Descoberta no dia de São Vicente em 1462, pelo navegador português Diogo Gomes, a ilha ficou despovoada durante muitos anos devido à falta de água. Foi só em 1838, quando se estabeleceu um depósito de carvão para abastecimento dos navios em rota pelo Atlântico na baía do Porto Grande, que a população se começou a fixar, fundando-se a cidade do Mindelo.
The island became an obligatory stopover in the middle of the Atlantic for ships from all over the world and sailors of many nationalities socialized in the taverns and cafes of Mindelo. By that time, the city had become an important and cosmopolitan cultural center where music, literature and sport were cultivated. The hypothesis of transferring the capital of Cape Verde to Mindelo was even suggested.
The cycle lasted only a few decades, because with the replacement, at the beginning of the sec. XX of coal for diesel as fuel for ships, the important port lost its preponderance. Later, the island gained new momentum as a transatlantic connection point for submarine telegraph cables. From the golden age, the city of Mindelo retains a relatively well-preserved historic center, where colonial-style architecture predominates, with the Governor’s Palace being a good example. The Liceu Nacional Infante D. Henrique (current Jorge Barbosa School), was of enormous importance in the development of Cape Verdean national consciousness, having studied many of the workers of national independence there, including Amílcar Cabral and the former President of the Republic Pedro Pires.[/ expander_maker]