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Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 18th century
Date of Inscription: 2009
Location: Africa, Cape Verde, Santiago
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Description: The town of Ribeira Grande (which was renamed Cidade Velha in the late 18th century) was the first European colonial station in the tropics. The town, found in the south of the island of Santiago, until this day features some of the original street layout as well as numerous notable vestiges, such as two churches, a royal fortress and Pillory Square with its elaborate 16th century marble pillar. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Cidade Velha (Portuguese for "old city"), or simply Sidadi in Cape Verdean Creole, is a city located 15 km from Praia (Cape Verde's capital) on Santiago. It is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde and used to serve as the capital of Cape Verde. Once called Ribeira Grande, its name was changed to Cidade Velha so to avoid confusion with another Ribeira Grande on another island. It is the seat of the Ribeira Grande de Santiago municipality. After the island was discovered, the city was named Ribeira Grande (Portuguese for large river) by António da Noli, in 1462. In 1466, the settlement became an important port for trading slaves from Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to Brazil and the Caribbean. Transcontinental slavery made Cidade Velha the second richest city in the Portuguese realm. Cidade Velha's port was a stopping place for two great navigators: Vasco of Gamma, in 1497, on his way to India, and Christopher Columbus, in 1498, while on his third voyage to the Americas. Cidade Velha has the oldest colonial church in the world, constructed in 1495. The fort Real de São Filipe overlooks the town. It was constructed in 1590 to defend the Portuguese colony from the attacks of the Frenchmen and English. However, it was sacked by French pirates in 1712. The capital was moved to Praia in 1770. Ribeira Grande de Santiago (Portuguese for "Great River" which it flows nearby) is a municipality located in Cape Verde. The municipality was first founded in the 16th century. Later, the importance of the city declined and the municipality was transferred to Praia. The old city of Ribeira Grande de Santiago is one of the oldest cities founded by Europeans in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its port was served for caravels which transported slaves from Africa and for other parts of the world mainly Europe and the Americas. The town has numerous protected significant buildings and ruins since the discovery of the Cape Verde Archipelago since 1460. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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