"I am Santa Cruz: a lively place for land and border of an ocean that is sound, music, vertigo, vision, dream and battle."
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.
The event Sons e Sabores/ Sounds and Flavours takes place in Praceta Padre Gabriel Olavo Garcês, in the parish of Santa Cruz, and it occurs over 3 days. Organized by Casa do Povo de Santa Cruz and the Regional Secretary of
Agriculture and Fisheries, the event seeks to promote the gastronomy of the Municipality of Santa Cruz, and has the participation of several local restaurants that offer tastings of delicacies and regional drinks. The music is also well present in this event, with traditional sounds and songs such as the performance of folklore groups.
DECEMBER 1st to JANUARY 15th
In this special season, the spirit of Christmas is more present than ever in Santa Cruz. The reasons for visiting us and staying with us are many, among them: the pictures and illuminations alluding to Christmas, inspired by the traditions of the county, scattered throughout the cities and parish centers; Market Nights in their respective localities, full of sounds, aromas and flavors alluding to the time, among others.
In this party, which in Santa Cruz goes from the beginning of December until January 15, with the great village of Santo Amaro and the traditional sweeping of the cabinets.
The morning of December 1st begins as early as 6 am with the start of the Municipal Band of Santa Cruz, the official entities of the county and some popular who sing and dance together, while making the journey between the House of Culture of Santa Cruz and Praça João de Freitas. Then a staging takes place next to the building of the Municipal Council of Santa Cruz, whose main objective is to portray the day of restoration of independence.
This event counts on the participation of hundreds of people who really want to watch this beautiful play. At the end of the staging, liquors, cookies, and other delicacies are distributed among the spectators, while the band and the other entities continue their journey and stop at the main points, shopping facilities of the parish of Santa Cruz. Finally, in Praceta Olavo Garcês, Casa do Povo offers the traditional chicken soup and the traditional wine and garlic pork sandwiches known as sandes de carne vinha d'alhos.