"I am Santa Cruz: a lively place for land and border of an ocean that is sound, music, vertigo, vision, dream and battle."

Highlights

When the discoverer of Madeira, João Gonçalves Zarco, went through a "valley of beautiful grove" on July 3, 1419 or 1420, he found old cedars fallen by the time with which he ordered to make a cross, baptizing the place of Santa Cruz.
On May 8, 1440 Tristan "from the Island" was given the Captaincy of Machico. Infante D. Henrique Regidor of the Order of Christ specifies that "I carry Tristão, knight of my House, of my Island of Madeira from the land from beyond the Ribeira do Caniço ten steps, as it goes through the Ribeira above, and thence cross the mountain to the tip of Tristan ". Therefore, the Captaincy extended from Ponta da Oliveira (in Caniço) to Ponta de S. Lourenço and from there to Ponta do Tristão (in Porto Moniz), which later connected to Ponta da Oliveira, dividing the island diagonally. As is understood, by this division, Santa Cruz belonged thus to the old Captaincy of Machico.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Santa Cruz already eqautes with the village of Machico, from which it depended administratively, having more population and commerce, even having a customs office for the lucrative "sugar deal".
In this trade, the following stand out: Urbano Lomelino, who settled in Porto do Seixo, having a house and a mill, and later, by pious testamentary disposition, he founded the Convent of Our Lady of Mercy of Santa Cruz; or Nuno Fernandes Cardoso, who settled in Gaula, poissessing Solar and Chapel of St. John Lateran, and also the Salvago family, with the sisters Isabel and Leonor Álvares, who will establish the Chapel of the Mother of God in Caniço.
Due to the mismanagement of Machico by Captain-Donate Tristan Vaz, and to the growth of Santa Cruz, the powerful Freitas of Santa Cruz will press the monarch to grant a charter to the locality, which in fact will end up happening on June 26 of 1515, with the creation of the Village and, on December 15 of the same year, obtaining the respective charter.
The area of this new county was dismembered from Machico from Porto do Seixo until the end of Caniço.
Behind this breakdown is the influential João de Freitas, who returned in 1511 from North Africa, where he fought valiantly against the Moors, was a squire and a man of confidence of King Manuel I and for that reason he receives the Treasury of the area of Santa Cruz. It is he indeed, who will persuade the monarch to give the status of municipality to the said locality and it is even in his own houses, where the first town council is gathered.
If in the first year the new chamber worked in the houses of the "patron", the following year, it was already functioning in its own house, with a gothic portal with a broken arch and twinned windows, a building that has reached our days and where the town council still operates.
The new church Igreja Matriz de Santa Cruz, with three naves, similar to the Cathedral of Funchal, is practically the second church of the island, having been built by João de Freitas, replacing the small and run-down old chapel of Bom Jesus, which served as a parish church, of which today only the toponym remains. In 1533 it would be ready, when João de Freitas was authorized to be buried in the main chapel. His tomb of Flemish taste, with brass blades edging the lid, can still be seen today in that chapel of the Matrix Church.
The municipality was essentially agricultural, with its poios, cultivated terraces, artistically cultivated and irrigated by serpentine water channels, standing out still today the production of onion in Caniço and the cultivation and industry of the wicker in Camacha.
In the parish of Caniço the tourism industry developed starting from the 70's taking advantage of the beautiful sea front, the tranquility, the mild climate and the proximity of Funchal.

Upcoming Events

SANTA CRUZ | CANCELLED

EVERY FRIDAY OF AUGUST

Santa Curtas, is the name of the short film festival that takes place in the amphitheater of the House of Culture - Quinta do Revoredo, every Friday of August. This show seeks to promote, and make known some projects of short films, of several directors, not only national, but also international. Movie evenings are accompanied by music or dance shows that precede the movies.

CAMACHA | CANCELLED

AUGUST

In order to preserve and keep alive some of Camacha's cultural traditions, every year for a week, the parish of Camacha organizes the Art Camacha event that takes place in Largo da Achada, and seeks to promote some traditions that have been falling over time in oblivion, such as folklore, wickerwork, gastronomy and some traditional games.

CANIÇO | CANCELLED

AUGUST

The center of the parish of Caniço is the main stage of the gastronomic festival of Caniço, which is held every year and is attended by several tents representing several restaurants, whose purpose is to promote local and regional gastronomy. In addition to the good food, the music and the street entertainment are also present in this cultural event that attracts thousands of visitors every year, being considered one of the main parish posters.

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Santa Cruz | Madeira
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This platform gathers historical, tourist and cultural information about the Municipality of SANTA CRUZ - Madeira Island, Portugal

© 2020 by CMSC | Text collection and editing: Gabinete de Turismo | Translation: Leonilde Olim | Photography: CMSC (copyright)