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Trip PlannerEurope  /  Portugal  /  Azores  /  Graciosa  /  Santa Cruz Da Graciosa

Santa Cruz Da Graciosa

Caves · Piers & Boardwalks
Santa Cruz da Graciosa is a Portuguese municipality on the island of Graciosa, in the archipelago of the Azores. The population in 2011 was 4,391, in an area of 60.66 km². It includes four local parishes and one municipal government structure, which administers the entire island.HistoryWhile the date of its first discovery is uncertain, it is known that its first settlers arrived from the island of Terceira around 1450. One of the first settlers was Vasco Gil Sodre.The early settlement was primarily agrarian, but by 1486 its population had grown sufficiently to warrant the founding of the vila (or town) of Santa Cruz in 1486, while Praia lost this role.Between the 16th-17th century, Graciosa was regularly attacked by pirates and privateers, which obliged the local government to construct fortifications along the island's coast for defense.Over the centuries Santa Cruz was visited by important travellers. The Jesuit António Vieira, who stopped in the village after a shipwreck while returning to Lisbon from Brazil. Later the French writer Chateaubrian, in 1791, whilst fleeing the horrors of the French Revolution stopped in Graciosa en route to America. In 1814, a young Almeida Garret wrote some of his first verses, already a revelation of his budding talents. Finally, in 1879, Prince Albert of Monaco, notable for his oceanographic and maritime studies, stopped in Graciosa and visited Furna do Enxofre. He was one of the first to descend the volcanic chamber using a rope ladder.The construction of the port in Praia, and the northern aerodrome, were important in breaking the island's isolation and concentration on agriculture.
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