Praia da Vitória (pron. , "Victory Beach" in Portuguese) is a municipality in Portugal's Autonomous Region of the Azores (Portuguese: Região Autónoma dos Açores). It is located on the eastern fringe of the island of Terceira.
It is the second largest municipality on the island, after Angra do Heroísmo. Until 1981, when the Azorean Parliament passed an act elevating Praia da Vitória to the rank of city ("cidade" in Portuguese), the town was also known as Vila da Praia da Vitória (in Portuguese "vila" means a small town and is the title given to all capitals of municipalities which are not cities).
Settled in the early 15th century around a natural harbor and being the most important settlement in the fertile Terceira Island flatland known as the "Ramo Grande" area, and then an important wheat producing center, was designated a "vila" (i.e. the seat of a municipality) of the Portuguese realm in 1480.
The harbor was the scene of a naval battle in 1829 between the Liberals and the Absolutists, competing factions in support of King Pedro IV and King Miguel, respectively, during the Liberal Wars. The Liberals won a decisive victory, and the town, then known only as Praia (beach in Portuguese) was granted by royal decree the name Praia da Vitória (Victory Beach) in honor of the victory. This was the last battle to be fought in Portugal.
The town boasts two notable churches, several public squares, and a number of hotels and restaurants. It is popular with windsurfers because of the constant stiff seabreeze. It edges up against a low mountain ridge called Facho (Portuguese for Torch, because in its top a primitive lighthouse and lookout place against pirates, and later a marine and military semaphoric signal station, operated for about 400 years), and a large public park atop the ridge affords excellent views of the surrounding countryside and the Atlantic Ocean.
Lajes Air Base, a joint United States and Portuguese air force base, lies three kilometers to the north of the town. American servicemen frequent the restaurants and clubs in the town and add considerably to the local economy.
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