Flores Island is an island of the Western group (Grupo Ocidental) of the Azores. It has an area of 143 km², a population of approximately 3907 inhabitants, and, together with the island of Corvo Island of the western archipelago, lies within the North American Plate. It has been referred to as the Ilha Amarelo Torrado (English: Yellow/Auburn Island) by marketing and from the tradition of poet Raul Brandão, but it is best recognized for its abundance of flowers, hence its Portuguese name of Flores.
Some early accounts existed of the “(seven) islands of the Azores and two islands of Flores” (referring to the islands of Flores and Corvo), but no “official discovery” occurred until the mid-15th century. The island of Flores was discovered in the late summer of 1452 by the navigator Diogo de Teive and his son João de Teive, and first noted by the pilot Pêro Velasco to Christopher Columbus during his voyages.
The island’s isolation has been dealt with during the 20th century, first with the installation of telegraph services, then the establishment of Radio-Flores (1909), and later with point-to-point telephone communication (1925). Service between the island and the rest of the archipelago was handled by small sailing ships until the beginning of the century, with ships such as the 36 ton yacht Santa Cruz or 80 ton yacht Flores, until the latter was lost in the bay of Port Pim, Horta, Faial during a storm.
In July 1962, the French built a missile tracking installation on the island (inaugurated in October 1966). In the following years, a hospital, a power station and an airport were established, which brought a financial upswing to the entire island. After the French left the island in 1994, tourism became the island’s dominant industry.