Although the history of Esposende and its council, as an administrative unit, starts in the second half of the sixteenth century, ever since Mankind as left his marks in its 95 km2.
“The permanence or traces of Men´s passage; the places where they lived, loved and died; the places where they raised symbols to their Gods or in memory to others of their kind, fascinated visitors and researchers.
…It’s by traveling all over the costal region, climbing up the hills and enjoying the interior upland, that we’ll be able to feel the vibrations of the myths and realities of other ages.
Besides some remarkable monuments that lead us from pre-historical ages to the end of the Middle Age, it’s in the beginning of the sixteenth century, with a strong incidence in the eighteenth century, that Esposende sees it’s territory occupied by beautiful and interesting monuments representative of our civil, military and religious heritage. They are signs of a mighty economy, supported by the high amount of gold coming from Brazil, which, in part, transformed the council landscape.
There aren’t many places where ancient stones, sometimes forgotten, sometimes wisely studied, show us traces of the passage of Mankind thrugh the lands of Foz do Cávado. From pre-historical ages, where nomadism obstructed a better record, Esposende offers to visitors the S. Paio de Antas (IIP) and S. Bartolomeu do Mar (IIP) menhirs, as well as an appreciable number of dolmens among which we may pointing out, the one of Rapido, the one of Portelagem and the one of Cruzinha, all placed at Vila Chã.
Silex lithic instruments, ceramic vases, necklace remainings, ornament objects or even shaped pebbles are relevant traces of our distant past, constituting, nowadays, an important part of our national and regional museums, even the embellishing Esposende municipal museum.
A for pre-roman culture (“Castro”), occupying a special role on the north Portugal, we point out “Castro de S. Lourenço” and “Suvidade de Belinho”. The first one as been an occupied area since the I a.C. until the IV d.C.
About the first villages it can be said that it was an area occupied since I b.C. until, at least, the IV a.C. Among others, a priceless ceramic and numismatic set, went to Esposende municipal museum.
Those villages worshiped roman pantheon Gods, namely Dea Sancta.
In the middle age, aside Eira D'Ana’ tomb dig on rock in Palmeira de Faro or “Arcaz em Estola” in Forjães, the message from that era is brought to us by the outstanding necropolis of Fão, one of the most important medieval graveyards in the Iberian Peninsula. There are more than two hundred tombs remaining, full of history reveled by the well conserved skeletons and coins from the beginning of Portuguese monarchy.
Around the XVI century it was built a small castle on the top of the S. Lourenço hill, from which only remains pieces of walls ruined by the passage of time, and from where we can see the outstanding sightseeing 14 Km of coast.
Fão arises, during the middle age, as one of the most important salter center in the region. The real benefits succeed.
The Cávado river witness, next to it’s mouth, the grow up of two villages that adore it and make it their home. Fão and Esposende will, through out the centuries, dispute between them the art of naval construction and primacy of naval trade.
The XV century changes deeply Esposende Council history.”
"...From a small village Esposende became, little by little, home of a comfortable population; from scattered couples, settled here and there according to the localization of fertile soils, side by side residences emerge in a restricted area.