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Cidade Velha

Cidade Velha, Cape Verde
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Cidade Velha Cidade Velha  Cape Verde

Cidade Velha

The roots of Cape Verde and European colonization along the Atlantic Passage can be traced to Cidade Velha—a vital nexus between Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean, and Europe. Originally named Ribeira Grande, the city was established in 1462, making it the oldest European settlement in the tropics. It was later renamed to avoid confusion with another town of the same name, and today the “old city,” which lies just a few miles outside of modern Praia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The many ruins include a 16th-century cathedral, while the restored Real de São Filipe hilltop fort was once sacked by Francis Drake. (Other famous navigators to have called here include Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama.) In one of the settlement’s squares, the marble Pelourinho Column—a pillory—honors the victims of the slave trade.