The name Calheta originated from the narrow inlet that serves as its harbour. Actually, that is what Calheta means: narrow inlet.The name was given by the discoverers that first arrived there.
Calheta was one of the first places being explored by the first colonizers, and thus, the first location in Madeira Island being subjected to farming.
The establishment of the civil parish dates back to 1430.
Amongst the settlers, Calheta welcomed noblemen and knights, amongst whom João Gonçalves Zarco, who chose this location to donate stretches of land to his son João Gonçalves da Câmara and to his daughter D. Beatriz.
Besides, there were also other settlers which are worth of mentioning, namely Pedro Berenguer de Lemilhana, Luiz de Atouguia, João Rodrigues Mondragão and Francisco Homem Gouveia.
The town of Calheta is known by being squeezed by high mountains, while at the same time embracing the sea.
calheta is the largest on Madeira Island, and thus, includes the civil parishes of Prazeres, Calheta, Arco da Calheta, Estreito da Calheta, Fajã da Ovelha, Jardim do Mar, Paúl do Mar and Ponta do Pargo.
Its main economic activities are agriculture, trade and industry.