano (Portuguese: Vulcão dos Capelinhos) in 1957, in the western part of the island of Faial. Earthquakes are common on most of the islands.
The Azores are on place where three of the world's large tectonic plates (the North American Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate) meet. The westernmost islands of the archipelago, (Corvo and Flores), are in the North American Plate, while the remaining islands are located within the region where the Eurasian plate is separated from the African Plates.
The volcano Mount Pico, on the Pico island, is the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351 m (7,713 ft).
Daily maximum temperatures usually range between 15 °C (59 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F). The average annual rainfall increases from east to west, and it ranges from 700 to 1600 annual millimetres (27.6–63 in) on average, reaching 6,300 millimetres (250 in) on Mount Pico.
|Climate data for The Azores : Ponta Delgada|
|Average high °C (°F)||16.5
|Average low °C (°F)||11.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||112.4
|Source: Weatherbase.com |
A total of 11 tropical or subtropical cyclones have affected the region in history. Most of them were either extratropical or tropical storms when they impacted the region, although several hurricanes of Category 1 have reached the Azores.
When the Azores became an Autonomous Region of Portugal, the cities of Ponta Delgada, Angra and Horta were considered capital/administrative cities to the regional government: homes to the President (Ponta Delgada), the Judiciary (Angra) and the Regional Assembly (Horta).
The Azores are divided into 19 municipalities (Portuguese: concelhos); each municipality is further divided into parishes (Portuguese: freguesias), of which there is a total of 156 in all of the Azores. The municipalities, by island, are:
|Oriental islands||(Grupo Oriental)|
|Central islands||(Grupo Central)|
|Western island||(Grupo Ocidental)|
|Island||Population||Local Administrative Units||Capital|
|2011||% Total||No||Municipalities (Concelhos)|
|São Miguel||137,830||55.86||6||Lagoa, Nordeste, Ponta Delgada, Povoação, Ribeira Grande, Vila Franca do Campo||Ponta Delgada|
|Santa Maria||5,552||2.25||1||Vila do Porto||Vila do Porto|
|Pico||14,148||5.73||3||Lajes do Pico, Madalena do Mar, São Roque do Pico||Madalena do Mar|
|Graciosa||4,391||1.78||1||Santa Cruz da Graciosa||Santa Cruz da Graciosa|
|São Jorge||9,171||3.72||2||Calheta, Velas||Velas|
|Terceira||56,437||22.87||2||Angra do Heroísmo, Praia da Vitória||Angra do Heroísmo|
|Flores||3,793||1.54||2||Lajes das Flores, Santa Cruz das Flores||Santa Cruz das Flores|
|Corvo||430||0.17||1||Vila Nova do Corvo||Vila Nova do Corvo|
There are five cities (Portuguese: cidades) in the Azores:
- Ponta Delgada ( ), São Miguel island, with 68,809 inhabitants: 33,516 men and 35,293 women.
- Ribeira Grande ( ), São Miguel island, with 32,112 inhabitants: 16,187 men and 15,925 women.
- Angra do Heroísmo ( ), Terceira island, with 35,402 inhabitants: 17,270 men and 18, 132 women.
- Praia da Vitória ( ), Terceira island, with 21,035 inhabitants: 10,434 men and 10,601 women.
- Horta ( ), Faial island, with 14,994 inhabitants: 7,324 men and 7,670 women.
According to the 2011 Census, the total population in the Azores was 246,746: 121,533 men and 125,213 women. The density for the whole Archipelago is 106 persons/km2 .
In the agriculture sector, cattle-raising is very important. Some of the most important crops in the Azores are pineapples, grapes, potatoes, tobacco and tea. Fisheries are an important economic activity on all islands. Fishing methods are highly traditional among Azorean fishermen. Industry in the Azores is based mainly on the production of dairy products (milk, cheese) and transformation of fisheries products, such as tuna.
Road with hortensias, Terceira island.
- "Census 2011". Statistics Portugal. November 20, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
- Bussmann, Michael (2006). Azoren. Erlangen: M. Müller. ISBN 3899532570.
- "Azores". netbiome. 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2013.[permanent dead link]
- Machado, Adriane; Azevedo, José M. M.; Alemeida; Delia P.M.; Chemale Jr., Farid (2008). "Geochemistry of Volcanic Rocks from Faial Island (Azores)" (PDF). E-Terra : Revista Electrónica de Ciências da Terra. Lisbon: e-Terra, GEOTIC – Sociedade Geológica de Portugal. 5, 1. ISSN 1645-0388. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 11, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
- Morton, B.; Britton, J.C.; Frias Martins, A.M. (1998). Ecologia Costeira dos Açores (in Portuguese). São Miguel, Açores, Portugal: Sociedade Afonso Chaves. ISBN 972-97774-1-1.
- "Climate of the Azores islands". Azores Weather. Archived from the original on May 14, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
- "Censos 2011 Resultados Preliminares 2011". INE. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Azores.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Azores.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide about: Azores|