Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande Cape Verde

Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande is a town of Ribeira Grande, renamed Cidade Velha in the late 18th century, and was the first European colonial outpost in the tropics. Located in the south of the island of Santiago, the town features some of the original street layout impressive remains including two churches, a royal fortress and Pillory Square with its ornate 16th century marble pillar. Cidade Velha, historic centre of Ribeira Grande demonstrates Outstanding Universal Value: Ribeira Grande was the first European colonial town to be built in the tropics, and marks a decisive step in European expansion at the end of the 15th century towards Africa and the Atlantic area.

Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande Cape Verde
Continent: Africa
Country: Cape Verde
Category: Cultural
Criterion: (II)(III) (VI)
Date of Inscription: 2009

Exceptional centre international maritime trade

Ribeira Grande was subsequently, in the 16th and 17th centuries, a key port of call for Portuguese colonisation and its administration. It was an exceptional centre in the routes for international maritime trade, included in the routes between Africa and the Cape, Brazil and the Caribbean. It provides an early image of transcontinental geopolitical visions. Its insular position, isolated but close to the coasts of Africa, made it an essential platform for the Atlantic trade of enslaved persons of modern times.

Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande Cape Verde
View From Port

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Colonial agriculture

A place of concentration of enslaved persons and the inhuman practices of the trade of enslaved persons, Ribeira Grande was also exceptional in terms of the intercultural encounters from which stemmed the first developed Creole society. The valley of Ribeira Grande experimented with new forms of colonial agriculture on the boundary between the temperate and tropical climates. It became a platform for the acclimatisation and dissemination of plant species across the world.

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