Belmonte is a municipality almost as old as the nationality. The village of Belmonte had a foral in 1199 and is situated in the panoramic Monte da Esperança (Old Montes Crestados), on whose Rocky Hill was built in the finals of the century. XII its castle, which together with the castles of Sortelha and Vila de Touro, formed until the signing of the Treaty of Alcanices (1297), the defensive line of Alto Côa, backed by the natural wall of Serra da Estrela and the valley of the Zêzere. Because it was time for wars against Leoneans and Castelhanos, the castle of Belmonte was being improved in the rets of D. Afonso III, D. Dinis and D. João I. The bravery and loyalty of the family of the Cabrais was always legendary and feared, especially that of his first alcaide-Mor-Fernon Cabral, who once appointed definitively and hereditary, in 1466 by D. Afonso V, will transform the castle into a manor house Fortified, where his son Pedro Álvares Cabral will live his first years of life. In the Séc. XIII is the existence of an already prosperous Jewish community, responsible for the existence of a synagogue that remains an inscription dated 1296, which would probably live in a Jewish quarter located in the current neighborhood of Morocco. As a consequence of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, by the Catholic Kings it is probable that this community has increased, until in 1496, D. Manuel I decreed the forced conversion to Catholicism, followed by a series of persecutions and the creation of a community Crypto-Jewish that has survived over the centuries, keeping its rituals and traditions. It is still the same monarch who in 1510 renews the foral of Belmonte. In 1989 it was officially created the Jewish community of Belmonte, whose synagogue was inaugurated in 1997, is currently one of the few communities with Rabi.
Man has occupied these lands since prehistory as they atone to the megalithic vestiges of about 6000 years in the parishes of Inguias and Caria. Equally important are the signs of proto, which assume new concepts and strategies of occupation of the territory. At this time, the peaks of mountainous reliefs are privileged as a form of territorial dominance and social ostentation. It is the example of the Castro of Chandeirinha, in the Serra da Senhora da Esperança. Truly striking in this county was the Roman presence. Effectively, the Romans attracted by the mining and agricultural richness of this region, soon realized the strategic and economic importance of this territory crossing it with pathways. The village of Quinta da Fornea is in the parish of Belmonte and Centum Cellae, in the parish of Colmeal da Torre. With its imposing tower is one of the most monumental sites of the Roman era of Portugal and has been the target of several historical and archaeological interpretations.
In 1199, D. Sancho I and the Bishop of Coimbra granted the charter of Foral to Belmonte in order to “populate and restore”, thus assuring the political control of the region by the Portuguese crown.
In 1258, D. Afonso III granted the bishop of Coimbra, D. Egas TAFEs, Authorization for the construction of the Menage Tower and the castle in the lands of this county. In the Séc. XIII, Belmonte is already a village quite populated by Christians and Jews, justiing the existence of two churches (S. Tiago and Sta Maria) and a synagogue. The Military Administration (Alcaidaria) of Belmonte was handed over by this king to Aires Pires Cabral, of the Cabrais Manor family.
Following the Fernandinas wars and the crisis of 1383/85, given that “his Castello de Bellmonte he muy despoued by praying of this war,” D. João I would grant Belmonte, by letter of Couto to the bishop of Coimbra and, in 1397, to the family of Álvaro Gil Cabral , appointing the alcaide of the castle Luís Álvares Cabral, who inherited in Belmonte the Morgadio instituted by his aunt Maria Gil Cabral. In 1466, the Cabral family was permanently fixed in Belmonte, when the donation was inherited from the Alcaidaria-Mor of the castle to Fernon Cabral, also receiving a regal donation of all rents, forums and rights of the village of Belmonte, “interest and Homestead”.
On 1 June 1510 Belmonte received a new charter of Foral under the new Reading (1496-1520).
In 1527, Belmonte had the second largest population density in the district of Castelo Branco, and was a rural community dependent on livestock and agriculture and some trade mostly practiced by Jews.
Nevertheless the Cabrais would continue to assert themselves as political elite: between 1549 and 1550, to culminate a career in high positions of royal naming, D. Jorge Cabral would become the 15th Governor of India.