The oldest city in Cape Verde

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Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha) is the birthplace of "Cape Verdean Nation", the first city built by the Europeans in sub-Saharan Africa.

In 1462 arrived the first group of occupants to Ribeira Grande, coming from Portugal.

Initially, the first slaves came from Guinea just for settlement, soon thereafter for sale. Consequently, began the slave traffic to the Canaries, Europe and the Antilles. Mainly between 1468 and 1497, Ribeira Grande became a mandatory crossing point for the ships that crossed the Atlantic, accumulating "great richness" with the slave trade.

During that period, Ribeira Grande suffered frequent attacks and robbery by pirates, including the famous and dangerous Francis Drake, who started the first attack in 1578 and repeated his feat in 1580, even more devastatingly.

The Fortress of S. Filipe in Ribeira Grande is one of the greatest monuments that represents the past events.

 

The fort was built in 1593 to defend the city due to Drake's attack in 1585. The frequent attacks and robbery reduced the importance of Ribeira Grande as a port for exportation of slaves (Between 1643 and 1645 it definitively loses its importance).

On February 6, 1652, a royal decree established that the governor and the bishop should alternately reside in the city of Praia. The city of Ribeira Grande thus loses its status as seat of the government and episcopate.

This situation lasted until May 4, 1712. On this date, Ribeira Grande was attacked and robbed by french pirates commanded by Jacques Cassard.

Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosario 02

 

Ribeira Grande suffered the final blow in 1724. The city was practically abandoned and most of the houses were in ruins and unable to defend itself.

The frequent attacks that took place over the centuries allowed black slaves to flee to inaccessible places in the rural area of the island, where they built small communities of “free blacks”. Praia de Santa Maria was elected the capital city of Cape Verde in 1858.

Ribeira Grande is today a city that preserves memory, ruins and signs of historical past.

The city is "sadly leaning on the eternal blue sea, sleeping under the weight of the years and forgotten by men".

src Cidade Velha

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