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Monday, January 14, 2008

Faial History - Horta as seen by Edward Wright in 1589 Difficult Times

During the sixty years of Spanish occupation of Portugal, the archipelago became an easy prey for pirates and privateers that infested the Atlantic, searching for riches. In 1583 a Spanish fleet captured Faial and so the enemies of Spain became then also enemies of the occupied Portuguese. Among the British and French that attacked Faial were the squadrons of those of the Counts of Cumberland and of Essex that, in 1589 and 1597 respectively, pillaged defenseless populations, taking everything on their way, burning churches and convents and leaving traces of extreme violence, not only in the village but also in the rest of the island. To prevent such incidents from ever happening again, an impressive set of fortified walls was then built across the island, including the forts of Greta, São Sebastião, Stª Cruz, Boa Viagem, Bom Jesus, Alagoa, etc, totaling 21 in the XVIII century. Even though, the Cabeço do Fogo Volcano in 1672 made the island aware of its vulnerability, and although its economy remained stable, it suffered great damages and the loss of 400 people who immigrated to Brazil.

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