Fortress of Cacheu
Location in Guinea-Bissau
Coordinates: 12°16′14″N 16°09′57″W / 12.27056°N 16.16583°W / 12.27056; -16.16583
RegionCacheu Region
44 m (144 ft)
 (2009 census)
 • Total9,882

Cacheu is a town in northwestern Guinea-Bissau, lying on the Cacheu River. Its population was estimated to be 9,849 as of 2008.[1]

History and landmarks

See also: Portuguese Guinea

The town of Cacheu is situated in territory of the Papel people. The name is of Bainuk origin: "i.e. Caticheu, meaning 'the place where we rest'."[2]

Founded in 1588,[3] Cacheu was one of the earliest European colonial settlements in sub-saharan Africa, due to its strategic location on the Cacheu river. Cacheu developed a European/Afro-European population from the late fifteenth century through informal settlement of Cape Verdian and Portuguese traders, adventurers and outcasts (lançados). The authorities in mainland Portugal also sent to Cacheu degredados - people condemned to exile for a variety of offences.[4]

For most of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Cacheu was the official slave trading point for the Portuguese in the Upper Guinea region - the point at which the Portuguese crown endeavoured to ensure that duties on all slaves exported were paid. Multiple companies were established to facilitate the trade of slaves from Cacheu to the New World, including that of the Company of Cacheu and Rivers and Commerce of Guinea.

Notable buildings in Cacheu include the Portuguese-built 16th century fort, dating from the period when Cacheu was a centre for the slave trade.

Cacheu Today

Roads in the town are paved with oil palm kernels. Other attractions in the town include the Tarafes de Cacheu Natural Park mangrove swamp and a regular market.

International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Guinea-Bissau

Twin towns – Sister cities

Cacheu is twinned with:


  1. ^ World Gazetteer Archived October 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved on June 16, 2008
  2. ^ Philip J. Havik, Silences and Soundbites: The Gendered Dynamics of Trade and Brokerage in the Pre-colonial Guinea Bissau Region (LIT Verlag Münster, 2004; ISBN 3825877094), p. 57, citing Cissoko, paper presentation at 5th Centenary Conference 'Cacheu, Cidade Antiga', Cacheu, 1988.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Disney, AR (2009). A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire. 2. Cambridge University Press. pp. 51–55.
  5. ^ "Lisboa - Geminações de Cidades e Vilas" [Lisbon - Twinning of Cities and Towns]. Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses [ National Association of Portuguese Municipalities] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-08-23.
  6. ^ "Acordos de Geminação, de Cooperação e/ou Amizade da Cidade de Lisboa" [Lisbon - Twinning Agreements, Cooperation and Friendship]. Camara Municipal de Lisboa (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2013-08-23.

Coordinates: 12°16′N 16°10′W / 12.267°N 16.167°W / 12.267; -16.167