The configuration of the hills in a semi-circle, reminding of an arch, ended up by motivating the first settlers to call Arco da Calheta (Calheta arch) to this civil parish in the Calheta municipality. Arco da Calheta civil parish was one of the first places in Madeira Island being colonised and having the first farms established after the island was discovered.
The settlement, manly from Portuguese, took place between 1425 and 1461.
Located by the sea, between Ledo and Luairão streams, Arco da Calheta is circumscribed between the civil parishes of Madalena do Mar, Canhas and Calheta.
Arco da Calheta, separated from Calheta in 1472, established its headquarters at the chapel of S. Brás. The mother church was rebuilt in 1744.
Arco da Calheta has currently around 4,000 inhabitants. Its economic activities include agriculture and cattle breeding, wood sawing, carpentry, blacksmith’s workshops, bread making, blocks manufacture, trade and services.
In terms of climate, the summer is very hot, but the winter is somewhat harsher.