The island of 500 inhabitants

In the midst of the Atlantic Ocean, at 31 ° 05 'W and 39 ° 40' N, with a total area of 17.2 km², 6.5 km long and 4 km wide, it is the smallest of the Azores archipelago. Form together with Flores Island, the Western Group.

It had its origin in an old volcano, whose imposing and ample crater, lodges the Lagoon of the Cauldron. The coast of the island is high and steep, except for the southern part, where in a lava fajã the only settlement of the island, Vila do Corvo, was established. Discovered by Diogo de Teive in 1452, it was called “Island of Santa Iria”, “Island of Marco”, “Island of St. Thomas”, “Island of Flowers”, its present name, “Island of Crow”, will have had origin in the name “Insula Corvi Marini” Island of the Marine Corves.

The settlement was only definitive in 1548, when the Captain of the Donate of Flowers and Corvo, Gonçalo de Sousa, is authorized to send slaves of his confidence, like farmers and cattle farmers. Later, some inhabitants of the Flores moved to Corvo, increasing the white population in front of the resident slaves. From then on the island became permanently inhabited, with the population dedicated to agriculture, pastoralism and fishing.

Due to its isolation the island was the target of several attacks by privateers and pirates, but was able to impose itself many times resorting to the negotiation. In exchange for protection and money, the island provided water, food and men, while also allowing the repair of ships and treatment of the sick.

In an attempt to land Algerian pirates, at the dock Port of the House, about two hundred corvinos used everything at their disposal to ward off the attackers who ended up giving up with casualties. The image of Our Lady of the Rosary was placed in Canada da Rocha and from there, legend has it that it protected the population from the bullets fired.

The corvines with heavy forums to pay their captains of the donate, lived in great poverty, obliged even to eat sackcloth, because the wheat fields barely arrived to pay the pension to which they were obliged.
It was Mouzinho da Silveira, so impressed that he was left with the harshness and hardship of the corvinos’ life, who proposed for half the wheat they were obliged to pay and abolished the payment in cash, making the corvinos happy. Years later he would write in his will that he would like to be buried on the island, “surrounded by people who in my life dared to be grateful.”

On June 20, 1832, Prince Regent D. Pedro IV elevated the parish of Our Lady of Miracles, the category of town and seat of the municipality. The decree ordered that a new village be called Vila do Corvo.

Source: Town Hall of Corvo


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