Flores Island - Azores
The European Continent has its westernmost point on this piece of land where 3 793 people live (2011 data). At an altitude of 911 metres, the Morro Alto is the island’s highest point and is located at 39°27’48’’ latitude north and 31°13’13’’ west.
During the 16th and the 17th centuries, the island lived in tranquillity and isolation, a condition that was threatened by the frequent and unwelcomed visits of privateers. As Europe’s westernmost point, Flores had a highly relevant tactical position and functioned as a strategic location for the logistic support that the Crown provided to ships arriving from the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Consequently the island was closely watched by privateers and pirates, whilst they quietly awaited the passing of Spanish galleons filled with precious metals from the Americas and Portuguese carracks from the East.
The opening of the airport in 1972 and the construction of modern ports led to a greater integration of the Western Group in the Azores Archipelago. The services sector now supports the island’s economy, employing about 60% of the local workforce, with tourism playing an increasingly larger role.
The Azores has a maritime climate with moderate temperatures that vary from 16°C (60°F) in the winter to 26°C (79°F) in the summer. Sea temperatures are influenced by the Gulf Stream, and are also mild, between 14°C and 22°C on average.