Madeira (pronounced /məˈdɪərə/ or /məˈdɛərə/; Portuguese: [mɐˈdeiɾɐ] or [mɐˈdɐiɾɐ]) is a Portuguese archipelago in the mid Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the Autonomous regions of Portugal, with Madeira Island and Porto Santo Island being the only inhabited islands. Madeira is an archipelago with volcanic origins from a Hot Spot, so is not geographically part of a specific continent, but Madeira belongs and has belonged ethnically, culturally, economically and politically toEurope for 600 years despite being geographically closer to Africa. Madeira is part of Portugal, and as such a part of the European Union, as an Outermost Region.
Madeira was rediscovered by Portuguese sailors some time between 1418 and 1420. The archipelago is considered to be the first discovery of the exploratory period initiated by Henry the Navigator of Portugal. It is a popular year-round resort, noted for its Madeira wine, flowers, and embroidery artisans, as well as its New Year's Eve celebrations that feature a spectacular fireworks show, which is the largest in the worldaccording to the Guinness World Records. Its harbour – Funchal – is important due to its commercial and passenger traffic and for being a major stopover for cruisers en route from Europe to the Caribbean.
Madeira Island's geographical position and mountainous landscape result in a very pleasant climate which varies between the north side, south side, and smaller islands groups like Porto Santo and Savages. The mean annual temperature on the coastline can reach more than 20 °C in the south. With its mild humidity, the weather of the island is classified as oceanic subtropical and with its low rain level, desertic on the Savages. Influenced by the Gulf Stream, sea water temperature varies between 26 °C during the summer and 17 °C in the winter.