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Santiago, Cape Verde. Author Gagum. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution
Santiago, Cape Verde. Author Gagum

Cape Verde: an archipelago of volcanic islands

The Islands of Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) are an archipelago of volcanic origin located 600 km to the west coast of Africa. The islands were discovered in the fifteenth century by Portuguese navigators. At that time the islands were uninhabited and were colonized by the Portuguese, starting in 1462.

The archipelago is composed of two groups of islands: to the north are the Barlavento islands, which include the islands of Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal and Boa Vista in addition to some smaller islands; to the south are the Sotavento islands, which include the islands of Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava.

The island of Santiago with 991 sq km is the largest island of Cape Verde. Here live about one half of the population of the archipelago. Praia, the capital of the nation, is situated here. The islands’ territory is largely barren. Most islands are mountainous. The highest peak is located on the island of Fogo with a still active volcano: the Pico do Fogo with 2,829 m.

Cape Verde Map

Cape Verde Map

The islands’ economy depends heavily on the outside world. Despite the dry soil and low rainfall agriculture is the most important sector of the economy. Fishing and tourism are also important activities. The Cape Verde islands possess beautiful beaches and fascinating landscapes. The population is usually very friendly.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 4,033 sq km: arable land 11%, pastures 6%, forests and bushland 1%, uncultivated and unproductive land 83%
  • Population: 500,000 (as of 2008): Creols (mixed Portuguese/Africans) 71%, Blacks 27%, Europeans 2%.
  • State Capital: Praia.
  • Official Language: The official language is Portuguese. Portuguese Creole is spoken by all inhabitants.
  • Religion: Christians 97%: Catholics 93% and Protestants 4%.
  • Currency: Cape Verdean Escudo (CVE)
  • Time Zone: UTC-1 hour.

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