Porto Santo was the first Portuguese discovery in the 15th century. This island marked the beginning of the great age of the discoveries launched by Prince Henry the Navigator. Years later, Christopher Columbus stayed on the island for a while and prepared his voyage of discovery to America.
Porto Santo was discovered in1418 by the Portuguese mariners João Gonçalves Zarco, Tristão Vaz Teixeira and Bartolomeu Perestrelo, who was later appointed the first Capitão Donatário of the island.
Some years later, Christopher Columbus stayed on the island for a while and married one of Perestrelo’s daughters.
In 1446, Prince Henry the Navigator donated Porto Santo to Perestrelo. It was promoted to municipality in 1835.
In August 1996, its capital, Vila Baleira, was made a city.