"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

JANUARY | CANCELLED

Every year, on January 15, Santo Amaro is celebrated. It is a religious festival celebrated in the headquarters of the county of Santa Cruz, in honor of the saint with greater devotion by the population of Santa Cruz. The event takes place during about 4/5 days and counts on the presence of several artists, food and drink stands and lots of animation, in this event that is the first festival of the year in Madeira Island.

CAMACHA | CANIÇO | GAULA | SANTA CRUZ | SANTO ANTÓNIO DA SERRA

FEBRUARY

In Santa Cruz, the carnival celebrations are present in all parishes of the county, with several parades that involve hundreds of participants from all age groups. In the parish of Santo António da Serra is celebrated the 'Burial of the Bone', the traditional closing of the Madeiran Carnival, on the Sunday following the day of Carnival.

CAMACHA

MARCH

Organized by the Experimental Theater of the People's House of Camacha, the AMO-TEatro festival aims to promote and disseminate the work developed in the area of theater, not only nationally, but also internationally, bringing to the stage several groups of amateur and professional artists.

The event takes place in March and already has 2019 with ten editions. This Madeira theater show is presented in Several concert halls in the region, such as the Camacha People's House Auditorium, Baltazar Dias Municipal Theater, Machico Forum and Maria Ascensão Theater, as well as in other unusual spaces such as streets and bars, making it dynamic in several locations in Camacha and the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

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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: Gabriela Magalhães and Leonilde Olim | Photography: CMSC (all rights reserved)