The Municipality of Porto Moniz, located in the northern part of the island of Madeira, measures 8040 hectares and has a population of about 2927 (2001 Census) inhabitants residing in four parishes: Porto Moniz, Achadas da Cruz, Ribeira da Janela and Seixal.
Issued by royal charter on 12th March 1574, Porto Moniz is one of the oldest parishes on the north coast.
Like other northern parishes, Porto Moniz was initially part of the Municipality of Machico. With the ascension of São Vicente to a municipality in 1744, Porto Moniz joined the newly formed administrative jurisdiction.
In 1835, during the reign of D. Maria II - the teacher, the parish of Porto Moniz was elevated to a municipality, celebrating its establishment on 31 October of the same year.
Porto Moniz consisted initially of five parishes, however, following the annexation of Ponta do Pargo with Calheta in 1871, the municipality of Porto Moniz was reduced to four.
Captain Tomás João Perestrelo da Câmara acted as the first administrator while Captain Teodoro Moniz de Bettencourt served as the first president of the administrative committee of the City Council.
Porto Moniz's status as a municipality has varied over time. According to past records, the municipality was abolished then reinstated on three separate occasions. The first abolishment occurred in 1849 followed by its reinstatement in 1855. The second occurrence happened in 1867, along with Câmara de Lobos and Santana. Porto Moniz was then reinstated as a municipality in 1871. The last abolishment took place in 1895 being reinstated definitively on 13th February 1898.
Just like the events aforementioned, Porto Moniz's name also varied throughout its history. Around the time of discovery Porto Moniz was known as Ponta do Tristão. The settlement bordering the stream was known as "Janela da Clara" and the higher regions between Lamaceiros and Achadas da Cruz were known as Ponta do Tristão.
The current name is homage to one of the initial settlers. Francisco Moniz was an Algarvian nobleman, who married D. Filipa da Câmara, granddaughter of João Gonçalves Zarco. Moniz, who settled near the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, was a great driving force for the settlement of the area, inheriting land from his father João Lourenço.
The initial settlers worked raising livestock, planting grains, and extracting timber. During the 18th century, this changed to viticulture. In the 19th century, potatoes became the main produce.
Today, the municipality of Porto Moniz has a much more diversified economy. In addition to the primary sector, a strong development in the touristic sector, particularly in catering and hospitality.
The development in Porto Moniz is visible at various levels. Great effort has been made in the area of accessibility, and other important infrastructures such as education, culture, health, defence, protection of the environment, and sanitation which gives residents a better quality of life and visitors a sense of well-being.
In short, today Porto Moniz is a paradise blessed by mother nature, where the sea and land merge into a unique and truly breath-taking scenery.