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Christopher Columbus was one of the early settlers, but later many of the merchant families established commercial interests on the island, including: João d'Esmenaut from the Picardy region, the Lomelino from Genoa, the Mondragão from Biscay, the Acciauoli from Florence, the Bettencourts from France, the Lemilhana Berenguer from Valencia and many others.During the second half of the 15th century, the sugar industry expanded significantly along the southern coast, from Machico until Fajã da Ovelha, making Funchal the most important industrial centre of the industry.In September 1566, French corsairs under the command of Bertrand de Montluc, a gentleman in the court of Charles IX of France and second-son of Field Marshal Blaise de Montluc departed from Bordeaux with a force of 1200 men, on a small fleet of three main ships and eight support craft. When the news was relayed to the settlements on Madeira and the villas of Machico and Santa Cruz the citizenry armed themselves for the inevitable.In Funchal, the governor, Francisco de Sales Gonçalves Zarco da Câmara, did not take any action that could be construed as hostile.It is also popular as a destination for New Year's Eve, and it is the leading Portuguese port on cruise liner dockings.The name Funchal, was applied by the first settlers that landed on its shores due to the abundance of wild fennel where, as tradition goes, the primitive burg was built.This was our first visit and it won't be the last. There was a problem with the Wi-Fi and the hotel upgraded this at no cost to us. The gardens and pool areas were gorgeous and inviting. You won't start the day hungry as the breakfast is very substantial and tasty.This hotel was a perfect introduction to the island. The breakfasts were superb-how I miss them here at home. This is our favourite hotel anywhere, rooms lovely the staff very friendly ,entertainment first class ,what more can you ask of a holiday.
Great dinners and Buffet and a very nice tropical garden with several swimmingpools close to the sea. The hotel shuttle brings you within 10 minutes to Funchal Centre. We try and get away from the British winter for a few days every year in March and this year decided on Madeira. It was my wife's 70th birthday and the hotel pampered her and on arrival flowers, sparkling wine and fruit were in our Junior Suite and rose petals were strewn on the beds.
We had had a very hectic time at home so wanted a break & knew where we would get one, at the Porto Mare Hotel. The location is great, the grounds and gardens are beautiful and so well kept.
We arrived to a very clean neat & welcoming room with a balcony & a fantastic view of the gardens & sea view of the Atlantic with sunshine. Room very large and comfy and although we only had breakfast there it was first class.
By the end of the century, fronting the Order of Christ, D.
Manuel, Duke of Beja, expanded the support of the local community; he ordered the construction of the administrative Paços do Concelho and the Paços dos Tabeliães (completed in 1491), raised the construction of a church (began in 1493 and later raised to cathedral in 1514), and finally the construction of a hospital and customs-house in the village.
There was a porter at the entrance to look after our bags.