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The island of S. Nicolau is situated to the north of the Archipelago. With a surface area of 346 km2, its widest point in the North/South direction of 25 km is on the western side and its shape is very similar to that of the African Continent, narrowing to the east for a distance of 52 km.

The very active volcanic past of the island is majestically visible in Monte Gordo, the highest peak of the island with an altitude of 1304 m. Two separate clusters of peaks part from there, one in a North/South direction, the other from East to West.

Upon reaching the sea this succession of hills and plains terminates in almost sheer cliffs. The valleys on the whole are generally narrow and deep, except for the VALE DE FAJÁ, which is wide and fertile enough for agriculture to flourish.

Although S.Nicolau was discovered on the 6th of December 1461, it was only during the middle of the XVII century, when the first village was built in Porto da Lapa, that people began to settle there. However, because of the constant attacks by pirates, the inhabitants moved inland and settled in Ribeira Brava.

Access to the sea was obtained through the Port of Preguiça in the Bay of S. Jorge and in 1818 a fortress was built to defend the local inhabitants from pirates. S. Nicolau is an island rich in history.