Ericeira

A huge window to the sea

Dominated by South for the Mountain of Sintra, Ericeira has on its feet four beaches bathed by the Atlantic. This privileged localization makes that the village receives thousand of holidaymakers, in search of the sun, of beaches, of the immense landscape beauty.

Says the legend that the name Ericeira means, in its origin “land of hedgehog”, due to the numerous sea urchin that abounding in the beaches. However, more recent inquiries point the hedgehog and not the sea urchin as the inspiration of the name. With the discovery of a unit of the old blazon of the Village, today in Museum Archives of Misericórdia, it was confirmed that the animal drawn there is, for sure, a hedgehog, species that evoke the Phoenician goddess Astarte. This gives reason to the previously advanced thesis by Manuel Gandra, according to which the origin of the people of the Ericeira remounts to the Phoenicians.

The history of the Ericeira remounts, thus, about 1000 B.C.
Its first charter date of 1229, granted for then the Grand Master of the Order of Aviz, Dom Frei Fernão Rodrigues Monteiro, who thus instituted the Council of the Ericeira.

It is in the letter of charter that the first references to the fishers of Ericeira appear, being property in possession the care of the legislator in warning the rights and duties of those who were under the guardianships of the donees:” (…) Concerning the fishing, give the twentieth part of the fished killed to the sea. Of twelve fishes, take one for the conduit before giving the twentieth part, and if you kill conger, eat it.

Of the fished that you find deceased, do not pay. Of whale, give the twentieth part. Porpoises and dolphins, without impediment, in hunger occasions (…)”.

In the XIII century, the whale, porpoise and dolphin were the most fished species, and, in XVI century, the ray, turbot and the hake.

In 1547, D. João III grants to the fishers of Ericeira, the permission to sell the fish “by eye”, without accurate measurement, custom kept 30 years ago.

In Guide of Council of Mafra (www.mafra.net)

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