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Santo Antão

Santo Antão, Cape Verde


The name Santo Antão was given by the Portuguese navigator Diogo Afonso who
discovered the island on January 17, 1462, in line with the saint of discovery day, as happened with other islands of the group (São Vicente, São Nicolau and Santa Luzia). ), and according to the habit already used in the Azores. The Treaty of Tordesillas, signed on June 7, 1494, between Portugal and the Kingdom of Castile, and which determined the division of the areas of influence of the Iberian countries, established that Portugal had “uncovered and undiscovered” lands before imaginary line that demarcated 370 leagues (1770 km) to the west of the island of Santo Antão, and to the other Iberian kingdom the lands that were beyond that line. Colonization began only in 1548. In the 17th century, populations of the islands of Santiago and Fogo with settlers from northern Portugal founded Povoação, the present-day village of Ribeira Grande in the northern part of the island.


The Island of Santo Antao is from volcanic origins and with an area of 779 km2 being the most mountainousisland of the Cape Verde archipelago. The most elevate point on the island is called Top de Coroa with 1979 meters of altitude and integrate the central line from east to west of the island always with altitudes superiors of 1000 metres. As the whole archipelago the island is under influences of Sahara and of a regime of alisios wind that forms places with micro-climate in the mountains e change the climate from accentuated aridity until a strong amenity climate with temperatures of 10 degrees in the mountains in the colder mouths (January and February). The weak potentials of natural resources, especially in south sub-region is explained with the lack of water and the poor lands.


The culture heritage of the Island Santo Antao comes from the believes and values acquired by acculturation and deeply diffusion of races from Europe, Africa and Asia, and translated in the morabeza of the people of the island. Pure cultural manifestation such thrums in the romary feasts (cola of Santo Antonio, Sao Joao Baptista, Sao Pedro Apostolo that take places during June) are marks resisted over the time and inserted in the daily life, the folklore and the manner of being in life. The music (morna and coladeira) and the dances (mazurka an contradanca) are essential elements of the artistic patrimony of Santo Antao Island.

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