The Regional Archive collection dates back to the 15th century and to the archipelago early settlers. It includes information of great importance in the Portuguese Atlantic history and culture. In terms of space, the deposits are occupied with 12.000 meters of book-shelves containing documents from/on private files, important families, personalities, as well as public and private documentation from the archives in Madeira Archipelago. Here we highlight some of them according to their provenience:

  • Funchal’s Custom House, town halls administrations and its councils, containing important data on the archipelago’s lifestyle, culture and political administration, since 15th century. Funchal Town Hall’s collection includes the earliest proceeding records in the history of Madeira.
  • The Courts of Justice, Labour and Commerce.
  • Extinguished archives from the former regimen: governors and captain generals, royal treasury offices (governmental and religious), charity institutions, Chapel’s Ombudsman and countryside courts.
  • Political and diplomatic archives reporting relations between Funchal Town Hall and the monarchic or republican Portuguese administrations: Civil government, Madeira Tourism Delegation, Autonomous District of Funchal’s Office which, has been enriched, since 2005, with the incorporation of Funchal Forests Bureau, Regional Direction of Public Works, Regional Direction for Industrial, Electric and Traffic Affairs, Agrarian Station, Cattle Administration.
  • Madeiran finance bureaus: inheritances series and donation processes and also real-state property registries.
  • Autonomous regional administration services already extinguished: economy and external cooperation, transports and commerce, planning and other public services.
  • Educational archives on public education which document historic practices of pedagogical action and school administration in Madeiran schools: Liceu Jaime Moniz, Escola Industrial e Comercial do Funchal, Escola do Magistério Primário do Funchal and further educational municipal delegations.
  • Parishes and civil registry offices: include, among others, the books with baptisms/births, marriages and obits.
  • Notarial records: the most antique are João and Manuel de Tavira de Cartas (Funchal – 15th Century), Sebastião Álvares and Luís Álvares Riscado (Ribeira Brava – 16th Century).
  • Confraternities and sisterhoods with specific responsibilities such as promoting the religious cult and charity.
  • Family archives and collections which enable the study of institutions such as entailed interests or colonial regimens. It is also possible to understand celebrities: the Archbishop D. Aires de Ornelas e Vasconcelos, the genealogist Henrique Henriques de Noronha, the politician Visconde do Porto da Cruz, or even, local researchers/investigators like Fernando Augusto da Silva and Eduardo Nunes Pereira, among other important names.
  • Photograph archives – the Regional Archives holds a unique collection of photographs taken in the archipelago during the 19th and 20th centuries, illustrating the urbanistic and rural state-properties, local artistic heritage and the social daily life and routines. The inventory is still in progress and the numbers are not available yet.  Most recently and noteworthy is the incorporation of the Museu-Photographia Vicentes collection, which includes photos from several generations of the Vicentes family, and also including the vast Madeiran photograph heritage since the 2nd half of the 19th century to the 80s of the 20th century. This valuable, and yet in many cases unknown heritage includes around 226,615 photographs species with the most diversified photo processes and themes, representing many professional and amateur photographers as well as the best photo studios of the period.