Macaronesia is a geographic area of islands in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean at the west and northwest of Portugal and Spain. Macaronesia means “Blessed Islands, the word comes from the Greek. Macaronesia consists of the island groups of the Azores (Portugal), Madeira (Portugal), Canary Islands (Spain) and the country of Cape Verde.
Despite the distance between the islands, they have important similarities. The island groups are of volcanic origin. A number of islands lie above a volcanic hotspot. This is a place where mantle plume reaches the surface of the earth and supplies the magma. The Cape Verde islands, with the still active volcano Fogo, are also above such a hotspot.
The isolated location of the islands ensures that there are many native plants and animal species. For example: snakewort, the dragon blood tree and spurge.
Islands of Macaronesia
Archipelago consisting of 9 inhabited and 8 uninhabited islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal. Only 250,000 people live in the Azores and the archipelago is located 1,370 kilometers from Portugal.
The Portuguese archipelago of Madeira consists of Madeira, Porto Santo and the more southern islands of Ilhas Desertas and Ilhas Selvagens. Like the Azores, the archipelago of Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal. It is located approximately 850 kilometers west of Portugal and there live approximately 280,000 people. The majority live in the capital Funchal.
The Canary Islands are an autonomous region of Spain and consist of 13 islands. The most famous islands are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. More than 2.2 million people live on the islands. The Spanish archipelago is located about 1,100 kilometers from the mainland of Spain.
Cape Verde islands
The southernmost archipelago of Macaronesia. Cape Verde has been an independent country since 1975 and is an old Portuguese colony consisting of 12 islands (9 inhabited). Cape Verde has an area of 4,033 square kilometers which puts it on the 30th place of the smallest countries in the world. More than half a million people live on the islands.