Vila Velha (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvilɐ ˈvɛʎɐ], Old Town) is a coastal town in Espírito Santo, Brazil. It lies across from Vitória, the state capital. Its population was 396,323 (2005) and its area is 208.82 km².
Notable corporations in Vila Velha include Garoto, one of Brazil's largest chocolate manufacturers.
Vila Velha has been through several years of intense real estate development and several luxury buildings are now a common sight in all of its main beaches. Some critics argue that this practice can be considered excess urbanization of a previously low-profile area, despite the economic benefits.
Vila Velha is the oldest township in Espírito Santo, having been founded on the 23 May 1535. First called Vila do Espírito Santo, it was founded by Vasco Fernandes Coutinho and initially served as the capital of Espírito Santo. Coutinho, owner of the Espírito Santo colony, was forced to return to Portugal around 1550 in order to recruit new colonists, as there were not enough to sustain the colony. Upon his return, however, he discovered that there had been violent disputes between the colonists, slaves, and Indians, which had forced most inhabitants to flee to the island of Vitória. In response, Coutinho relocated the capital to Vitória. Afterward, Vila Velha remained a quiet town until quite recently; the 1828 census, for example, showed only 1,250 people in the town. Today, however, Vila Velha is the biggest city in the entire state of Espírito Santo, and has approximately 500,000 inhabitants.
The nickname Green Shins given to people from Vila Velha originated from the green algae that stuck to the legs of sailors returning from shore to Coutinho's ship in 1535.