happened in 1456 when a small
portuguese vessel, on its way to the Gambia,
was drifted off the west-african coast
and discovered the then uninhabited islands.
The venecian captain Aloisio de Cadamosto communicated
his discovery to Prince Henry, but he sent
out António de Noli to
develop it as a the first european colony
south of the Sahara.
Island, by that time, was
known to be the biggest island with abundant
vegetation and rivers running to the
coast all year. Mr. de Noli made
it his home and successfully developed
sugar cane plantations and farms to provide
the growing number of slave-traders crossing
British, by that time, were
far from being a united nation and deeply
involved in their War of Roses.
They arrived somewhat later to write
a little history in the capital of Ribeira
Grande, today Cidade Velha,
when Sir Francis Drake sent
out his soldiers to kill the men, rape
the women and take even the church-bells
on board before they left.
the island harbours the lifely capital
of Praia with more than 100 000 inhabitants,
government, ministries and local industries.
It undergoes a rapid change from a remote
underdeveloped country into a modern multi-party
parliamentary democracy and shooting star
among the tourist resorts.
British and likewise most other
European Nations, found their way back
as investors and tourist - and as mix
of both, when buying a flat or cottage
under the sub-tropical sun that shines
for them 300 days a year.
Culture was first born on Santiago
island and later exported to the Caribbean,
Brazil, and along the coastline of Africa
deep into the Indian Ocean to the Sechelles
Its colourful and energetic music and dances, its religious beliefs, rooted
as much in pre-christian traditions from the iberic peninsula and Africa and
mideaval Catoliscism, have successfully fought all attemps of control by the
colonial masters. It seemed so simple, but it always was stronger. Family traditions
were molded by harsh conditions. Mostly poor white settlers lived with African
slave women, having children, running a farm or a business and conflicting
with a legislation that did not allow them to give their wife and children
free. But they managed - they day they died - by testamentary manumission.
Music has spread all over the
world and continues to be apreciated
for its cultural strength, energetic
rithm and frequently very wise and philosophical
this place is so rich and there are many
places to visit. To date, most of them
are not prepared for tourists and it is
up to the visitor to read up, slowly to
discover and to understand the influences
of three continents on the fate of the
And we have to come back to the British
once more. Boa Vista, until 1845, was the
most important island - because of British
salt trade. Seamlessly followed
the boom of São Vicente (1850+) as one of the biggest coal trading places
on earth. The coal arrived from Cardiff and went into the bellies of british
steamers crossing the Atlantic to reach Far East, Near East, Africa and Latin
America. British firms pulled nine transatlantic cables from London to Sao
Vicente and further to Brazil and Africa, connecting three continents by telegraphy.
There is all reason for historical and cultural tourism in
Santiago and it is a historical must and duty for european nations, to help
to preserve and expose the monuments and a joint history in museums. Liverpool
owns a museum on slavery, Sansibar has one and Bagamoio is on its way. In Cidade
Velha, where hundred thousands have suffered and perished, where the "crime
of a millenium" of trans-atlantic slave trade started, there is none.
sun and the beaches attract
modern people to the island. For time
being relaxing and swimming are preffered.
But snorkeling, SCUBA diving and surf-sports
are at the verge.
The best know tourist beaches are Tarrafal
and São Francisco and many
others will be developed in the near future.
mountain ranges and green valleys are
enourmous. We selected 33 of
the best hiking trails for the
first edition of our hiking
and tourist map.
hope to find the time to finish a hiking
guide on the Sotavento Islands soon. It
will be published first in German but we
hope to translate it into English. Co-operation
with English authors and editors is welcome! Contact us!