Praia da Vitória
|Praia da Vitória|
A partial view of the municipal seat of Praia da Vitória, located along the Fontinhas fault
|Official name: Concelho da Praia da Vitória|
|Name origin: praia da vitória, Portuguese compound for beach of the victory|
|Municipality||Praia da Vitória|
|Civil Parishes||Agualva, Biscoitos, Cabo da Praia, Fonte do Bastardo, Fontinhas, Lajes, Porto Martins, Praia da Vitória, Quatro Ribeiras, São Brás, Vila Nova|
|Center||Praia da Vitória|
|- elevation||27 m (89 ft)|
|Highest point||Pico Alto|
|- location||Biscoito da Ferraria, Agualva, Praia da Vitória|
|- elevation||809.05 m (2,654 ft)|
|Lowest point||Sea level|
|- location||Atlantic Ocean|
|- elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||23.03 km (14 mi), West-East|
|Width||10.00 km (6 mi), North-South|
|Area||161.30 km2 (62 sq mi)|
|- land||146.83 km2 (57 sq mi)|
|- water||.02 km2 (0 sq mi)|
|- urban||14.45 km2 (6 sq mi)|
|Density||126.11 / km2 (327 / sq mi)|
|- Municipality||c. 1480|
|- location||Praça Francisco Ornelas da Câmara, São Miguel, Praia da Vitória|
|- elevation||21 m (69 ft)|
|President||Roberto Lúcio Silva Pereira Monteiro (PS)|
|Municipal Chair||Francisco Cardoso Pereira de Oliveira (PS)|
|- summer (DST)||Azores (UTC0)|
|ISO 3166-2 code||PT-|
|Postal Zone||9760-851 Praia da Vitória|
|Area Code & Prefix||(+351) 292 XXX XXX|
|Patron Saint||Santa Cruz|
|Municipal Address||Praça Francisco Ornelas da Câmara
9760-851 Praia da Vitória
|Municipal Holidays||11 August|
|Wikimedia Commons: Praia da Vitória (Azores)|
|Statistics from INE (2001); geographic detail from Instituto Geográfico Português (2010)|
Praia da Vitória (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpɾajɐ ðɐ viˈtɔɾiɐ]; Beach of the Victory) is a municipality in Portugal's Autonomous Region of the Azores. The second largest administrative division on the island of Terceira, Praia da Vitória occupies the northern coast of the island and extends halfway into the interior having at its frontiers Pico Alto and the shield volcano of Santa Bárbara.
The area of Praia, was one of the first points of colonization on the island of Terceira; the islands first Captain-Donatorio, Jácome de Bruges, along with his first lieutenant, Diogo de Teive, established their residency in Praia. Praia constituted the seat of the Captaincy of Terceira between 1456 and 1474. By 1474, the island was divided into two captaincies (Praia and Angra): the Captaincy of Praia reverted to Álvaro Martins Homem, Bruges' successor. The growth of the woad industry and export wheat market concentrated along the fertile Ramo Grande area, allowed Praia to grow rapidly. Consequently, Praia was elevated to the status of vila (comparable to town) in 1480, still within the administration of Álvaro Martins Homem.
By the last quarter of the 16th century, Gaspar Frutuoso (the celebrated Azorean historian), wrote of Praia in these terms:
- "...and shortly there is the town of Praia, noble and sumptuous and with good buildings, built in a very good style, circled by a good wall, with its forts and bulwarks all around, populated by nobles and older residents, with one of the older settlements of the island, circled by famous and rich farms of nobles and grandiose nobility, with a parish and sumptuous church of three naves, with a vaulted main chapel and porticoes and pillars of well worked marble, all circled by chapels of the grand first-born...its principal invocation is to the Holy Cross...where the house of Mercy and hospital, with two churches, one the hospital of the Holy Spirit and the other to Our Lady, with a nave down the middle...; its a famous monastery of Saint Francis where there still continue to reside ten or twelve religious, where there are many chapels of the grand first-born similar to the above indicated; three monasteries for nuns, the more principal of the those is to Jesus..., with forty nuns with black veils and two, one of Our Lady of the Light and the other Our Lady of the Stigmata, give obedience and observation to Saint Francis, where there are few religious"
During the Iberian Union, the Battle of Salga which occurred in the village of São Sebastião (then a parish of Praia) broke out along the coast in 1582. Later, during the Restoration of Portuguese Independence, the citizenry of Praia acclaimed King John IV, when Francisco Ornelas da Câmara arrived in Terceira.
The settlement was destroyed during the 1614 Earthquake, those residents along the coast lost to the sea. During the 17th century, even as the community was being re-constructed, it was hit by several more seismic events.
During the Liberal Wars, the harbor was the scene of a naval battle in 1829 between the Liberals and the Absolutists, competing factions in support of King Pedro IV and King Miguel, respectively, during the Liberal Wars. The Battle of Praia ensued when a squadron of Miguelist troops attempted to disembark at Praia (11 August 1829). As a result of this victory, Queen Maria I after being restored to the throne, acted to recognize its residents for their heroism by appending "Mui Notável" (Very notable) and "da Vitória" (of the Victoria) to its name (12 January 1837). Consequently, Praia became known as Praia da Vitória. This was the last battle to be fought in Portugal.
Its economic importance in the economy of the north continued, even after the 15 June 1841 Earthquake, referred to as the Caída da Praia (The Fall of the Beach), which partial destroyed the settlement. Its reconstruction, at the end of the 19th century was motivated by councillor José Silvestre Ribeiro.
The priest Jerónimo Emiliano de Andrade, who lived at the end of the 19th century, referred to Praia da Vitória:
- "The traveller who leaves Cabo da Praia is quickly encounters the magnificent and majestic Vila da Praia da Vitória, which is located a short distance, no less than a quarter league..."
The town was elevated to city on 20 June 1981, although it was referred to as the Vila da Praia da Vitória until 1983.
In the second half of the 20th century, a large aerodrome was constructed along the southwestern side of the Portuguese Air Base No.4. In addition, the port of Praia was expanded to include a 1400 metre extension. These two projects have supported the municipality's growth, along with its large industrial centre.
The town boasts two notable churches, several public squares, and a number of hotels and restaurants. It edges up against a low mountain ridge called Facho (Portuguese for Torch, because in its top a primitive lighthouse and lookout place against pirates, and later a marine and military semaphoric signal station, operated for about 400 years), and a large public park atop the ridge affords excellent views of the surrounding countryside and the Atlantic Ocean.
Administratively, the municipality of Praia da Vitória is divided into the following civil parishes, which handle local distribution of services and support the local residents:
- Cabo da Praia
- Fonte do Bastardo
- Porto Martins
- Praia da Vitória
- Quatro Ribeiras
- São Brás
- Vila Nova
Praia da Vitória is a services, fishing and agricultural community, and boasts a large new marina popular with the yachting crowd. It is the location of the only sizable sand beach on Terceira.
Lajes Air Base, a joint United States and Portuguese air force base, lies three kilometers to the north of the town. American servicemen frequent the restaurants and clubs in the town and add considerably to the local economy.
Notable citizens 
- Gaspar Frutuoso, p.15