Relva

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Coordinates: 37°45′14″N 25°43′14″W / 37.75389°N 25.72056°W / 37.75389; -25.72056
Relva
Civil Parish
SMG PDLRelva.jpg
The parish of Relva, at the end of the International Airport, with the church of Nossa Senhora dos Neves
Official name: Freguesia da Relva
Name origin: Portuguese for grass
Country  Portugal
Autonomous Region  Azores
Island São Miguel
Municipality Ponta Delgada
Localities Nordela, Relva
Center Relva
 - elevation 101 m (331 ft)
 - coordinates 37°45′14″N 25°43′14″W / 37.75389°N 25.72056°W / 37.75389; -25.72056
Highest point Uveiras
 - elevation 824 m (2,703 ft)
 - coordinates 37°49′9″N 25°44′58″W / 37.81917°N 25.74944°W / 37.81917; -25.74944
Lowest point Sea Level
 - location Atlantic Ocean
Area 12.07 km2 (5 sq mi)
 - water .00 km2 (0 sq mi)
 - urban .77 km2 (0 sq mi)
Population 3,006 (2011)
Density 249 / km2 (645 / sq mi)
LAU Junta Freguesia
 - location Avenida 5 de Agosto
President Junta José da Costa Melo
President Assembleia João Manuel Almeida Soares
Timezone Azores (UTC-1)
 - summer (DST) Azores (UTC0)
Postal Zone 9500-651
Area Code & Prefix (+351) 296 672 XXX
Demonym Relvense
Patron Saint Nossa Senhora dos Neves
The location of the civil parish of Relva in the municipality of Ponta Delgada
Wikimedia Commons: Relva (Ponta Delgada)
Website: http://www.jfrelva.com
Statistics from INE (2001); geographic detail from Instituto Geográfico Português (2010)

Relva is a civil parish in the municipality of Ponta Delgada in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. The population in 2011 was 3,006,[1] in an area of 12.07 km².[2]

History[edit]

The area of Relva was pristine forest and unoccupied grasslands, virgin fields, where the first explorers discovered forests of laurel, common holly, Portuguese laurel and Juniperus brevifolia, interspersed by local Vaccinium. The region, which extends to the border with Santa Clara and Feteiras, became a place where the pigs sent ashore by the first settlers congregated, and where many of nobles of Vila Franca do Campo hunted.[3] Travelling by boat to the shore Santa Clara, these hunters would disembark and spend several days hunting for the semi-feral pigs, then returned to the settlements with their prizes. Slowly, the region began to be occupied by the first families, houses, fields and estates, developing the community of Ponta Delgada, and encroaching on the unspoiled lands to the west. Eventually, farmers began to graze their herds in the region where they encountered lands with thick grasses: relva, the Portuguese word for grass, as the region became known, was used to describe this place, because this settlers found plenty of this boa erva (Portuguese: good weed).[3] The first settlers, where likely farmers and shepards, integrally linked to the land, although no records identify the peoples.

The locality of Relva became more of a reality as settlers concentrated around the estates of Martim Vaz, a celebrated nobleman and local receiver (who collected the rents from the local serfs). Vaz was relatively important, since his name was attached to improvements made to the local fountain (which was near the sea), an important landowner and for his construction of the first temple in the parish, dedicated to Nossa Senhora das Neves.[3] His role in the parish is reflected in the local toponymy: the church was once referred to as the Igreja do Contador da Relva (Portuguese: Church of the Receiver of Relva), the fountain that he repaired the Fonte do Contador and a local grotto, the Grota do Contador, who were named for Martim Vaz.[3]

A view of the civil parish of Relva, showing centre, airport and rural areas
Summer cottages along the coastal village of Rocha da Relva, in the shadow of the airport

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. ^ Eurostat
  3. ^ a b c d Melo, Pedro (2011), A Relva de outros tempos [The Relva of Other Times] (in Portuguese), Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal: Junta de Freguesia da Relva, retrieved 13 March 2011