The island of Madeira is located in the north Atlantic Ocean. Although it is geographically part of Africa, some 650 km (360 mi) off its coast , it belongs politically and culturally to Europe, some 955 km (583 mi) from the mainland. The British Empire occupied Madeira as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, a friendly occupation which concluded in 1814 when the island was returned to Portugal.
In 1805, Madeira was the first port call after Temeraire's hatching. The HMS Reliant pulled into the capital, Funchal, and Captain Laurence was immediately called to Admiral Croft's flagship, the HMS Commendable.
During their stay, Temeraire and Laurence explored the island, climbing the central peaks, and discovering Temeraire's interest in shiny objects when he found a large rock of pyrite.
While trying to research Temeraire's breed, Laurence found out that Sir Edward Howe was on the northwest end of the island, at Porto Moniz. While visiting Howe, Temeraire was found to be swimming in the water off the beach, to Howe's surprise.