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A brief history of Praia

August 30, 2020 • 1 min read

Learn about Praia's history

Brief History

Praia is Cabo Verde's capital and largest city. Since it's founding, it has become the center of political and economic development in the country. But, how did it get here?

In 1460, Santiago island was discovered by Antonio da Noli, making the first settlement on the island, Cidade Velha. As time went on, the harbor on the southern coast of Santiago became significant to the development of what would become Praia. This is because ships going from Portugal to Portuguese colonies in Africa and South America would pass through this area.

The question then becomes, why did Cidade Velha not outgrow Praia to become the capital? The reason is due to Praia's location on a plateau. This provided it protection against numerous and growing pirate attacks between the end of 16th and 18th century. As Praia grew, it became the capital of Cabo Verde in 1770. As the population grew, in 1858, Praia was officially named a city, or cidade as pronounced in Cabo Verde.

When Praia was officially named a city, Cabo Verde was still under Portuguese control. It was not until 1975, that Cabo Verde achieved indepence. The indepence of Cabo Verde played a major role in the demographic development of Praia, as citizens from all of the Cabo Verde islands started to move to Praia. As a result, this has caused the population to grow from around 20,000 in the 1920s to over 150,000 in 2015.


Cabo Verde, Statistical Yearbook 2015
Wikipedia, Praia
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