Exploring Tourism in Cape Verde
Cape Verde
icon Worldwideicon
Places to Visit Details


Santiago Island, Cape Verde

Pelourinho, popularly also known as Picota, is a stone column placed in a public place in a city or town where criminals were punished and exposed. The big donataries, the bishops, the cabidos and the monasteries were also entitled to pillory, as proof and instrument of feudal jurisdiction. However, the black population was the most susceptible to torture by this instrument, precisely for the purpose of maintaining the slave regime.

Pillories were, at least since the end of the 15th century, considered the standard or symbol of municipal freedom. For some historians, as is the case with Alexandre Herculano, the term pillory only started to appear in the 17th century, instead of the term picota, of popular origin. From that time on, it became only the municipality's landmark. Before that time, according to Herculano, the pillory was a derivation, from very old customs, of the erection in the cities of the ius italicum of the statues of Marsias or Sileno, symbols of municipal liberties. But other historians refer to Columna or Columna Moenia Romana, an upright post in a public square where the sentenced ones were exposed to the people's mockery.

It seems that before the 15th century there were some executions in the pillories. But from then on there is no evidence that this happened, at least in relation to the capital executions, which they did on the gallows after being exposed in the pillory for the knowledge of the people.

The Pelourinho of Cidade Velha was built on the threshold of the 16th century, between 1512 or 1520, as a symbol of municipal power and royal justice. Located in the center of the city, a place where the acts of the City Council were publicly read, infractions were repressed and privileged space for commercial exchanges, namely slaves and other products of the land.

Check out more Places to Visit