It is located in the southwestern part of the island of Santiago. The municipality was created in 2005, when two parishes of the old Municipality of Praia separated to become the Municipality of Ribeira Grande of Santiago.
The ancient city of Ribeira Grande de Santiago (Old Town) is one of the oldest European settlements in sub-Saharan Africa. It was an important port for the slave trade from West Africa to the Americas. The city and the fort have been listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2009.