abreu, joão moniz

(c. 1690-c. 1755)

As a carpenter, he stood out for his work in the construction of the new installations for the canon chapter and the sacristy of the See of Funchal, which were authorized by the Treasury in 1733, as well as his participation in the military works from the beginning of 1744, when he assumed the role of master builder, replacing Diogo Filipe Garcês. During the time he held this position, orders arrived from Lisbon concerning the implementation of the building plans and budgets for new churches, such as the one from Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres and S. João Batista from Fajã da Ovelha.

Keywords: Sé of Funchal; carpentry; military works; royal works.


The title of “alferes” (officer) is related to a flag-carrying officer, a position immediately below lieutenant and captain. From the Middle Ages onwards, and until the creation of the position of constable of the realm, the officer-general was also the commander in chief of the royal armies. Since then, he became a royal flag-carrying officer, and from the sixteenth century onwards, it became, however, a merely honorific position, exclusively exercised during the acclamation of new kings. It is only represented in Madeira by Tristão Gomes de Castro, and we have no knowledge of the specific documentation of his nomination, as it was only cited by genealogist Henrique Henriques de Noronha.

Keywords: officer; officer-general; Henrique Henriques de Noronha; Tristão Gomes de Castro.


The title of “alcaide” (governor) encompassed a very wide set of competences related to military and civil jurisdiction, and in the beginning of the settlement these powers were entrusted to the Donatary Captains, who oversaw the military and customs matters and presided the emerging council chambers. As the general matters of security were entrusted to the captain, who then nominated the governors for the headquarters of the captaincy, when the municipalities began to be autonomous from the captains, it was only by the end of the fifteenth century that he assumed the name of governor-general.

Keywords: governor; captaincy; donatary; governor-general

sea governor

The title of “alcaide” (governor) encompassed a very wide set of competences related to the military, local power, customs and tax authority, the latter being the domain of the sea governor. The creation of the position of “sea governor, representative of the Treasury and royal tax officer” goes back to the mid sixteenth century, with the purpose of controlling the complex area of connection between the Fuchal Customs and Treasury with the maritime traffic of the bay. This position also appears in the Santa Cruz Customs, in captaincy of Machico, between the late sixteenth century and the late seventeenth century, when it was discontinued, and in Porto Santo, in the mid seventeenth century.

Keywords: governor; Customs; tax jurisdiction; Funchal Treasury; maritime traffic; ports


The baroque is considered the style related to absolutism and Counterreformation, characterized by an exuberant splendour, and a degree of excess related to the form and a horror vacui. The baroque movement pervaded society at large, achieving a very special place next the ruling classes. However, in a society with great mobility such as Madeiran society, the main surviving visual examples of this time are mainly restricted to church interiors, such as the church of S. João Evangelista of the old Jesuit College of Funchal and, in the north of the island, the parish church of S. Jorge. Occasionally, we can find many good baroque carved altarpieces, many good tabernacles carved in silver, some monumental tombs, as in the church of Carmo in Funchal, as well as tiles, imagery and paintings from the best contemporary Portuguese workshops, all over the island.

Keywords: absolutism; tiles; Council of Trento; Counterreformation; church of the Funchal College; parish church of S. Jorge; carved altarpieces.

alincourt, francisco de

(Calais, 1733-Brazil, 1816)

Military engineer who enrolled in the Portuguese army during the period of restructuring of the military forces of the realm, conducted by the count of Lippe. He was sent to Madeira in late 1767, entrusted with the creation of the school of fortification of Funchal and to conduct a survey in order to create the general map of the island. He took up the post with remarkable zeal, also due to the inventory and research work he carried out in Porto Santo.

Keywords: maps; fortresses; architecture; engineering; army.

porto santo – a tour around the island

When Porto Santo used to be assaulted by pirates, locals were suffering excruciating travails. The worst attack happened in 1617 when pirates killed all men and abducted most women in the island. At that time the 16 th century fortress at the highest hill was worthless. Happy days, though, were marked by windmill sails moving around, by the wheat fields and by the hustle and bustle at the threshing floor. But if wind was welcomed for windmills it was not so much for crop fields which led locals to find a unique solution by building lacy walls.   The island’s low profile is a constant indented by the shape of the clay houses coverage also tried by Chorão Ramalho in the island’s high school. And, of course, one of the mandatory visit points is the museum of “Cardina” as well as the lookout points and the rocky hills such as the hill of Ana Ferreira.

Download this route here!