500 Years ago…

This Year’s edition of the 16th century market has ‘The Admiralcy’s Wheat as its theme.

For the 11th time now, in early June, the clock will wind back five centuries in the town of Machico for another edition of the Sixteenth Century Market. The history of the town’s foundation period is brought to life on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of June. 

After the island was discovered, cereal plantations, especially wheat, became a cornerstone of the Portuguese economy. Though wheat was exported from here to Lisbon, the great metropolis, we also supplied Guinea, Ceuta and a few other cities part of the Portuguese empire. 

Over time, wheat crops decreased and were gradually replaced by sugarcane plantations. In 1508, there was an agricultural crisis and the Admiral of Machico, the man in charge of the mills and communal ovens, had to take action to protect his people from starvation. 

Wheat has a very emotional and complex history and that is what this event will try to capture and portray by having ‘The Admiralcy’s Wheat’ for its theme. 

Food and beverage stalls, music, dancing, staged historical dramas, street acrobats, traditional games and parades are just some of the activities included in the event. The highlight of the second day will be the enactment of Tristão Teixeira’s arrival with wheat from the Azores. 

This sociocultural project is brought about by a partnership between the School of Machico and the town hall.