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Madeira: The Islands and Their Wines

Madeira: The Islands and Their Wines

Title: Madeira: The Islands and their Wines
Author: Richard Mayson
Publisher: Infinite Ideas
It is probably that the Moors knew of a group of islands off the coast of North Africa when they invaded the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth century. The early 'flat earth' navigators gave the islands a wide berth. This forbidding mass of rock, capped by steaming clouds, was thought by many to be 'the mouth of hell'. If anyone sailed too close they ran the risk of falling off the edge of the earth into a bottomless pit, to be consumed by serpents and monsters. Madeira is shown as the Isola de Lolegname ('the island of wood') on the Medici Map of Africa (Portulano Medicio) dated 1351, although it is possible that it was added on at a later date. But other fourteenth-century maps also show an archipelago north of the Canaries fifty years before they were officially discovered and colonised by the Portuguese.

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