Cascais Municipality

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Coordinates: 38°42′N 9°25′W / 38.700°N 9.417°W / 38.700; -9.417
Municipality (Concelho)
Baía de Cascais - Palacetes.jpg
Clouds reflected off the sunset in the Bay of Cascais, with the city of Cascais
Coat of arms
Official name: Concelho de Cascais
Country  Portugal
Region Lisboa
Subregion Grande Lisboa
District Lisbon
Municipality Cascais
Civil parishes Alcabideche, Carcavelos, Cascais, Estoril, Parede, São Domingos de Rana
Center Cascais
 - coordinates 38°42′N 9°25′W / 38.700°N 9.417°W / 38.700; -9.417
Highest point
 - location Cascais, Cascais, Cascais
Lowest point Sea level
 - location Atlantic Ocean, Cascais, Cascais
Area 97.4 km2 (38 sq mi)
Population 205,117 (2011)
LAU Concelho/Câmara Municipal
 - location Praça 5 de Outubro, Cascais, Cascais
President Carlos Carreiras (PSD)
Municipal chair António de Magalhães Pires de Lima (CDS-PP)
Timezone WET (UTC0)
 - summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
ISO 3166-2 code PT-
Postal Zone 2750 Cascais
Area code & prefix (+351) 214 XX XX XX
Patron saint Santo António
Municipal address Praça 5 de Outubro
2750-654 Cascais
Municipal holidays 13 June
Location of the municipality of Cascais in continental Portugal
Wikimedia Commons: Cascais
Statistics: Instituto Nacional de Estatística[1]
Geographic detail from CAOP (2010)[2] produced by Instituto Geográfico Português (IGP)

Cascais (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɐʃˈkajʃ]) is located in municipality of the district of Lisbon, with a population that includes approximately 205,117 inhabitants by the 2011 census, one of the fastest growing municipalities in Portugal (in 2001 there were 170,683 inhabitants).


A 1572 sketch of the coastal profile of Cascais
The block-facade of the municipal hall of Cascais

Human settlement of the territory today known as Cascais remotes to the late Paleolithic, as remnants encountered in the north of Talaíde, in Alto do Cabecinho (Tires) and south of Moinhos do Cabreiro.[3] It was during the Neolithic that permanent settlements were established in the region, utilizing the natural grottoes (such as the Poço Velho in Cascais) and artificial shelters (like those in Alapraia or São pedro) to depoist their dead. The bodies were buried along with offerings, a practised that continued to the Chalcolithic.[3]

Roman interventions in the area occurred in the settlement of the villae of Freiria (today São Domingos de Rana) and Casais Velhos (Charneca), along with a group of discovered tanks along the Rua Marques Leal Pancada, in the city of Cascais, which was a salting factory for fish.[3] Roman dominion over the territory also influenced the names in the region, as was the case of with Caparide (which camed rom the Latin capparis, that means caper), in addition to several inscriptions associated with funerary graves.[3]

Similarly, Moorish and Arab peoples in the region resulted in several names associated with their influence, including Alcoitão or Alcabideche, the birthplace of the poet Ibn Muqana al-Qabdaqi, who was born at the beginning og the 11th century, and who wrote of the region's agriculture and windmills.[3]

In the second half of the 12th century, the settlement of Cascais was a small collection of farms and fishing shanties. The toponymy Cascais appears to derive from this period, a plural derivation of cascal (monte de cascas) which signified a mountain of shells, referring to the abundant volume of marine molluscs that existed in the waters.[3] Still, the territory was primarily occupied in its interior: owing to agricultural activities and fears of Moorish or Norman pirates.[3]

Administratively dependent on Sintra, Cascais, owing to its privileged bay transformed itself into a competitive fishing port. In this context, on 7 June 1364 the men of Cascais obtained from King Peter I the elevation of the village to the status of town, that included the establishment of local judges and administrators.[3] The villagers were, therefore, obligated to pay annually to the Crown 200 pounds of gold, in addition to the aforementioned expense of the local administrators: owing the regions' wealth, these obligations were easily satisfied.[3]

The Castle of Cascais was likely constructed after this period, since by 1370 (the year that it became a municipality), King Ferdinand donated the castle and Cascais to Gomes Lourenço de Avelar to hold as a signeurial fiefdom.[3] These privileges were then passed on to his successors, among others, Dr. João das Regras and the Counts of Monsanto, later the Marquess of Cascais.[3] Meanwhile, despite its conquest and sack by Castilian forces in 1373, and blockade of the port, in 1382 and 1384, Cascais continued to grow beyond its walls.[3] By the end of the 14th century this resulted in the creation of the parishes of Santa Maria de Cascais, São Vicente de Alcabideche and São Domingos de Rana.[3]

Movement along the bay increased during the initial period of the Portuguese discoveries and expansion, resulting in King John II's order to construct a defensive tower (around 1488).[4] It was in Cascais that Nicolau Coelho, the first captain of Vasco da Gama's armada to arrive from India, disembarked; he later travelled to Sintra to inform the King of the good news.[4]

On 15 November 1514, Manuel I conceded a foral (charter) to Cascais, instituting the regions municipal authority.[4] It was followed on 11 June 1551 by license from King John III to institutionalize the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Cascais.[4]

In 1580, Spanish troops, under the command of the Duke of Alba disembarked in Cascais, conquering the fortress and sacking the town.[4]

Under the dominion of Spanish troops in 1589, the town was attacked and sacked by forces supporting António, Prior of Crato, en route to Lisbon.[4] Conscious of the region's deficient defences, King Phillip of Spain ordered the erection of the Fortress of Santo António do Estoril, and the reinforcement of the old tower of Cascais, which became known as the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Luz. Even following the Portuguese restoration, in 1640, construction continued to expand the defensive line along the municipality's coast, with the expansion of many of the pre-existing fortifications.[4] A dozen of bulwarks and redoubts were constructed, under the direction of the Count of Cantanhede, who oversaw the defences of the Tagus estuary, the gateway to the city of Lisbon.[4] Of these structures, the citadel of Cascais, which was constructed alongside the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Luz, considerably reinforced the strategic defences of the coast.[4]

Although a principal promoter of Oeiras, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Count of Oeiras, and later Marquess of Pombal, became an important defender of the vineyards and wines of Carcavelos, resulting in concessions for the Real Fábrica de Lanifícios de Cascais (around 1774).[4] The 1 November 1755 Lisbon earthquake resulted in almost the complete destruction of the municipality.[4]


Cascais is situated on the western edge of the Tagus estuary, between the Sintra mountains and the Atlantic Ocean; the territory occupied by the municipality is limited in the north by the municipality of Sintra, south and west by the ocean, and east by the municipality of Oeiras.[3]

The municipality is divided into six civil parishes, with municipal authority vested in the Câmara Municipal of Cascais:


  1. ^ INE, ed. (2010), Censos 2011 - Resultadas Preliminares [2011 Census - Preliminary Results] (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Instituto Nacional de Estatística, retrieved 1 January 2012 
  2. ^ IGP, ed. (2010), Carta Administrativa Oficial de Portugal (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Instituto Geográfico Português, retrieved 1 January 2012 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Câmara Municipal, ed. (2011). "História" (in Portuguese). Cascais, Portugal: Câmara Municipal de Cascais. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Câmara Municipal, ed. (2011). "História" (in Portuguese). Cascais, Portugal: Câmara Municipal de Cascais. Retrieved 8 March 2013.