Santa Maria Island Information
The island of Santa Maria is located in the extreme southeast of the Azores archipelago, which is part of the Eastern Group. It has an area of 97.4 km² and a resident population (gentílico: Marienses) of 5 578 inhabitants (2001), distributed by the five villages that compose the municipality of Vila do Porto, the only one of the island.
It was the first Azorean island to be sighted, around 1427, by the Portuguese navigator Diogo de Silves. Later, in February of 1493, Christopher Columbus climbed the island on the return of his first trip to America.
Nowadays, the main pillar of support of the economy of the island is the aeronautical activity, with the Santa Maria Airport and the Air Control Center of the Atlantic, which manages the FIR Oceanic of Santa Maria, one of the largest and most important regions of flight information in the world.