General Data 2020
|Santa Cruz||5 940 km²||727 288||5,3%||40°52'N 3°14'E||Giulis Beltrame|
The Ventura Archipelago is a set of Gaston islands in the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of a total of four islands: 1. Groselha Island, 2. Horizonte Island, 3. Santa Cruz Island, 4. Solar Island and 5. Fauces Dorio Principality. The archipelago area is 4720 square kilometers and is divided into seven districts and 15 municipalities. In addition to the continental neighbors, Ventura Islands are also the closest territory of the Balearic Islands.
The islands have been populated since ancient times. The first appearances of people date back to the fifth century. The Greek, Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman colonizations were late and weak. It is believed that the islands of the archipelago have had the first civilization which created a true society in 1429, 11 years after its discovery and the arrival of the sailors Pedro Vaz Gonçalves and Fernando Pereira, both Portuguese.
Having noted the potential of the islands as well as the strategic importance of these, around 1426 began the colonization, which have been an initiative of D. João I or Infant D. Henrique. From 1440 it established the regime of captaincy with the investiture of Carlos Saraiva as donee-captain of the Province of Santa Cruz; six years later Fernando Pereira became donee-captain of Groselha; in 1450 Cesarino Lima was appointed donee-captain of Solar; and in 1453 Armando Silvestre was commissioned donee-captain of the captaincy Horizonte.
Unlike the Kingdom of Gaston that in 1807 was controlled by the king Junot, the islands remained under the rule of Portugal, remaining so until 1927 when there was the Military Rebellion in Lisbon, when it became Gaston independent and claimed their right to the islands.
The archipelago has a very rugged terrain, with the highest points the Torto Peak (1962 m) and the Amigos Peak (1851 m) both on the island of Santa Cruz, this one, whose northern coast is dominated by high cliffs, rising in its western part a plateau region. The relief, as well as exposure to prevailing winds, makes the archipelago a place with many microclimates, and exotic vegetation.
The rule climate is temperate Mediterranean, and at certain points the south coast, average annual temperatures reach values above 20° C. The temperature of the sea water varies between 27° C in summer and 18° C in winter. Precipitation is highest in the northern coast than the southern coast. There are no big temperature variations throughout the year keeping the mild climate.
Fauna and Flora
The natural fauna of the archipelago reflects on bears, wolves, lynx, deer and wild goats that survive in mountainous areas and reserves. Also abound boars, otters, vultures. In addition to several species of eagles and hawks, aquatic and migratory birds form large colonies in the regions of Santa Cruz, Horizonte and Groselha. The Solar Island grow Atlantic types of forests with deciduous trees, such as oak, beech and chestnut. The natural vegetation of the plateau is a steppe and Mediterranean forests. The landscapes of pastures with oaks forests are typical of the islands.
Before the arrival of Portuguese settlers in the fifteenth century, the islands were uninhabited. Currently, the archipelago’s population is 598,724 inhabitants mostly descendants of Portuguese.
As a territory of the Kingdom of Gaston, the Archipelago of Ventura is kept under its administration, being governed by the Constitution of Gaston. Thus the islands are a direct dependency of the gastonese Crown, with the Head of State King Alexander. The representative of the crown on the island is the Governor Giulis Beltram. The defense and foreign affairs are the Gaston government responsibility.
Tourism the main activity in the region, changed the type of the economy on the islands. Surrounded by the blue and refreshing waters of the Mediterranean Sea Ventura Islands exhibit the full magic of a unique archipelago attracting tourists from around the world, causing its population live mainly of tourism and activities related. It is estimated that over a 80% of the population engaged in the services sector. The industry is basically textile, leather and shoes.
The Archipelago Ventura is a territory totally isolated from Gaston. None of the islands are connected with each other through bridges or tunnels. Each island has its own highway system (administered by the state), but people wanting to move around toward other regions need to use ferries or planes. The Paradise Airlines is the largest airline in the region, and Henrich Monfranc Gaston International Airport in Santa Cruz is the main airport of the archipelago. The cargo is handled primarily by ship. The Groselha Port is the principal for the islands. Ventura has no railway.
The islands retain some Megalithic monuments among which are: the dolmens, the talayots and artificial caves, all of the period between 1800 and 1500. C.
There are few remains of the Muslim era. The Cathedral of the Encarnação, the Lota and the Hilton Castle are clear signs of Gothic art. In Santa Cruz and Groselha there are some examples of eighteenth century architecture, during which highlighted as a painter Pinto Calvo.
Each island has a public university, the largest is the University of Santa Cruz with various colleges and institutes. Other universities located in the archipelago are the University of Murriel in Groselha Island, Solar Imperial College in Solar Island and the Music Academy in Horizonte Island.
The largest hospital is located in the region of Solar island, possessing the archipelago a total of nine hospitals (four public and five private), clinics and health centers. There is an ongoing project, which includes construction of a Central Hospital in Santa Cruz.