Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/141

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{Read at Meeting, 2^th March, 1903.)

If a line be drawn across the Atlantic Ocean from Lisbon to New York just south of the 40th parallel of latitude, at about one-third of the distance from Europe and two-thirds from America, will be found the oceanic and volcanic group of islands known as the Azores, in Portuguese the Azores, or Hawk Islands. This group shares with Madeira and the Canary Islands the honour of being the firstfruits of the spirit of exploration and discovery which began to animate Europe in the fifteenth century. The Azores were indeed shown, as well as Madeira, in a Genoese map of 1351 ; but no one knows who first discovered them, and their exist- ence was forgotten until the time of the great Prince Henry, when Cabral, sailing under his auspices, discovered the island of Santa Maria in 1432. The whole group became known and was colonised by 1450. The colonisa- tion was mainly from the southern part of Portugal — Estre- madura, Alemtejo, and Algarve ; except in the case of the island of Terceira, which was settled from Northern Portugal, the Minho and Douro province. In the islands of Fayal, Pico, and Sao Jorge there was a large Flemish settlement; in one part of St. Michael's, still known as Bretanha, there is said to have been a considerable Breton immigration, and the people of these villages still show a marked difference from those of the remainder of the island. As a whole, however, the population of the group must be considered Portuguese, alien elements having been absorbed and assimilated. The islands were uninhabited when dis- covered, so there is no aboriginal element to be considered.