Flores is divided into two municipalities (concelho), Santa Cruz das Flores in the north, with 1820 inhabitants, and Lajes das Flores in the south. The economy of the island is mainly agricultural, with yams and grain. Due to the early settlers being from northern Portugal, the island's houses and streets resemble those found there. Portugal has a military agreement with France permitting France to have a base in the region. The island also has an airport.
Flores belongs to the western group of islands in the Azores archipelago, and is said to be one of the most beautiful of the Azorean islands. During the summer, the island is covered with thousands of hydrangeas, which have large blue or pink flowers; this is the origin of the island's name (Flores is the Portuguese word for flowers).
The Island has deep valleys and high peaks. Morro Alto is the highest peak of the island, reaching an altitude of 914 meters; Sete Pés, Burrinha and Marcel are other peaks on the island. It has several inactive volcanoes; Caldeira Funda das Lajes last erupted in 1200 BC, and Caldeira Comprida in 950 BC. Some of these volcanoes have calderas (or caldeiras in Portuguese) in which water has collected to form lakes. There are seven of these lakes on the island. The caldera Lagoa Funda is considered the most beautiful. The Águas Quentes are small hot springs of boiling sulphurous water.
The Gruta de Enxaréus is an enormous cavern, about 50 meters long and 25 meters wide.
The microclimate of the forest park of Fazenda de Santa Cruz allows the development of a great number and variety of exotic species from all over the world.
In the municipality of Lajes das Flores, by the sea, is Fajãzinha, a typical Azorean village that includes ruins of water mills. There one can also find the waterfalls of Ribeira Grande, of which there are at least 20. They drop from a height of three hundred meters, some directly into the Atlantic Ocean.
From the 1760s to the early 20th century, American whalers hunted sperm whales in the waters of the Azores, and many of the islands' inhabitants were recruited as whalers. One of the most beautiful American whaleships, named the Wanderer, operated off the coast of Flores between 1878 and 1924.
In July 1962, the French built a missile tracking installations 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.
Genetic Structure of Flores Island (Azores, Portugal) in the 19th Century and in the Present Day: Evidence from Surname Analysis
Jun 01, 2005; Abstract The island of Flores is the most westerly of the Azores archipelago (Portugal). Despite its marked geographic isolation...