The origin of the name is due to its river (Ribeira Brava), which in times of rains had a very strong flow, causing, in the past, damages along the eight kilometers of the route.

Located on the southwest coast of the island of Madeira, Ribeira Brava is one of the oldest towns in Madeira. This locality, due to its orography, played a very important role in communications between all points of the island.

Beginning to settle in the early fifteenth century, between the first and second barracks, it was one of the first parishes of the island, soon created following the Funchal and Machico, shortly after the death of the infant D. Henrique in 1460.

The importance of the Ribeira Brava of its river was born, essential communication with the interior of the island and its sea port. It was then a port where the boats did not touch or anchor, but they did not. It was only between 1904 and 1908 that a small berth of landing and landing was built, and the rock to the east of the future village was built for access to the small landing area (now larger and allowing small and medium-sized boats to dock).

This municipality is the most recently created on the island of Madeira, created precisely in 1914, on the 6th of May, and received a village status in 1928, being the seat of a municipality.

It is composed of the parishes of Ribeira Brava, Serra de Agua and Ponta do Sol, dismembered from the Municipality of Ponta do Sol, and by Campanário, dismembered in turn from the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos. The municipality is limited to the north by the municipality of São Vicente, to the east by Câmara de Lobos, to the west by the Ponta do Sol and to the south it has coastline in the Atlantic ocean.

Ribeira Brava county, with an area of 65 km2, is formed by four parishes; Campanário, Ribeira Brava, Serra de Água and Tabua; Was created on May 6, 1914, to which the efforts of Viscount Ribeira Brava, Francisco Correia Herédia, contributed greatly. Due to his passion for the village, he later added the name Ribeira Brava to his name, becoming Francisco Correia de Heredia Ribeira Brava. The Visconde endowed the village with major improvements such as widening and opening streets, building a small theater and rebuilding the fort of S. Bento.

Ribeira Brava has the following twinning: São Nicolau in Cape Verde. A curiosity about this twinning is that on the island of São Nicolau there is a municipality with the same name as Ribeira Brava.


  • Gentílico ribeira-bravense
  • Area 65.10 km²
  • Population 12 494 inhab. (2001)
  • Population density 191.29 inhab./km²
  • Number of freguesias 4
  • Population: beginning of the century. XV
  • Elevation to the village and seat of county: May 6, 1914
  • Autonomous Region of Madeira
  • Old Town Funchal
  • Saint Benedict Orago
  • Public holiday June 29