Brief History
Madeira's proximity to Europe meant that it was one of Portugal's oldest colonies, being established in 1419. The British connection came during the Napoleonic War. Britain and Portugal were actually allies during this war, but the Portugese were concerned at being unable to defend their empire from predatory French or her allied navies. The British were happy to defend the colony and despatched a Royal Naval squadron there to help defend it. This was first done from 1801 but with a temporarcy lull in the fighting with France, the British withdrew in 1802. In 1807 they reoccupied it as part of the Peninsula War Campaign where Britain used Portugal as a base of operations to confront Napoleon's armies in Spain. They wanted to secure all lines of communication to and from that base of operations. This amicable agreement was terminated in 1814
madeira Map
Fort in Napoleonic War
Madeira Images

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by Stephen Luscombe