The Island in the words of Nemésio
Remédios Manor House [House of the Provider of the India Armadas]
Igreja da Misericórdia
Pátio da Alfândega
Tanque do Preto
Casa das Tias
Império da Caridade
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Angra: Today and in Bygone Days
Angra do Heroísmo "Very noble, loyal and always constant"
January 1, 1980 earthquake
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Imagine if, one day, whatever was real ceased to be so, and that life – all of it – were to change direction completely.
Well that’s exactly what happened in Angra (it was just called Angra back then), when Portugal was swept up a civil war between 1828 and 1834. As the country was put to fire and the sword, this small, proud city in the Atlantic was transformed, almost overnight, into the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal, supporting the Constitutional cause and the young queen, Dona Maria II, and was turned into a military base.
Behind this were two young princes, Pedro and Miguel. The brothers were very alike in many ways, but differed in their way of thinking and their ideals.
Pedro had brought about the Independence of Brazil, which he had turned into an Empire, and had granted a Constitution. He was then called upon to defend the same constitutional and liberal interests in the old kingdom of Portugal, where people, especially in the cities, were seething with the consequences of the French invasions, and the abusive presence of English troops.
Miguel, on the other hand, was a staunch supporter of a more traditional form of government, in line with the supporters of the old regime, who had come back in force after the fall of Napoleon. In Portugal, ordinary people, especially in rural areas, but also many intellectuals who had absolutist monarchic views, were totally on his side.
Miguel seized power in Lisbon, in June, 1828, and suddenly many defenders of liberal and constitutional ideals began to arrive in Terceira and establish themselves there, supported locally by a determined liberal nucleus, despite the knowledge that the general population supported Miguel.
There were five years of battles and skirmishes, profound legislative changes, coins were forged from bells, convents were abolished, troops were billeted, barracks were set up everywhere, there were adventurous guerrilla fighters, an English siege which can’t easily be explained, houses were burnt down to set an example to the opposition and there were even literary soirees.
Angra and Terceira Island were thus dragged to the centre of a struggle involving Portugal, Brazil and the interests of foreign powers like France and England. In the end, Angra changed its name to Angra do Heroísmo (Heroic Angra) and Praia became Praia da Vitória (Victorious Praia).
The “rat-trap”, as it was called by Miguel’s supporters and the cynics, was transformed into the “rock of freedom”. The yellow pyramid on top of the hill marks the “Memory” of those truly insane years and of how Portugal gained Constitutional freedom.
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Wine, Grapes and Landscape
Biscoitos Vineyard Protected Landscape
The Verdelho grape variety and more
Brotherhood of the Biscoitos Verdelho Wine
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Monte Brasil and the three fortresses of Angra
To visit Angra, from the perspective proposed in the title, one has to cover five centuries of visions of the world, from the diversity of military architecture, the concepts of defence and attack, and the developments in artillery and firearms to the appearance of aviation, which will perhaps bring about a better understanding of the world we live in.
Fortress São João Baptista
The huge fortified area (three square kilometres and a five kilometres perimeter) which comprises Monte Brasil, today, stems from the conquest of Terceira Island, in 1583, by Álvaro de Bazán, Marquis of Santa Cruz, who received the title of Álvaro the Great of Spain precisely because he succeeded in taking control of the Azores, after a three year long military campaign.It underwent several modifications and constructions over the years, being, in fact, 500 years of construction of structures with a military character.
Castelo dos Moinhos
The first fortification in the Azores was built on the Hill which is now known as “Outeiro da Memória”, or “Memory Hill”.
Even though it is no longer standing, it was in fact the only castle in the Azores, due to its predominant position and its shape, which was almost certainly square, with semi-circular bastions in the middle of each stretch of wall.
It is possible that part of the raised platform, where the pyramid honoring King Pedro stands, may still contain pieces of this early fortification, and when one observes the place, from the lower part of the town, it is still easy to imagine the castle today.
The Fort of São Sebastião
The fortress, which was designed in the Italian Renaissance style, was well organised, with a perfectly developed system of bulwarks, namely, a triangular platform, built so that the artillery could impede any attempt to enter the bay. It crossed fire with the Fort of São Benedito, on the edge of the coast of Monte Brasil.
During the 1641-2 revolt, the fort was crucial in impeding any Spanish support to Monte Brasil; in order to guarantee the defence of the port, it underwent works on the lower battery, in 1830, in the context of the civil war; in 1943, it housed the first general headquarters of the British forces, who arrived in Angra on October 8 of that year.