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The Azores Islands: their Relationship to Atlantis

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Corissa
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« on: July 29, 2012, 08:31:51 pm »

History of the Azores



Old map of the Azores Islands.
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Corissa
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2012, 08:32:52 pm »

The first indications that "mythical" lands across the sea existed were suggested by Theopompue in 4th century B.C., who wrote of a large western land in the Atlantic. Pliny and Diodorus later wrote of a large continent to the west, while the Greek Solon (in 600 B.C.) while travelin in Egypt was recounted stories of an island named Atlantis. Plato wrote about this in Dialogues of 400 BC. His account tells of a powerful land outside the "pillars of Hercules" (which is a reference to Gibraltar) that was larger than Libya and Asia combined. It was a land that was the way to other lands, but it sank during a time of earthquakes and floods. The water was so muddy from its sinking that it was impassable.

But on early nautical charts and maps islands were found located in the Atlantic, like the Fortunate Isles, Antillia, Brazil, and California. There were stories, such as Irish St. Brendan of Clonfert who, in 545, sailed from Kerry to discover islands on his journey (likely Madeira). On a Catalan chart these Atlantic islands were identified as the Isles of St. Brendan, lying only a few hundred miles off the Straits of Gilbraltar. In the 12th Century, the Arab Mohammad al Edrisi was credited at one time of having located a series of islands which might have been the Cape Verdes, the Maderias, the Canaries, or possibly the Azores.

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Corissa
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2012, 08:33:21 pm »

A Medici map of 1351 contained seven islands off the Portuguese coast which were arranged in groups of three. There was the southern group or the Goat Islands (Cabreras); there was the middle group or the Wind or Dove Islands (De Ventura Sive de Columbis); and there was the western island or the Brazil Island (De Brazil).

The Azores were known in the fourteenth century and can be seen incompletely, for example, in the Atlas Catalan of 1375. There were three Islands with the names of Corvo, Flores, and Sao Jorge. It was thought that maybe the Genovese may have discovered the Azores at that time and gave those names. A History of the Azores, written by Thomas Ashe in 1813, marks the discovery of the islands by Joshua Vander Berg of Bruges.[1] Vander Berg was said to have landed there during a storm on his way to Lisbon.[1] Ashe then claims that the Portuguese left to explore the area and claim it for Portugal shortly after.[1] This claim is generally discredited among academics today.

These stories and sightings indicate that there was some exploration occurring, or at least, the peoples of Europe had passing knowledge of islands in the Atlantic.
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Corissa
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2012, 08:33:43 pm »

The Age of Exploration

The Portuguese Prince Infante Dom Henrique (1394-1460), or Henry the Navigator, is generally credited for motivating modern navigation and directing the discoveries during the age of exploration. For Azoreans his one of the founding fathers. Henry studied the sea, weather, ships, geography and trade routes and talked to the navigators, and sea captains. He brought to his navigation school, which he founded at Sagres in 1416, cosmographers, mathematicians, cartographers, and learned men of the known sciences, as well as collecting maps, charts, books, and other forms of knowledge.

His motivations were not selfless: he was looking to the sea as a possible route to link up with the mythological Prester John, thereby encircling the Moslem world and driving them from northern Africa and the Holy Land. To accomplish this Henry needed funds from the trade in order to find a sea route to India. As leader of the religious-military organization, the Holy Order of Christ, its program of exploration, discovery, and settlement was tailored for this dual purpose.
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Corissa
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2012, 08:34:09 pm »

His first adventure, in 1415, was the defeat of the Muslims at Ceuta (Morocco), which helped free the African coast for exploration. Henry experimented with ships and navigation during this venture, which led to designing of the caravel, a long and slender ship (by comparison) with lateen sails, that would be used by his Portuguese explorers on their long voyages. Also the navigational instruments, such as the astrolabe, quadrant, and cross-staff, were developed to fix a ship's position. His captains kept logbooks of their voyages to document their experience for the knowledge of others. They also used flat maps to record longitude and latitude thereby simplifying cartography methods. Navigation and seafaring during this period was dangerous, harsh and unforgiving; positions had to be known (in order to one's way back), the winds, weather changes, currents changed drastically in different locations and small wooden ships could be broken at sea. Also, supplies of food and water could easily run out during these voyages, and disease could strike. Superstition and fear was also an important passenger on these voyages, and only a few seasoned crews were weary of the obstacles of sailing alone in the ocean sea.
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Corissa
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2012, 08:34:30 pm »

Re-Discovery

The exact date of re-discovery is unknown, though historic accounts indicate that the islands of Santa Maria and São Miguel were the first to be discovered by the Portuguese navigator Diogo de Silves around 1427. On August 15, 1432, Gonçalo Velho Cabral, with a dozen crew members on a small sailing vessel, disembarked on Santa Maria, naming after the fact that it was Assumption of Our Lady.

The Islands were named the Azores, or "Goshawks" by the Portuguese for the number of hawks and falcons found there.[1]

The colonization of the then-unoccupied islands started in 1439 with the village "Praia dos Lobos" being founded along the "Ribeira do Capitão" (Captain's Stream). Later, a few families came from the continental provinces of Algarve and Alentejo after Gonçalo Velho's nephew and heir, João Soares de Albergaria, advertising ton them. In the following centuries settlers from other European countries arrived, most notably from Northern France and Flanders.
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Corissa
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2012, 08:34:50 pm »

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus stopped on Santa Maria after his 1493 voyage to America. After being mistaken for a pirate, he was taken prisoner and was only set free after officials justified his landing.

Economic Development

The island of São Miguel was apparently populated by 1444. The population came mostly from the regions of Estremadura, Alentejo and Algarve. The colonists spread themselves along the coastline in areas where conditions of accessibility and farming were best. The fertlity of the Azores contributed to its population expansion, as the islands were soon exporting wheat to the Portuguese garrison in North Africa and of sugar cane and dyes to Flanders. Later oranges were grown and exported to the British Isles. The area was also frequently subjected to pirate attacks.

During these times Ponta Delgada became the capital. The first capital was Vila Franca do Campo, but when it was destroyed in 1522[clarification needed] Ponta Delgata assumed the position. It became the first city on the island in 1546.
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Corissa
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2012, 08:35:09 pm »

Occupation

Terceira Island was the third island to be discovered, and its name literally means "Third Island". It was originally called the Island of Jesus Christ and was first settled in 1450. Graciosa Island was settled shortly afterward from settlers from Terceira.

The residents of Terceira, who mostly settled in Porto Judeu and Praia da Vitória and along the coastline, took a brave stand against King Philip II of Spain upon his ascension to the Portuguese throne in 1580. They, along with most of the rest of the Azores, believed that António, Prior of Crato was the rightful successor, and defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Salga in 1581.

In 1583, Philip tried again at defeating the Azoreans. He sent his combined Iberian fleet to clear the French traders from the Azores, decisively hanging his prisoners-of-war from the yardarms and contributing to the "Black Legend". The Azores were the second-to-last part of the Portuguese empire to resist Philip's reign over Portugal (Macau being the last), Azores was returned to Portuguese control with the end of the Iberian Union, not by the military efforts, as these were already in Restoration War efforts in the mainland, but by the people attacking a well-fortified Castilian guarnition.

The Azores served as a port of call for the Spanish galleons during their occupation. In December of 1640 the Portuguese monarchy was restored and the islands again became a Portuguese possession.
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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2012, 08:35:30 pm »

During the Civil War

The 1820 civil war in Portugal had strong repercussions in the Azores. In 1829, in Vila da Praia, the liberals won over the absolutists, making Terceira the main headquarters of the new Portuguese regime and also where the Council of Regency (Conselho de Regência) of Mary II of Portugal was established.
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Corissa
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2012, 08:35:41 pm »

Historical districts

Beginning in 1868, Portugal issued its stamps overprinted with "AÇORES" for use in the islands. Between 1892 and 1906, it also issued separate stamps for the three administrative districts of the time.

From 1836 to 1976, the archipelago was divided into three districts, quite equivalent (except in area) to those in the Portuguese mainland. The division was arbitrary, and didn’t follow the natural island groups, rather reflecting the location of each district capital on the three main cities (neither of each on the western group).

Angra consisted of Terceira, São Jorge, and Graciosa, with the capital at Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira.
Horta consisted of Pico, Faial, Flores, and Corvo, with the capital at Horta on Faial.
Ponta Delgada consisted of São Miguel and Santa Maria, with the capital at Ponta Delgada on São Miguel.
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Corissa
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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2012, 08:35:57 pm »

During World War II

During the Second World War, in 1943, the Portuguese dictator Salazar leased bases in the Azores to the British. This represented a change in policy. Previously the Portuguese government only allowed German U-boats and navy ships to refuel there.[2]. This was a key turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic, allowing the Allies to provide aerial coverage in the middle of the Atlantic. This helped them to hunt U-boats and protect convoys.

In 1944, American forces constructed a small and short-lived air base on the island of Santa Maria. In 1945, a new base was founded on the island of Terceira and is currently known as Lajes Field. It was founded in an area called Lajes, a broad, flat sea terrace that had been a farm. Lajes Field is a plateau rising out of the sea on the northeast corner of the island. This air force base is a joint American and Portuguese venture. Lajes Field has, and continues to support US and Portuguese military operations. During the Cold War, the US Navy P-3 Orion anti-submarine squadrons patrolled the North Atlantic for Soviet submarines and surface spy vessels. Since its inception, Lajes Field has been used for refuelling aircraft bound for Europe, and more recently, the Middle East. The US Army operates a small fleet of military ships in the harbor of Praia da Vitória, three kilometers southeast of Lajes Field. The airfield also has a small commercial terminal handling scheduled and chartered passenger flights from other islands in the archipelago, Europe, and North America.
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2012, 08:36:14 pm »

Recent times

In 1976, the Azores became the Autonomous Region of the Azores (Região Autónoma dos Açores), one of the Autonomous regions of Portugal, and the Azorean districts were suppressed.

http://theazoresislands.blogspot.com/search/label/History

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azores
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Corissa
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2012, 08:37:12 pm »

'Fried Egg' may be impact crater
By Jonathan Amos
Science correspondent, BBC News, San Francisco


The Egg and its companion obtained by multibeam echosounder bathymetry


Portuguese scientists have found a depression on the Atlantic Ocean floor they think may be an impact crater.

The roughly circular, 6km-wide hollow has a broad central dome and has been dubbed the "Fried Egg" because of its distinctive shape.

It was detected to the south of the Azores Islands during a survey to map the continental shelf.

If the Fried Egg was made by a space impactor, the collision probably took place within the past 17 million years.


This is the likely maximum age of the basaltic sea-floor rock which harbours the feature.

"To be sure, we need to take samples and make a profile of the sediment layers to determine if there really is a central uplift from an impact," explained Dr Frederico Dias from EMEPC (Task Group for the Extension of the Portuguese Continental Shelf).

"We need also to see all the signatures that are consistent with a high velocity impact, like glasses from melting and, of course, debris; and what are called shatter cones (shocked rocks)," he told BBC News.
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« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2012, 08:37:31 pm »

Central peaks

Dr Dias described the putative impact feature here at the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) Fall Meeting, the world's largest annual gathering of Earth scientists.

The Fried Egg was first identified in data gathered by a 2008 multibeam echosounder hydrographic survey. A further cruise from September to November this year confirmed its presence.

It lies under 2km of water about 150km from the Azores archipelago.

The depressed ring sits roughly 110m below the surrounding ocean bottom, with the circular dome-shaped central uplift 3km in diameter and with a base-to-top height of some 300m.

Central peaks are often associated with meteorite impacts and form when the compressed crater floor rebounds. A peak is not definitive proof of an impact, however.

A volcanic origin for the Fried Egg seems unlikely because the Portuguese team has not been able to find any lava flows within the structure or on its surroundings.
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2012, 08:37:55 pm »

Second crater

Interestingly, there is another - but much smaller - feature just 3-4km to the west of the egg.

"It's just by the side. If the Fried Egg is a crater, this could be a crater also," speculated Dr Dias.

Dr Dias and colleagues are examining gravity and magnetic data gathered during September's cruise. A third expedition to the area early next year will use a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to try to retrieve samples from the ocean floor for analysis.

The Portuguese team detailed the currently available Fried Egg data on a poster at the AGU meeting. Other researchers who came to view the information were split on the impact theory, Dr Dias said.

"Even if it's not an impact crater it's still a very interesting feature," he told the BBC.

The EMEPC is working under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to establish the true extent of Portuguese territorial waters.

Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8400264.stm
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