Fayal - Encyclopedia

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FAYAL (Faial), a Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, forming part of the Azores archipelago. Pop. (190o) 22,262; area, 63 sq. m. Fayal, i.e. " the beech wood," was so called from the former abundance of the Myrica faya, which its discoverers mistook for beech trees. It is one of the most frequented of the Azores, for it lies directly in the track of vessels crossing the Atlantic, and has an excellent harbour at Horta, a town of 6574 inhabitants. Cedros (3278) and Feteira (2002) are the other chief towns. The so-called "Fayal wine," which was largely exported from the Azores in the 19th century, was really the produce of Pico, a larger island lying to the east. The women of Fayal manufacture fine lace from the agave thread. They also execute carvings in snow-white fig-tree pith, and carry on the finer kinds of basket-making. A small valley, called Flemengos, perpetuates the name of the Flemish settlers, who have left their mark on the physical appearance of the inhabitants. (See AZORES.)

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