The island of Fogo or the island of São Filipe, as it was known at the time of the discovery in 1460 by the Portuguese, was the second to be populated between 1470 and 1490. Its occupation was recommended by rich proprietors of Ribeira Grande of Santiago (Cidade Velha), with their slaves, following the letter of limitation of privileges of 1472, which obliged the inhabitants of Santiago to commercialize, on the African coast, only products originating from the island.
Despite this limitation, these inhabitants took the opportunity to extend their cotton productions to the island of Fogo, which was used for commercialization on the African coast, even knowing that they were breaking the law. It is in this context that São Filipe emerged as the first urban centre of the island, emerging in the space where the chapel of São Felipe was built, the place where today is the so-called “cemitério de baixo”.ler mais
As slave trade in Ribeira Grande (Cidade Velha), São Filipe played a crucial role, because the main product of exchange in the rescue of slaves on the African coast was cotton. The cloth produced on the island of Fogo was very appreciated in the slave trade, thus leading the Portuguese Crown, in 1687, to prohibit its commercialization to the competing maritime powers (France, Holland and England).
However, with the decline of Ribeira Grande, in the 18th century, São Filipe experienced a period of economic decline, leading large landowners to replace cotton production with other crops, including legumes, wine, coffee and purgueira. Therefore, São Filipe experienced an economic increase, with the export of corn and beans to Madeira and the Canary Islands, but also coffee and wine, the latter being highly appreciated in the Brazilian market.
In this way, the production and export of the island allowed the enrichment of the local elite, with significant repercussions in terms of the urban buildings of São Filipe, in the specific case of the townhouses, which dominate the urban fabric of this historic center.
The Historic Centre of São Filipe was registered on the Cabo Verdean of Indicative List for UNESCO on 16 March 2016, for criteria IV and VI.ler menos