Like most of the civil parishes on Madeira Island, Gaula is surrounded by legends. One of them evolves around a novel.
Accounts state that Gaula owes its name to the influence of cavalry Romans, namely from the Amadis de Gaula novel. Throughout its history, the parish has always been the home of noble families, such as Lançarote Teixeira de Gaula. However, amongst the settlers there were Portuguese people, representative of the different social classes of the time: clergy, nobility and commons.
The oldest documents regarding the civil parish of Gaula date back to the year 1509, the time when King D. Manuel granted the creation of the chaplaincy of Santa Maria da Luz. At present, the civil parish has two ecclesiastic parishes: Nossa Senhora da Luz and Achada de Gaula. However, the place only became a civil parish in 1558.
Today, Gaula has about 3 thousand inhabitants, in an area of 707 hectares (1,747 acres). The most important economic activities include handicraft, namely embroidery, wickerwork(made of wicker, belonging to the Salicáceas family, with long thin and flexible branches), heather brooms (plants of the Ericáceas family, spontaneous), carpentry, bread-making, dairy produce, traditional trade and agriculture.
Due to its privileged location, halfway between the sea and the mountain, the parish has grown a lot in the recent years as a residential area. One would say that this is a civil parish with a lot of potential, still open to be explored.
Gaula has a warm summer, with somewhat high temperatures and a mild winter.