Funchal Cruise Port busy: Saturday, 31st March, 2012
Madeira’s WHITE GOLD
The Madeira Islands became a major producer and supplier of sugar what was historically known as the ‘white gold’.
Its lands were very difficult to cultivate and slaves were brought in from Africa to work in the sugar cane farms and mills. In the 15th and 16th centuries sugar was considered a luxury and as plantations expanded this industry became very important to the local economy.
Madeira Sugar was known all over Europe and attracted many traders and merchants who settled in Funchal and its surroundings, spreading as far as Ponta do Sol, Calheta, Ribeira Brava; all areas becoming big producers of sugar cane.
Funchal port being a busy sugar trading centre was frequently visited by merchants who would trade various products such as tools, cloth, clay, iron, meat, salt and olive oil all in exchange for sugar. Another very important trade was with Flanders.
Madeira’s sugar was traded for unique works of art
Sugar was traded for unique works of art like the Sé Cathedral Altar Painting and the artistic wooden ceiling, the Flemish collection is still found today at the sacred art museum.
In the year 1500 Madeira Island was the largest sugar exporter in the world
..but, by the end of the century the sugarcane production fell due to over-production and a cane disease that destroyed most of the fields.
Today three sugar cane processing factories still exist and in early April their machines process the raw constituents of honey (cane syrup) molasses and rum. These factories can be visited at Ribeiro Sêco in Funchal, Calheta and Porto da Cruz. But, it’s best to contact the owners before arrival.
Film of Calheta’s Engenhos on the hill before Calheta Town’s white sand beaches
Calheta’s white sand beaches
What’s happening this weekend? includes:
7th Sugar Cane Agricultural Fair in Canhas, region of Ponta do Sol on the hottest, sunniest south-west coast of Madeira
Quorum Ballet, Funchal 31 de Março
21H30, Auditório do Centro de Congressos do Casino da Madeira será title of performance “Correr o Fado”: