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Corvo History

Although it is an isolated island with a small population and surrounded by steep cliffs, Corvo was at the mercy of North Atlantic piracy. The settlement and its small chapel were located along the coast close to a loose beach called Porto da Casa (an area easily accessible by pirates).

According to one account, while the men were in the hills looking after their flocks and the women were in their homes, a large group of pirates arrived in the settlement. The pirates fired on the settlement and were met by rocks thrown from the cliff-tops. During the battle the local vicar carried his small image of Nossa Senhora do Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary) into the battle. The statue had for many years been placed in the area of Porto da Casa but had recently been placed on the altar of the small chapel on the cliff. The battle was arduous, but the Corvinos were able to defeat the pirates capturing many weapons and even a Moor without a loss of life. It is said the victory was credited to the statue, which was of the patron saint of Corvo. The pirates retreated and went on to tell the story of a “Margarida” that deflected their bullets back at them.

That “Margarida” the story referred to was Nossa Senhora do Rosario, and eventually came to be known as to as Nossa Senhora dos Milagres (Our Lady of the Miracles). Today the statue is located in the parochial church.

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