Sites & cities that bear the name of Cidade Velha

Cidade Velha

Today in : Cabo Verde
First trace of activity : 1462 C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Ribeira Grande, Santiago de Cabo Verde

Description : Cidade Velha (Portuguese for "old city", also: Santiago de Cabo Verde) is a city in the southern part of the island of Santiago, Cape Verde. Founded in 1462,:77 it is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde and its former capital. Once called Ribeira Grande, its name was changed to Cidade Velha in the late 18th century. It is the seat of the Ribeira Grande de Santiago municipality. Located off Africa's northwest coast, this town was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics. Some of the meticulously planned original design of the site is still intact, including a royal fortress, two churches and a 16th-century town square. Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and center for Creole culture. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World in 2009. The island of Santiago was discovered by António da Noli, a Genoese in Portuguese service, in 1460.:73 Da Noli settled at Ribeira Grande with his family members and Portuguese from Algarve and Alentejo in 1462.:77 The settling conditions were good due to the abundance of water from the river Ribeira Grande, which gave it an advantage over the other settlement on Santiago, Alcatrazes.:80 The settlement became a key port of call for Portuguese colonisation towards Africa and South America. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was a centre of maritime trade between Africa, the Cape, Brazil and the Caribbean. Due to its proximity to the African coast, it was an essential platform for the trade of enslaved persons. Cidade Velha's port was a stopping place for two great navigators: Vasco da Gama, in 1497, on his way to India, and Christopher Columbus, in 1498, while on his third voyage to the Americas. In 1522, it was the stopping place for the later explorer Ferdinand Magellan who served under Spain on his way to circumnavigate the world. Cidade Velha has the oldest colonial church in the world - Nossa Senhora do Rosário church, which was constructed in 1495. In 1533, Cidade Velha became the seat of the new Roman Catholic Diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde, created by papal bull of Pope Clement VII. Currently, the seat is in Praia. The riches of Ribeira Grande and conflicts between Portugal and rival colonial powers France and Britain attracted pirate attacks, including those by Francis Drake (1585) and Jacques Cassard (1712).:195 Despite the construction of Forte Real de São Filipe in 1587–93, Ribeira Grande remained vulnerable and went into decline. The capital was moved to Praia in 1770. Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha) was reduced to the rank of a village and its civil, religious and military buildings went in decay. Since the 1960s, restoration works have begun.:70 In 2009, it became a UNESCO's World Heritage site.

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