Portuguese Insular Regions: Azores

Figure 1.--This photograph was taken in 1935 on Ilha de São Miguel, Azores. It shows a young boy carrying a new pair of wooden shoes. Probably his father was a cobbler and the child was delivering the shoes to a customer It is strange to see a barefoot child carring shoes for someone else, but this photo shows how common was for Portuguese children to go barefoot. This was a custom that in Azores with its mild climate was usual all year round. Many children didn't own any footwear. That was surely a matter of poverty. So the parents saved the money to provide their children footwear and hosiery. We think, however, that other elements are also important. Where the weather doesn't force to wear shoes and all the children go barefoot. Notice that the bot wears knickers rather thn short pants which were more common in Portugal at he time.

The Azores are a widely-separated arcipelago located some 970 miles (1,560 km) directly due west from Lisbon out into the Atlantic Ocean. North America is another 3,900 kilometers. The archipelago is made up of nine volcanic islands arranged on an east-west axis. The nine islands are divided into three groups. The Eastern group includes Santa Maria and São Miguel, the Central group includes Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial and the Western group includes Flores and Corvo. It is not yet clear if the Azores were inhabited before the arrival of the Portuguese. The Portuguese settled the Azores as part of the voyages of discovery (mid-15th century). The islands position in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean makes them territory of considerable strategic importance. They played an important role in the World War II Battle of the Atlantic. The Azores were granted the status of an Autonomous Region (1976). Self government was instituted through an amendment to the Portuguese Constitution . The Azores are an important mid-ocean refueling and supply point for commercial airlines, cruise ships, international shipping, and private yachts. The Azores are well known for flavorful cheeses, red and white wines, and many varieties of tropical fruit. The economy is increasingly a popular tourist attraction. Deepsea fishing is a major attraction.


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Created: 6:20 PM 5/27/2013
Last updated: 6:20 PM 5/27/2013