Funchal is at the same time a city (cidade) and a municipality (municipio); it is the chief town of the Madeira and the autonomous region of Madeira which gathers the islands of the archipelago. It is also the only big city of the island. Surface of the east city 76.25 km ², and it counts 103,962 inhabitants (2001).
Funchal comes from the word funcho which means Portuguese fennel. Indeed, when the first Portuguese discovered the Madeira at the 15th century, of wild fennel, a grass with the sweetish odor, pushed in abundance with the site of the current city.
The town of Funchal occupies on the southern part of the Madeira, vis-a-vis the Atlantic Ocean, a superb bay closed by cliffs in the east and the west, and dominated in north by green hills and deep processions.
Coordinates: 32° 37 ’ 45” of northern latitude and 16° 55 ’ 20” of western longitude.
Founded in 1425, Funchal obtained its municipal statute on August 21st, 1508 by a royal edict of Dom Manuel the Ist city celebrated in 2008 its 500 years of existence (Funchal 500 anos, 1508-2008).
On December 3rd and 12th 1916, the port is bombarded by the German navy. The attack aimed at warships Portuguese, French and English, but the city even was also touched and several civilians are killed, and the damage is rather important.