Place:Caldas da Rainha, Leiria, Portugal


NameCaldas da Rainha
Coordinates39.4°N 9.133°W
Located inLeiria, Portugal
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Caldas da Rainha is a medium-sized city in western central Portugal in the historical province of Estremadura and the district of Leiria. The city serves as the seat of the larger municipality of the same name and of the Comunidade Intermunicipal do Oeste (OesteCIM, Intermunicipal Community of the West). At the 2011 census, the municipality had a population of 51,729 in an area of , with 27,378 residing in the city. Although the city itself lies about inland, three of the municipality's civil parishes lie on the Atlantic Ocean. Caldas da Rainha is best known for its sulphurous hot springs and ceramic pottery.

The settlement was founded in the 15th century by Queen Leonor (Rainha Dona Leonor), who established a hospital and a church at the site of some therapeutic hot springs. The Hospital Termal Rainha D. Leonor (Queen Leonor Spring Water Hospital, or Thermal Hospital) is the oldest purpose-built institution of its kind in the world, with five centuries of history. The city's name, often shortened to simply "Caldas", can be translated as "Queen's Hot Springs", "Queen's Spa", or "Queen's Baths".

Caldas da Rainha is home to many cultural institutions. The city's nine museums cover art, history, and cycling. Cultural and sports venues include Centro Cultural e de Congressos (CCC, Cultural and Conference Centre), a centre for performing arts, exhibitions, and conferences; Expoeste – Centro de Exposições do Oeste (Exhibition Centre of the West), which hosts exhibitions and festivals; a bullring; several football (soccer) pitches; and a multi-sport municipal complex. Caldas hosts six professional and higher-educational institutions, including a major arts and design school and a school devoted to ceramics. In 2014 Caldas da Rainha had the best public secondary school in Portugal based on national test scores.

It is known by the famous character Saint Gonças, victim of an oppressive regime.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Early years

Caldas da Rainha was part of the ancient region Lusitania, inhabited by ancient Romans who took advantage of sulphurous waters sprouting in the region. Barbarian invasions destroyed most of the Roman-built baths. By the 13th century, the springs were known as "caldas de Óbidos", after the nearby town. At this time, a Benedictine order looked after the needs of the poor and cared for the lepers and rheumatics, who sought the healing waters. With the disbandment of the order by the 15th century, the area fell into disrepair.

Queen Leonor (Rainha Dona Leonor, in Portuguese), the wife of King João II, is credited as the founder of Caldas da Rainha.[1] One day in 1484, while traveling from Óbidos to Batalha, she happened upon a group of peasants bathing in foul-smelling waters by the roadside. The queen stopped to inquire about this oddity, and the bathers told her that the waters possessed curative powers. She decided to try them and was pleased to find that she was quickly relieved of an unknown affliction that she had been suffering. On that site, the queen ordered a hospital built so that others could enjoy the same relief. Construction began the following year, and although the first patients were admitted in 1488, the works were not completed until about 1496 or 1497. To finance the hospital and its adjoining church, the queen sold her jewels and used income from her landholdings.[2] The name of the settlement that grew around the site and became Caldas da Rainha refers to both its founder and the reason for its existence. The city's name can be translated as "Queen's Hot Springs", "Queen's Spa", or "Queen's Baths". The settlement's waters remain its major claim to fame.

On 21 March 1511, King Manuel I, brother of Queen Leonor,[1] conferred the status of town (vila) upon Caldas da Rainha. In 1821, it was made a municipality (concelho or município).

Twentieth century

In 1901 and 1902, Caldas da Rainha welcomed 350 Boer men, women, and children who sought refuge from the ravages of the Second Boer War in their South African homeland. Initially housed in the thermal hospital, the refugees were transferred to the park pavilions at the onset of the bathing season. Some rented rooms in town, marveling at the low rates.

During World War I, in which Portugal joined the Allies, Caldas had one of three internment camps in the country. In 1916, most Germans in Portugal were deported, but men aged 15–45 were imprisoned to prevent their joining the German military. Originally, all of the approximately 700 prisoners were shipped to Angra do Heroísmo, on Terceira Island in the Azores, where they were held at the Fortress of São João Baptista. In 1918, to reduce overcrowding at the fortress, 168 internees were moved to Caldas, where they stayed in military barracks located at the Parque D. Carlos I (Pavilhões do Parque). The prisoners were released the following year, after the end of the war.

On 26 April 1919, President João do Canto e Castro granted the town the title of Dame of the Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit (Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada do Valor, Lealdade e Mérito). Unlike other places similarly honoured, Caldas did not add the honour's collar to its coat of arms. The town was elevated to the status of city (cidade) in August 1927.

During World War II, in which Portugal remained neutral, hundreds of Jewish refugees came to Caldas da Rainha to escape Nazism. Caldas also served as home to British and American airmen who landed or crashed in Portugal or off its coast. In January 1943, 230 Britons resident in Axis power Italy were evacuated to Caldas, where they were expected to stay until the end of the war. Most of these evacuees were over 65 years of age and had resided in Italy for a long time.

In a prelude to the Carnation Revolution, in the early morning of 16 March 1974, the Fifth Infantry Regiment (Regimento de Infantaria 5), based in Caldas da Rainha in what is now the School of Army Sergeants (Escola de Sargentos do Exército), attempted to stage a coup d'état against the country's authoritarian Estado Novo regime. Thirty officers and about 300 sergeants and enlisted men from the regiment left their quarters at 4:00 a.m., heading for Lisbon, where they planned to occupy the airport. On approaching the capital, the Caldas regiment found themselves alone, realizing that the other units supposed to participate in the coup had not joined the upheaval. The regiment turned back and reached their Caldas quarters at around 10:00 a.m., locking themselves in and awaiting a siege. The compound was surrounded by various forces, which penetrated the base at about 5:00 p.m. The revolters were arrested and sent to various military prisons, where they were held until the Carnation Revolution on 25 April 1974, 40 days later.


Caldas da Rainha's coat of arms was granted by Queen Leonor, before municipal coats of arms were typically used in Portugal. The centre of the city's arms consist of the queen's personal arms, flanked on the right by a shrimping net, to commemorate the fishermen who rescued her drowning son Prince Afonso, and on the left a pelican feeding its young, a symbol of her husband, King João II. Because of its early introduction, several elements of the arms violate Portuguese heraldic standards. The municipal flag consists of the coat of arms on a purple and yellow gyronny.

The municipality adopted a logo for marketing purposes, to project an image of "relevant historical tradition", "current dynamism", and "enormous potential in culture, economy, commerce, and tourism". The logo shows a stylised outline of Queen Leonor's crowned head in blue tones, representing the city's historical connection with water. Below the queen's image, the municipality's name appears in all caps in Eras Light. Below this "Câmara Municipal" is written in Gill Sans.[3]

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