Between the south and the west end of the island of Madeira, is the town of Calheta, this is the most extensive of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. It is believed that his name came small bay that saw Zarco when aimed go ashore. This consists of eight parishes:Arco da Calheta, Calheta, Estreito da Calheta, Fajã da Ovelha, Jardim do Mar, Paúl do Mar, Ponta do Pargo and Prazeres.
Calheta was the area chosen by João Gonçalves Zarco to donate these lands to his son João Gonçalves da Câmara and Beatriz Gonçalves. The Calheta town became town only 72 years after its foundation, July 1, 1502, when King Manuel I granted him the charter.
The name of Arco da Calheta parish comes from the semicircular shape of its landscape and its proximity to the parish of Calheta. This was one of the first places to be colonized and exploited in agriculture, one of the richest parishes in terms of heritage and art.
The Estreito da Calheta has a very characteristic appearance, similar to a canyon or deep valley and is as close to Calheta, the first settlers gave him that name. This highlights the agriculture especially the vine and sugarcane, as the most important economic activities.
The name of the parish of Prazeres came from the hermitage dedicated to Our Lady of Joy, which was installed here, before the creation of the parish. This parish also is distinguished by being a true viewpoint.
Pray the tale that the Fajã da Ovelha name stemmed from a pastor had lost a sheep in fajã. This parish remains agriculture, with the greatest economic value, but also develops baking activities, construction, dairy, general trade, services and the creation of cattle.
The village of Ponta do Pargo has an economy based on fishing, agricultural activities and livestock. Your name stemmed from an episode where adventurers were to unravel the coast in the boat Severus Afonso and fished a fish of large dimensions that would look like a snapper. However, your coastal zone was very dangerous for navigation and so was built a lighthouse on top of the rock, the Ponta da Vigia in 1922.
Rising up in fajã, the parish of Jardim do Mar, which once was covered with wild flowers, which gave its name. Currently, this is quite popular for surfers who claim to be the best waves in Europe, being a reference in surf competitions worldwide.
The name of the Paul do Mar parish stemmed its terrain to be like a valley by the sea. which is the sea, one of the essential elements for the village as it provides plenty of fish. So the canned tuna industry has developed and started to export. This important fishing center is much appreciated by both islanders and foreign. The Paul do Mar is also much sought after by surfers who defy the waves, being considered one of the best of Europe.