Set on a sandy beach, Praia da Vitória is Terceira’s second city. And, the beach with its black sand looks out on the clear and Atlantic ocean. It is lined with small eateries and fishing boats, and is bathed in sun year-round in the mild climate of the Azores.
But, in July 1581, the town earned its name “Victory Beach,” as Spanish fleet of ten ships, anchored off the beach in Salga Bay. One thousand soldiers came ashore, and were met by hand-to-hand resistance by the locals. An Augustinian Friar called Pedro turned the tide of the battle, by releasing wild bulls against the Spaniards so as to scatter them. The island had and has a strong tradition of bull fighting and running of the bulls, so there was no shortage of fierce Iberian fighting bulls. Over a thousand head of cattle were quickly gathered and driven against the enemy positions. The terrified Spaniards fell back and were pursued to the beach, where almost all of them lost their lives in the fighting or drowned while trying to reach their boats.
So, the sunny, pleasant Bach will forever be know as the place where local courage, and angry bulls turned back the army of Spain.