Azores, Or Western Islands, a group of islands belonging to Portugal in the N. Atlantic, between lat. 36° 55' and 39° 44' N, and lon. 25° 10' and 31° 16' W., about 800 m. from the coast of Portugal; area, over 1,100 sq. m.; pop. about 250,000. They comprise three minor groups, the N. W. consisting of Flores and Corvo, the central of Terceira, San Jorge, Pico, Fayal, and Graciosa, and the S. E. of San Miguel and Santa Maria; and they extend from S. E. to N. W. about 400 m. The largest, San Miguel, is 50 m. long, and from 5 to 12 m. broad. They are all of volcanic origin, and have suffered severely from eruptions and earthquakes. A volcano rose suddenly to the height of 3,500 ft. in San Jorge in 1808, and burned for six days, desolating the entire island. In 1811 a volcano rose from the sea near San Miguel, and after vomiting ashes and stones disappeared. The peak of Pico, on the island of the same name, is 7,613 ft. high. All the islands are rugged and picturesque, with steep shores. The climate is moist but agreeable, and vegetation is luxuriant, fruits abounding, as well as the sugar cane, coffee, and tobacco. The principal exports are wine, brandy, oranges, lemons, beef, pork, and coarse linens, and their value is about $1,200,-000 annually.
The imports, valued at $1,700-000, comprise woollen and cotton goods, iron, glass, pitch, timber, rum, sugar, tea, coffee, fish, etc. The tonnage entered in 1867 was 119,271; cleared, 117,690. There are no good harbors, the least exposed being Angra, on the island of Terceira. - The Azores were laid down on the maps of the 14th century, but little was known of them till 1432, when they were occupied by the Portuguese, being then uninhabited, and were named Acores from the great number of hawks (Port, agor, hawk) observed on them.