Macaronesia is a collection of four archipelagos in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the continents of Europe and Africa. Each archipelago is made up of a number of Atlantic oceanic islands formed by seamounts on the ocean floor with peaks above the ocean's surface. The Macaronesian islands belong to three countries: Portugal, Spain, and Cape Verde. Politically, the islands belonging to Portugal and Spain are part of the European Union. Geologically, Macaronesia is part of the African Plate, including the Azores, which mark its edge at the meeting point with the Eurasian and American Plates.
The name is derived from the Greek words for "islands of the fortunate" (μακάρων νῆσοι, makárōn nêsoi), a term used by Ancient Greek geographers for islands to the west of the Straits of Gibraltar. Macaronesia is occasionally misspelled "Macronesia" in false analogy with Micronesia, an unrelated Pacific archipelago containing, among other nations, a country of the same name.