Brava

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THE FLOWER

brava

@unknow

THE FLOWER

brava

@unknow

History

Brava, known to locals as Djabraba, was discovered at the same time as its neighbor, Fogo, and is the smallest and one of the most mountainous of Cabo Verde’s inhabited islands. The island was initially called São João, but later, due to its humidity and abundance of flowers, had its name changed to Ilha Brava, meaning “Wild Island.”

It is considered the garden of Cabo Verde. Settled only in 1620, mostly by people fleeing from the neighboring island of Fogo because of the latter’s frequent eruptions. Since its settlement, Brava has had an extraordinary history. It was chosen as a stopover point by American whaling ships in search of supplies for its vessels and as a haven against poor weather. Brava’s sailors, famed for their experience and bravery, took advantage of the opportunity presented by the ships to work at sea and emigrate, thus forming the Cabo Verdean community in the United States in the state of Massachusetts. Today, a sizeable Cabo Verdean community resides in New England and does a great deal to help those who have stayed behind on the island.

This meeting of cultures remains very much visible on the island, both in the customs of its inhabitants and in the architecture of houses itself. The island has just one municipality, the seat of which is the city of Nova Sintra, whose name, “New Sintra,” was chosen due to its alleged resemblance to the Portuguese city of Sintra. The city features a lovely central square with a beautiful and well-cared-for garden, with many flowers and trees.

The square is named after Eugénio Tavares, one of the island’s native sons, who was a journalist, writer and poet. He devoted himself to the traditional musical genre morna, penning lyrics in both Portuguese and Cabo Verdean Crioulo.

Geography

With a total surface area of just 67 square kilometers, Brava is the smallest of Cabo Verde’s inhabited islands. It is located 30 minutes away from neighboring Fogo by boat. Its largest settlement is Nova Sintra, and the island has some 7,000 inhabitants and a population density of 101.49 people per square kilometer.

Cuisine

The local culinary specialty is “Molho de Capado,” a stew made of the meat of castrated sheep, sweet potato, potato, breadfruit and unripe banana.

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