In augustus 2009 hebben wij onze vakantie doorgebracht in Lagoa een klein stadje op het eiland São Miguel op de AzorenDe Azoren (Portugees: Açores) vormen een archipel in de Atlantische Oceaan op een afstand van 1448 km van het Iberisch schiereiland en op circa 2000 km van het Amerikaanse continent.
Deze archipel bestaat uit negen bewoonde eilanden. Samen vormen ze evenals Madeira een autonome regio binnen de republiek Portugal. De Azoren hebben een totale oppervlakte van 2247 km² en tellen zo’n 250.000 inwoners. Het nationale parlement zetelt in Horta op Faial. De grootste stad, Ponta Delgada, ligt op het oostelijke eiland São Miguel.In 1427 ontdekte een van de kapiteins varend voor de Portugese prins Hendrik de Zeevaarder de Azoren.
Mogelijk was dit Gonçalo Velho, maar dit is niet zeker. Vanwege de Noord-Franse en Vlaamse kolonisten die in de vijftiende eeuw voor de bevolking van de eilanden werden aangetrokken, werden ze tot in de zeventiende eeuw ook wel Vlaamse eilanden genoemd, alhoewel de eilanden altijd Portugees gebleven zijn. Zo werd op 1 januari 1451 de nederzetting Vila da Praia op Terceira gesticht door een zekere Jacob van Brugge. Ook nu nog zijn er op de Azoren vooraanstaande families (bijvoorbeeld de familie "de Bruges") die hun geschiedenis op dergelijke kolonisten laten teruggaan.
Ook de windmolens, vooral op Faial, werden door Vlamingen geïntroduceerd.Toen de koning van Spanje in 1580 ook koning van Portugal wist te worden, bleven de Azoreanen zich lang hiertegen verzetten. Dit totdat Filips II van Spanje in 1583 als kersvers koning van Portugal zijn gecombineerde vloot stuurde om zijn autoriteit over heel Portugal te doen gelden en om Franse handelaars te verjagen (Zwarte legende).De negen eilanden van de Azoren zijn alle van vulkanische oorsprong. De hoogste vulkaan is de Pico op het gelijknamige eiland, die 2351 m hoog is, en daarmee de hoogste piek van heel Portugal. De westelijkste eilanden, Flores en Corvo, liggen circa 500 km van het zuidoostelijkste, Santa Maria, vandaan.De bewoners van de tamelijk onvruchtbare Azoren leven hoofdzakelijk van de veehouderij, maar er wordt ook wijndruiven, ananas, bananen en thee verbouwd. In het verleden stonden de Azoren bekend om de walvisjacht. Veel bemanningsleden van walvisvaarders kwamen hier vandaan. Tegenwoordig is het kijken naar de walvissen een toeristische attractie.Horta op Faial is een populaire aanlegplaats voor zeiljachten die de Atlantische Oceaan oversteken
In august 2009 we spend our holiday in Lagoa a little town on the isle São Miguel at the Azores. The Azores (Portuguese: Açores) is a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 km (930 mi) from Lisbon and about 3,900 km (2,400 mi) from the east coast of North America. The two westernmost Azorean islands (Flores and Corvo) actually lie on the North American plate. The Azores' most significant industries are tourism, cattle raising for milk and meat, and fishing.The islands were known in the fourteenth century and parts of them can be seen, for example, in the Atlas Catalan. In 1427, one of the captains sailing for Henry the Navigator, possibly Gonçalo Velho, rediscovered the Azores, but this is not certain.
A History of the Azores by Thomas Ashe written in 1813 marks the discovery by Joshua Vander Berg of Bruges in Flanders. Vander Berg was said to have landed there during a storm on his way to Lisbon. Ashe then claims that the Portuguese left to explore the area and claim it for Portugal shortly after. Although it is commonly said that the archipelago is named after the goshawk (Açor in Portuguese) because it was supposed to be a common bird at the time of discovery, in fact the bird never existed on the islands. Most, however, insist that the name is derived from birds, pointing to a local subspecies of the buzzard (Buteo buteo), as the animal the first explorers erroneously identified as goshawksThe first settlers were a mixed group of people from the Portuguese provinces of Algarve and Minho. Also, Madeirans, Moorish prisoners, black slaves, French, Italians, Scots, English, Germans and Flemings were among the early settlers.
There were petty criminals, Spanish clergy, Jews, soldiers, government officials, European merchants and sugar cane growers.
São Miguel was first settled in 1444, the settlers—from mainly the Estremadura, Alto Alentejo and Algarve areas of Portugal, under the command of Gonçalo Velho Cabral—landing at the site of modern-day Povoação . In 1522 Vila Franca do Campo, then the capital of the island, was devastated by a landslide caused by an earthquake which killed about 5,000 people, and the capital was moved to Ponta Delgada. The town of Vila Franca was rebuilt on the original site and today is a thriving fishing and yachting port. Ponta Delgada received its city status in 1546. Since the first settlement the pioneers applied themselves to the area of agriculture. By the 15th century Graciosa exported wheat, barley, wine and brandy. The goods were sent to Terceira largely due to the proximity of the island.
During the 18th and 19th century, Graciosa was host to many prominent figures including Chateaubriand, the French writer who passed through upon his escape to America during the French revolution; Almeida Garrett, the great Portuguese poet who visited an uncle and wrote some poetry while there; and Prince Albert of Monaco the famous 19th century oceanographer who led several expeditions in the waters of the Azores. He arrived on his yacht “Hirondelle”, and visited the “furna da caldeira”, the famous hot springs grotto.
The first reference to the island of São Jorge was made in 1439 but the actual date of discovery is unknown. In 1443 the island was already inhabited but active settlement only began with the arrival of the noble Flemish native Wilhelm Van der Haegen. Arriving at Topo, where he lived and died, he became known as Guilherme da Silveira to the islanders. João Vaz Corte Real received the captaincy of the island in 1483. Velas became a town before the end of the 15th century. By 1490, there were 2,000 Flemings living in the islands of Terceira, Pico, Faial, Sao Jorge, and Flores. Because there was such a large Flemish settlement, the Azores became known as the Flemish Islands or the Isles of Flanders. Henry was responsible for this settlement. His sister, Isabel, was married to Duke Philip of Burgundy of which Flanders was a part. There was a revolt against Philip's rule and disease and hunger became rampant. Isabel appealed to Henry to allow some of the unruly Flemings to settle in the Azores. He granted this and supplied them with the necessary transportation and goods.
The settlement of the then-unoccupied islands started in 1439 with people mainly from the continental provinces of Algarve and Alentejo. In 1583, Philip II of Spain, as king of Portugal, sent his fleet to clear the Azores of a combined multinational force of adventurers, mercenaries, volunteers and soldiers who were attempting to establish the Azores as a staging post for a rival pretender to the Portuguese throne. Following the success of his fleet at the Battle of Ponta Delgada, the captured enemy were hanged from yardarms, as they were considered pirates by Philip II. (This was added to the "Black Legend" by his enemies.) An English expedition against the Azores in 1597, the Islands Voyage, also failed. Spain held the Azores in what is called The Babylonian captivity of 1580-1642.
The Azores were the second-to-last part of the Portuguese empire to resist Philip's reign over Portugal (Macau being the last) and were returned to Portuguese control with the end of the Iberian Union in 1640, not by the professional military, who were used in the Restoration War in the mainland, but by local people attacking a fortified Castilian garrison (guarnición)