Committee Decisions

33 COM 8B.10

Cultural properties - New Nominations - Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande (Cape Verde)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-09/33.COM/8B et WHC-09/33.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Inscribes Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande, Cape Verde, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii), (iii) and (vi).

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief Synthesis

Cidade Velha, historic centre of Ribeira Grande demonstrates Outstanding Universal Value: Ribeira Grande was the first European colonial town to be built in the tropics, and marks a decisive step in European expansion at the end of the 15th century towards Africa and the Atlantic area. Ribeira Grande was subsequently, in the 16th and 17th centuries, a key port of call for Portuguese colonisation and its administration. It was an exceptional centre in the routes for international maritime trade, included in the routes between Africa and the Cape, Brazil and the Caribbean. It provides an early image of transcontinental geopolitical visions. Its insular position, isolated but close to the coasts of Africa, made it an essential platform for the Atlantic trade of enslaved persons of modern times. A place of concentration of enslaved persons and the inhuman practices of the trade of enslaved persons, Ribeira Grande was also exceptional in terms of the intercultural encounters from which stemmed the first developed Creole society. The valley of Ribeira Grande experimented with new forms of colonial agriculture on the boundary between the temperate and tropical climates. It became a platform for the acclimatisation and dissemination of plant species across the world.

Criterion (ii): The monuments, the remains still present in Ribeira Grande and its maritime and agro-urban landscapes, are testimony to its considerable role in international trade associated with the development of European colonial domination towards Africa and America and the birth of Atlantic triangular trade. They are testimony to the organisation of the first intercontinental maritime trade, and Ribeira Grande's role as centre for the acclimatisation and dissemination of numerous plant species between the temperate and tropical zones, and between the various continents.

Criterion (iii): The urban, maritime and landscape of Ribeira Grande provides eminent testimony to the origins and the development of over three centuries of Atlantic trade of enslaved persons in modern times and its relationships of domination. It was a major place for its commercial organisation and the early experience of using enslaved persons to develop a colonial territory. The mixing of human races and the meeting of African and European cultures gave birth to the first Creole culture.

Criterion (vi): Ribeira Grande is directly associated with the material manifestation of the history of the enslavement and trafficking of African peoples, and with its considerable cultural and economic consequences. Ribeira Grande was the cradle of the first fully fledged mixed-race Creole society. Creole culture then spread across the Atlantic, adapting to the different colonial contexts of the Caribbean and Americas. Its forms affected many fields including the arts, social customs, beliefs, the pharmacopoeia, and cooking techniques. Ribeira Grande is an important initial link in an intangible heritage shared by Africa, the Americas and Europe.

Integrity and authenticity

The authenticity and integrity of the property is generally acceptable, but its fragility must be emphasised, together with the necessity of an ongoing policy of rehabilitation.

Management and protection requirements

The property's management system is satisfactory. However, its legal protection must be completed and the practical methods for the operation of the recent inter-agency management structures specified.

4. Requests that the State Party submits a report to the 34th session of the Committee in 2010 in order to provide elements of progress concerning the implementation of the Management Plan and the effective establishment of the management authority (2008-2012);

5. Further requests:

a) to confirm the progress made on the methods to protect the maritime buffer zone and provide the definitive map of the property and its buffer zone; and specify the surface area of the maritime extension;

b) to define various urban and architectural monitoring indicators in accordance with international standards, setting out levels of importance and urgency for the work to be carried out;

c) to preserve, in the property's future management, the relationship between the city and the rural and natural space of the valley, in order to conserve the spirit and, if possible, the testimony of the rich agricultural history of Cidade Velha.

Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Cabo Verde
Session: 33COM