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The Historic Center Of Praia (plateau)

Santiago Island, Cape Verde

The Historic Center of Praia (Plateau) corresponds to a primitive population nucleus, with 28 hectares of surface, located in the naturally fortified plateau of Santa Maria da Vitória, overlooking the Porto of the same name, through which the city emerged.

It was immediately configured as a strategic military site, allowing the control of maritime and commercial activities throughout the area. The site currently houses a significant set of Cape Verdean colonial past, consisting of numerous administrative, military and religious infrastructures, significantly preserved and confined in this small space.

With the decline of the Captaincy of Alcatraz, to which it belonged, Praia de Santa Maria, as it was then called, developed in the second decade of the 16th century, becoming the headquarters of the Captaincy of the North. It also rose to the category of village.

Later, it also benefited from the decline of the city of Ribeira Grande, to transform, over time, due to its privileged location, its wide port, its wholesomeness, and to gather better conditions of defense against the attacks of the pirates and privateers, in the main population of the Cape Verde Province.

However, even in the mid-16th century, the village was insignificant, with straw houses and huts predominating around the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça. Gradually, Praia da Santa Maria absorbed all the technocracy initially set up in the then faltering Ribeira Grande. In effect, on August 14, 1612, Philip II, ordered by permit that the governor or bishop should alternately reside in the town of Praia, precluding the permanent transfer of the administrative and ecclesiastical headquarters to this town. However, the confirmation of Praia as the true capital of the Cape Verde Province, would only come true in 1770.

Despite the change in the capital, Praia remained devoid of infrastructures consistent with the condition it displayed. In this way, the central and local governments made efforts to plan the urban development of the village, with streets, squares and squares, construction of relevant infrastructures such as the pier, customs, military barracks, hospital, Paços do Concelho, among others. others. And with regard to hygiene, drying of the main marshes that flanked the village, taking into account the serious damage they caused in terms of public health.

On April 28, 1855, Governor Arrobas definitively fixed the capital of the Province, in the village of Praia, thus putting an end to the “eternal discussion” around the move of the capital to other places, due to the unhealthiness that the village presented at the time the rains.

In 1858, the town of Praia became a city, and later in 1975, with the country's independence, it became Cape Verde's capital. In May 2013, it was raised to the category of National Heritage, by Resolution No. 67/2013 of 17 May.

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