Located about 2 hours away by plane from mainland Portugal and 5 hours away from the East Coast of the United States, Sao Miguel is the biggest island or the Azores in size and in population. Indeed, more than half of the entire Azorean population lives on this island. It is about 62km long and 16km wide.
Along with its neighbour Santa Maria (only 80 km away), they form the Oriental Group, as they are the easternmost islands of the archipelago. The highest point of Sao Miguel island is Pico da Vara, which is about 1,105 m high. The shape of Sao Miguel looks strangely like a sperm whale if you get a bit creative, the emblem of our island.
From the beginning of the settlement, the fertile soil and safe bays made the island the perfect trading spot. First, it was wheat and woad that sustained the economy. Then, in the 18th century, the commercial trade was all about oranges, mostly exported to Great Britain. It was a great source of wealth until the oranges got sick in 1870. Many locals decided to leave the island in search of good conditions of living in the United States. Also in the 18th century began the traditional whaling times. Sperm whales were hunted and all the parts were sold mostly to the United States, England and Germany.