With a geographical area of 16.98 km², which includes Santana, the small town of Rabo de Peixe borders on the ocean and on the parishes of Calhetas, Pico da Pedra, Ribeira Seca and Santa Bárbara (municipality of Ribeira Grande), Livramento (municipality of Ponta Delgada) and Cabouco (municipality of Lagoa).
While it remains unknown how or when this small town was first settled, it is believed that Rabo de Peixe, together with Ribeira Grande, formed a parish around the 15th century. On April 25th, 2004, Rabo de Peixe was elevated to small-town status, thereby attaining one of its greatest aspirations.
Its name derives from the fact that one of its strips of land resembles a fish tail, or, as expressed by 16th-century Azorean chronicler Gaspar Frutuoso, "because back then the big tail of an unknown large fish was found there."
Rabo de Peixe is the largest fishing port in the Azores and the most populous small town in the municipality of Ribeira Grande.
From its architectural heritage, the most notable monument is its parish church, devoted to Senhor Bom Jesus (the Good Lord Jesus). The date of its construction is unknown. What is known is that it replaced another church that stood there in 1522. Designed with harmonious lines, the church's main structure comprises three naves. The inside contains a beautiful chancel with 18th-century carvings, a painting of Saint Peter that is credited to master artist Vasco Fernandes (1480-1543) and a magnificent Crucified Christ made of ivory.
The feast day and procession in honour of São Pedro Gonçalves (Saint Peter Gonçalves), patron saint of fishermen, are commemorated at this church on the sixth Sunday after Easter.
Along with the church, the parish also comprises the following temples of worship: the chapel of Saint Sebastian, one of the greatest examples of 18th-century "Micaelense" (São Miguel’s island) style religious architecture, whose interior is covered with azulejo (glazed tiles) from that same period; the chapel of "Nossa Senhora do Rosário" (Our Lady of the Rosary), a 16th-century structure successively rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries, located at Alto do Rosário, providing a spectacular view overlooking the coast extending from this parish to the parish of Capelas; the chapel of "Nossa Senhora da Conceição" (Our Lady of the Conception) (18th century) or "da Conceição das Vinhas" (of the Conception of the Vineyards), with an altar adorned with azulejo (glazed tiles) and an image of the patron saint of its founding; the chapel of Sant’Ana, located in an edifice belonging to the family of Manuel Coutinho, at Caminho Velho de Santana; as well as the chapel of "Nossa Senhora do Perpétuo Socorro" (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) (20th century), located in an estate, with its interior containing a beautiful image of the "Virgem do Perpétuo Socorro" (Virgin of Perpetual Help) with the sandal of the "Menino Deus" (Divine Infant) loosened from his foot.
As an interesting aside, it should be noted that "lugar de Santana," a vast expanse of plains, was turned into a military airfield during World War II (1939/45), which was used in civil aeronautics in 1946, with the installation of the first airport on the island of São Miguel (Saint Michael).
Demographic chart of Ribeira Grande Parishes