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Ajuda da Bretanha

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Ajuda da Bretanha

Ajuda da Bretanha
Civil Parish
Official name: Freguesia da Ajuda da Bretanha
Name origin: Portuguese for help from Britain or Brittany
Country  Portugal
Autonomous Region  Azores
Island São Miguel
Municipality Ponta Delgada
Localities Ajuda da Bretanha, Amoreira, Lombinha
Rivers Grota da Levada, Grota da Lomba, Grota Grande
Center Ajuda da Bretanha
 - elevation 166 m (545 ft)
 - coordinates
Highest point Chã do Marco
 - elevation 596 m (1,955 ft)
 - coordinates
Lowest point Sea level
 - location Atlantic Ocean
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Area 7.09 km2 (3 sq mi)
 - water .00 km2 (0 sq mi)
 - urban .40 km2 (0 sq mi)
Population 661 (2011)
Density 93 / km2 (241 / sq mi)
Settlement c. 1527
 - Parish c. 1646
 - Civil Parish 10 July 2002
LAU Freguesia/Junta Freguesia
 - location Rua da Igreja
Timezone Azores (UTC-1)
 - summer (DST) Azores (UTC0)
Postal Zone 9545-027
Area Code & Prefix (+351) 292 XX XX XX
Patron Saint Nossa Senhora da Ajuda
Location of the civil parish of Ajuda da Bretanha, within the municipality of Ponta Delgada
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Ajuda da Bretanha is a northern civil parish in the municipality of Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. It is a relatively new parish, being elevated to this status when the former parish of Bretanha was divided, forming Ajuda and Pilar da Bretanha. The population in 2011 was 661,[1] in an area of 7.09 km².[2]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Economy 3
  • Architecture 4
    • Civic 4.1
    • Religious 4.2
  • Culture 5
    • Festivities 5.1
  • Notable citizens 6
  • References 7


Church of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, Ajuda da Bretanha, São Miguel

There still exists some controversy relative to the origin of Bretanha in the local lexicon. The parish received its name from the original Bretanha of the older parish, and in accordance with popular tradition, it was adopted by the local Portuguese colonists to refer to the original settlers of the area. It is assumed that the area was originally inhabited between the end of the 15th Century and/or the beginning of the 16th Century.[3] During this period the concentration of colonists from Great Britain, or Brittany, may have led to the local designation.[3] Even today, the area that was the parish of Bretanha is populated by people whose ethnicity are mistaken for British nationals (skin, eye or hair colors primarily), and where the local dialect is punctuated by diction and intonations reminiscent of French.[3] When the area of Ajuda was de-annexed to form the current administration the name was adopted; a compound phrase which means: Ajuda from [the former parish of] Bretanha.

Until 1527, Bretanha was actually part of a much larger parish known as Capelas.

The parochial church is dedicated to the invocation of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, and referenced in Santo António and Capelas, in addition to the Churches of São Sebastião and São Pedro in Ponta Delgada.[4]

Originally (until 1960), Bretanha consisted of the three parishes of Remédios, Ajuda and Pilar. But, on 13 December 1960, Remédios was deannexed (under Decree 43/392) to form its own parish.

On 12 June 2002, following a survey of the populations of Bretanha and existing territorial requirements, the civil parishes of Ajuda and Pilar were created from the extinction of the historical parish of Bretanha.[5] On the 25 February 2008, the official heraldry and coat-of-arms were officially presented by president of the Junta Freguesia.[6]


The parish borders the crater of Sete Cidades to the south and Atlantic Ocean to the north, falls between Mosteiros and Pilar da Bretanha; coastal cliffs dominate the ocean border, while sloping towards the crater (an area that includes mostly forested tracts and pasture-lands).

On its creation, Ajuda da Bretanha was defined in the following terms: its northern border included the maritime coast; its southern frontier the Cumeeiras das Sete Cidades; to the east along the border with Remédios, classified under Decree Law 43/392 (13 December 1960); and to the west, along a line that begins at the coast and follows coincident with the waters of the Grota da Lomba Grande, to the south, following the Grota da Lomba Grande and the service access of the Caminho da Lomba Grande, following this road east until it intersects the Lomba Grande once more.[7] Continuing south, the frontier accompanies the same margin and Caminho da Lomba Grande until the Cumeeiras das Sete Cidades.[7]


A farmer along one of the interior rural roadways leading to pastures in Bretanha

The economy of the parish is driven by agriculture and dairy-raising, although forestry does occur in the interior. In addition, a small commercial and tourist economy does exist in this community, although the economy is more subsistence oriented then the remaining parishes in Ponta Delgada.



  • Windmill of Pico Vermelho (Portuguese: Moinho de vento no Lugar do Pico Vermelho),[8] re-inaugurated on 13 August 2013, the windmill was reopened to the public after a period of remodelling, as part of a local tourist initiative for the civil parish, the windmill was an important part of the agricultural history of the community.[9]


  • Church of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda (Portuguese: Igreja Paroquial de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda da Bretanha/Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda), little is known of the history of this temple, except what could be gathered from its clergy; its first vicar was Afonso de Sampaio (began his service in 1527), and until 1640/1646 the church was dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Natividade (Our Lady of the Nativity).[10] In 1634, Gaspar de Carvalho was vicar, receiving payment of money and three-and-a-half moios of wheat in compensation, a pattern that was repeated by 1730, when António da Silva e Sousa received similar compensation in wheat.[10] Around 1737, the clergy that occupied this temple spent considerable funds to decorate the church.[10][11]



During the month of August, Ajuda celebrates the feast of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos, with its principal religious ceremonies on August 15. From the parochial church, apart from celebrating masses in Her honor, a typical religious procession winds through the roads in the parish, accompanied by the traditional philharmonic bands.[3]

In addition, the tradition festivals from the Divine Holy Spirit are celebrated annually from the beginning of May to the end of June in the traditional impérios of the parish.[3]

At the beginning of the year, the feast day of Saint Anthony the Great is also celebrated on January 17.

Notable citizens


  1. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. ^ Eurostat
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Direcção Regional das Comunidades (2010), p.10
  4. ^ O Património perto de si?: Órgãos Históricos dos Açores (PDF) (in Portuguese), Ponta Delgda (Azores), Portugal: Direcção Regional de Cultura/Açoriano Oriental, 6 May 2012, retrieved 12 December 2012 
  5. ^ ALRA (2002), p.1
  6. ^ DRA (6 November 2008), p.45856
  7. ^ a b ALRA (2002), p.2
  8. ^ Noé, Paula (2002), SIPA, ed., Moinho de vento no Lugar do Pico Vermelho (PT072103230044) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 12 December 2012 
  9. ^ GRA, ed. (13 August 2013). "Moinho do Pico Vermelho aberto ao público é mais-valia para a Ajuda da Bretanha e para o turismo, diz Vítor Fraga" (in Portuguese). Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal: Regional Government of the Azores. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c Pereira, Cláuda F.N. (24 June 2011), Igreja (in Portuguese), Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal, retrieved 12 December 2012 
  11. ^ Noé, Paula (2002), SIPA, ed., Igreja Paroquial de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda da Bretanha/Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda (PT072103230041) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 12 December 2012 
  • DRC, ed. (2010). Festas das ilhas de São Miguel e Santa Maria 2010 [Festivals of the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria 2010] (in Portuguese). Ponta Delgada, Azores: Direcção Regional das Comunidades. pp. 10–11. 
  • ALRA, ed. (12 June 2002), Decreto Legislativo Regional 24/2002: Criação das Freguesias de "Pilar da Bretanha" e "Ajuda da Bretanha", no Concelho de Ponta Delgada (PDF), Horta (Azores), Portugal: Regional Legislative Assembly of the Azores, retrieved 12 December 2012 
  • Junta de Freguesia da Ajuda da Bretanha, Edital 1087/2008: Ordenação Heráldica Brasão, Bandeira e Selo (PDF) (in Portuguese), Série II (216), Lisbon, Portugal: Diário da República, 6 November 2008 
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