The famous Madeira wine vines have thrived on the island since the 16th century. In the beginning, the vine stocks were tended by monks and nuns: Franciscans, Carmelites and Jesuits. Gradually, the Madeira wine developed its fame and production increased. Up to 15 million litres were exported in the 18th century. During the 19th century, the Madeiran vineyards were ravaged by phylloxera, together with the rest of the European continent, so Californian seedlings were subsequently used to replant the islands' vines.