National Geographic : 1935 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE STATUTE MI LESj I I STATUTE MILES so |0______________________ 40 29 28 LONGITUDE 27 WEST OF 26 GREENWICH 25 Drawn by Newman Bumstead GEOGRAPHY CAST THE AZORES FOR A THRILLING ROLE IN WORLD AFFAIRS The nine little Portuguese islands, linking the hemispheres, serve as a natural halfway station for transatlantic flyers and one, Fayal, is a clearing house for cablegrams. Self-sufficient and indus trious, each small dot of land has a charm and individuality all its own, from remote Corvo and Flores to Santa Maria, where Columbus stopped in 1493 with the news of his discovery. There is a fruit and passenger line of small ships, with semimonthly service be tween Ponta Delgada, London, and Ham burg. Italian, French, and Greek trans atlantic liners stop at the Azorian capital. Ponta Delgada and Horta, with their ade quate artificial breakwaters, are havens for ships in need of fuel, provisions, or repairs. Cruising ships crossing the North Atlantic now and then include the Azores on their itinerary. To the quarter of a million Azorians their temperate, agriculturally productive archi pelago is a complete little world in itself. For their food supply these islanders are practically independent of lands beyond. They produce their own cereals, vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, butter, cheese, and eggs. They make sugar from the beet, spirits from the sweet potato, press their own grapes into wine, "roll their own" tobacco, "curl their own" tea. Their seas abound in fish. Their buildings are constructed from the volcanic basalt of the islands. Furniture is made from native woods. They manu facture linen from home-grown flax and woolen garments from sheep's wool. Lux uries are imported, chiefly from the Portu guese mainland; but, should every ship sailing these seas fail to call at the "West ern Islands," the Azorians could survive. THE FESTIVAL OF SANT' CRIST' On our second visit to the archipelago we reached Ponta Delgada in early May, in time for the chief religious festival of the year, in honor of Santo Cristo dos Milagres (Our Lord of the Miracles), the devoutly worshiped image called locally "Sant' Crist'." This image, revered for nearly 400 years, is remarkable for the number of pre cious stones with which it is adorned. When a native of Sao Miguel prospers in the New World, a portion of his first sav ings is usually sent to his beloved Sant' Crist'.