Watermills and Fountains in Madeira Island

Watermills and Fountains in Madeira Island

Waterdmills are one of the most important technologies for the production of flour, in the Archipelago of Madeira. Originally, windmills were developed fro milling grain for food production. However, in the course of history, windmills were adapted to many industrial uses. The first mechanical sugar mill moved by water was invented by Diogo Teives, in the 15th century. As though, this invention determined a great increased of prodution. Due to the abundance of water resources and to the vast irrigation channels network, known as "Levadas", many windmills were introduced, in Madeira Island. Later on, the mechanical milling-powered electricity was introduced. Due to water scarcity in Porto Santo Island, several windmills were introduced with the aim of generating electricity. These windmills were built in 1974 and were the most impressive building constructed in the 18th century, in Porto Santo Island. Years later, Porto Santo was very picturesque with several wooden windmills, and thus, it became an attraction to many visitors. Some of these wooden mills still work today. In the past years, fountains played an important role in Madeiran households, due to the fact that there were no pipe water yet. Madeiran people still have the tradition of garnishing the fountains during São João Festival.


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