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Archipelago (pop., 2001: 242,073), northern Atlantic Ocean, constituting an autonomous region of Portugal. Its islands are Flores, Corvo, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Graciosa, São Miguel, and Santa Maria; the capital is Ponta Delgada (on São Miguel). It covers an area of 901 sq mi (2,333 sq km). Subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the islands lie some 1,000 mi (1,600 km) west of mainland Europe. The uninhabited Azores were reputedly discovered c. 1427 by Portuguese pilot Diogo de Sevilha. Settlement began c. 1432; by the end of the 15th century, all the islands were inhabited and trade with Portugal was well established. They were subject to Spain in 1580–1640, and a famous sea battle between the British and Spanish occurred off Flores in 1591. The Portuguese installed a governor and captain general for the whole group in 1766; the islands were given limited autonomy in 1895. Important air and naval bases were set up there during World War II; in 1951 the U.S. established a NATO base on Lajes.
Variants of AZORES
Azores Portuguese Açores
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Azores, visit Britannica.com.