(ˈvilɐ viˈsɔzɐ) is a municipality in Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...
with a total area of 195.0 km² and a total population of 8,745 inhabitants.
The municipality is composed of 5 parishes, and is located in the District of Évora
Évora District is located in Alentejo, in southern Portugal. The district capital is the city of Évora.-Municipalities:The district is composed by 14 municipalities:* Alandroal* Arraiolos* Borba* Estremoz* Évora* Montemor-o-Novo* Mora* Mourão...
The present Mayor is Manuel João Condenado, elected by the Unitarian Democratic Coalition
The Democratic Unity Coalition is an electoral and political coalition between the Portuguese Communist Party and the Ecologist Party "The Greens"...
The municipal holiday is August 16.
- Ciladas de São Romão
- Nossa Senhora da Conceição
- São Bartolomeu
The area of Vila Viçosa has been inhabited since Antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...
, and it was the site of a small settlement in Roman
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....
times. The region was part of the Visigoth Kingdom and later was came under Moorish control after the Muslim conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....
. Moorish domination ended in 1217, when the region was reconquered by the Order of Aviz
The Military Order of Aviz , previously to 1910 Royal Military Order of Aviz , previously to 1789 Order of Saint Benedict of Aviz , previously Knights of St. Benedict of Aviz or Friars of Santa Maria of Évora, is a Portuguese Order of Chivalry...
, a military order of knighthood that reclaimed large parts of Southern Portugal to the Christians. The order promoted the settlement in the area during the 13th century. In 1270, King Afonso III
Afonso III , or Affonso , Alfonso or Alphonso or Alphonsus , the Bolognian , the fifth King of Portugal and the first to use the title King of Portugal and the Algarve, from 1249...
granted a foral
thumb|left|200px|Foral of Castro Verde - PortugalThe word foral derives from the Portuguese word foro, ultimately from Latin forum, equivalent to Spanish fuero, Galician foro, Catalan furs and Basque foru ....
(letter of feudal rights) to the incipient village of Vila Viçosa. In the early 14th century, King Dinis I built a castle in the village, to protect it from potential Castilian
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...
In 1461, Vila Viçosa came to the hands of the House of Braganza
The Most Serene House of Braganza , an important Portuguese noble family, ruled the Kingdom of Portugal and its colonial Empire, from 1640 to 1910...
, one of the most important houses of nobility of Portugal. This event was crucial in the history of the village, which became the main base of the Dukes of Braganza in the next centuries. The Dukes had considerable wealth and greatly promoted the economic, urban and artistic development of the village.
In 1502 the building of the Ducal Palace was begun, sponsored by Jaime
James was the older son of Ferdinand II, 3rd Duke of Braganza and of his wife, Isabella of Viseu and he became the fourth Duke of Braganza following his father's death.His father and one of his uncles were...
, fourth Duke of Braganza
The title Duke of Braganza in the House of Braganza is one of the most important titles in the peerage of Portugal. Since the House of Braganza acceded to the throne of Portugal in 1640, the male heir of the Portuguese Crown was known as the Duke of Braganza and Prince of Brazil until 1822, or...
. Jaime was a skilled military leader who later led the Portuguese to victory against a Moorish army in the Battle of Azamor
The Battle of Azemmour took place in Morocco, on August 28 and 29 of 1513 between the Portuguese Empire and the Moroccan Wattasid dynasty.Azemmour, dependent on the King of Fes, even enjoying of great autonomy, paid vassalage to the king João II of Portugal since 1486...
, in Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...
. The Ducal Palace was greatly remodelled between the 16th and 17th centuries in a sober late Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...
(Mannerist) style, and was decorated through the centuries by several artists. The Dukes also sponsored artistic campaigns in several churches and monasteries in the village.
When Duke John became King John IV
|-|John IV was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1640 to his death. He was the grandson of Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, who had in 1580 claimed the Portuguese crown and sparked the struggle for the throne of Portugal. John was nicknamed John the Restorer...
, in 1640, the House of Braganza moved to the capital Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...
, and many of the riches of the Ducal Palace were transferred to the Ribeira Palace
. Vila Viçosa became a vacation spot for the members of the Braganza family. This marks the beginning of a period of decadence for Vila Viçosa.
In the 20th century the industries of marble extraction and tourism became the main income sources of the municipality. Agricultural goods are also still important for its economy. Marble extraction and processing are responsible for around 93% of jobs in the municipality.
| Population of Vila Viçosa municipality (1801 – 2004)