History of Estreito da Calheta

History of Estreito da Calheta

Due to the charatecristic aspect of the area, which looks like a canyon or a deep valley, have made the first settlers call this place, Estreito da Calheta (estreito means “narrow valley”).

This civil parsih is located on the western side of Madeira Island, and is part of Calheta municipality.

One of the first settlers in the civil parish of Estreito da Calheta was André Gonçalves França, who came from Poland in mid 16th century.

Today, this is one of the first places outside Funchal (capital of Madeira), subject to colonization and farming.

The climate is very mild, just like the rest of the Island. However, the winter is a little harsh.

The most important economic activitty in the civil parish of Estreito da Calheta, is agriculture. The most predominant culture is the vine, after the sugar cane that was once strongly established. Sugar cane used to be very important, particularly during the prime of the white gold (sugar) era. During that time, Madeira used to export sugar in very large quantities, and trade for Flemish art, which today is exhibited in Museu de Arte Sacra (sacred art museum, in Funchal).

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