Cape Verde

Cape Verde Africa Travel Tips – Cape Verde travel guide, Cape Verde attractions, Cape Verde destinations, Cape Verde travel tips, Cape Verde tourism and more. Other details and information about Cape Verde Africa Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cape Verde, is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central […]

Cape Verde Africa Travel Tips – Cape Verde travel guide, Cape Verde attractions, Cape Verde destinations, Cape Verde travel tips, Cape Verde tourism and more.

Other details and information about Cape Verde Africa

Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cape Verde, is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres (350 miles) off the coast of Western Africa. The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi), are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are generally rockier and have more vegetation.

The name of the country stems from the nearby Cap Vert, on the Senegalese coast, which in its turn was originally named “Cabo Verde” when it was sighted by Portuguese explorers in 1444, a few years before the islands were discovered (verde is Portuguese for “green”).


Cape Verde Flag:

Cape Verde Country Information:

Capital
(and largest city) Praia
14°55′N 23°31′W
Official languages Portuguese
Recognised regional languages Cape Verdean Creole
Ethnic groups (Sep 2012)

75% Creole (mulatto)
20% African
5% European

Demonym Cape Verdean
Government Parliamentary republic
– President Jorge Carlos Fonseca
– Prime Minister José Maria Neves
Legislature National Assembly
Independence
– from Portugal July 5, 1975
Area
– Total 4,033 km2 (172nd)
1,557 sq mi
– Water (%) negligible
Population
– 2010 estimate 567,000 (165th)
– 2009 census 509,000
– Density 125.5/km2 (89th)
325.0/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2012 estimate
– Total $2.167 billion
– Per capita $4,112.256
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
– Total $1.941 billion
– Per capita $3,682.006
HDI (2011) Increase 0.568 (medium) (133rd)
Currency Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)
Time zone CVT (UTC-1)
– Summer (DST) not observed (UTC-1)
Drives on the right
Calling code +238
ISO 3166 code CV
Internet TLD .cv

More About Cape Verde

Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cape Verde, is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres (350 miles) off the coast of Western Africa. The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi), are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are generally rockier and have more vegetation.

The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century, and became important in the Atlantic slave trade for their location. The islands’ prosperity often attracted privateers and pirates, including Sir Francis Drake, a corsair (privateer) under the authority of the English crown, who twice sacked the (then) capital Ribeira Grande, in the 1580s. The islands were also visited by Charles Darwin’s expedition in 1832. The decline in the slave trade in the 19th century resulted in an economic crisis for the islands. With few natural resources, and without strong sustainable investment from the Portuguese, the citizens grew increasingly discontented with the colonial masters, who nevertheless refused to provide the local authorities with more autonomy. A budding independence movement culminated in 1975, when a movement originally led by Amílcar Cabral (who was assassinated on 20 January 1973) then passed onto his half-brother Luís Cabral, achieved independence for the archipelago.

The country has an estimated population (most of them creole) of about 500,000, with its capital city Praia accounting for a quarter of its citizens. Nearly 38% of the population lives in rural areas according to the 2010 Cape Verdean census. The literacy rate is around 85%. Politically, the country is a very stable democracy, with notable economic growth and improvements of living conditions despite its lack of natural resources, and has garnered international recognition by other countries and international organizations, which often provide development aid. Since 2007, Cape Verde has been classified as a developing nation.

Tough economic times during the last decades of its colonization and the first years of Cape Verde’s independence led many to emigrate to Europe, the Americas and other African countries. This emigration was so significant that the number of Cape Verdeans and their descendants living abroad currently exceeds the population of Cape Verde itself. Historically, the influx of remittances from these emigrant communities to their families has provided a substantial contribution to help strengthen the country’s economy. Currently, the Cape Verdean economy is mostly service-oriented with a growing focus on tourism and foreign investment, which benefits from the islands’ warm climate throughout the year, diverse landscape and cultural wealth, especially in music.

Etymology

The name of the country stems from the nearby Cap-Vert, on the Senegalese coast, which in its turn was originally named “Cabo Verde” when it was sighted by Portuguese explorers in 1444, a few years before the islands were discovered (verde is Portuguese for “green”).

History

Possible classical references

Cape Verde may be referred to in the works “De choreographia” by Pomponius Mela (died 45 CE/AD) and “Historia naturalis” by Pliny the Elder (died 79 CE/AD). They called the islands “Gorgades” in remembering the home of the mythical Gorgons killed by Perseus and afterwards – in typically ancient euhemerism – interpreted (against the written original statement) as the site where the Carthaginian Hanno the Navigator slew two female “Gorillai” and brought their skins into the temple of the female deity Tanit (the Carthaginian Juno) in Carthage.

According to Pliny the Elder, the Greek Xenophon of Lampsacus states that the Gorgades (Cape Verde) are situated two days from “Hesperu Ceras” – today called Cap-Vert, the westernmost part of the African continent. According to Pliny the Elder and his citation by Gaius Julius Solinus, the sea voyage time from Atlantis crossing the Gorgades to the islands of the Ladies of the West (Hesperides) is around 40 days.

The Isles of the Blessed written of by Marinos of Tyre and referenced by Ptolemy in his Geographia may have been the Cape Verde islands.

Possible visits from Africa

The Portuguese explorers discovered the islands in 1456 and described the islands as uninhabited. However, given the prevailing winds and ocean currents in the region, the islands may well have been visited by Moors or Wolof, Serer, or perhaps Lebou fishermen from the Guinea (region) coast. Folklore suggests that the islands may have been visited by Arabs, centuries before the arrival of the Europeans. The Portuguese writer and historian Jaime Cortesão (1884—1960) reported a story that Arabs were known to have visited an island which they referred to as “Aulil” or “Ulil” where they took salt from naturally occurring salinas. Some believe they may have been referring to Sal Island.

European discovery and settlement

In 1456, Alvise Cadamosto discovered some of the islands. In the next decade, Diogo Gomes and António de Noli, captains in the service of prince Henry the Navigator, discovered the remaining islands of the archipelago. When these mariners first landed in Cape Verde, the islands were barren of people but not of vegetation. The Portuguese returned six years later to the island of São Tiago to found Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha), in 1462—the first permanent European settlement city in the tropics.

In Spain the Reconquista movement was growing in its mission to recover Catholic lands from the Muslim Moors who had first arrived in the 8th century. It was however in 1492 that the Spanish Inquisition emerged in its fullest expression of anti-Semitism. It spread to neighboring Portugal where King João II and especially Manuel I in 1496, decided to exile thousands of Jews to São Tomé, Príncipe, and Cape Verde.

The Portuguese soon brought slaves from the West African coast. Positioned on the great trade routes between Africa, Europe, and the New World, the archipelago prospered from the transatlantic slave trade, in the 16th century.

The islands’ prosperity brought them unwanted attention in the form of a sacking at the hands of many pirates including England’s Sir Francis Drake, who in 1582 and 1585 sacked Ribeira Grande. After a French attack in 1712, the city declined in importance relative to Praia, which became the capital in 1770.

Decadence
Droughts and famines

In 1747 the islands were hit with the first of the many droughts that have plagued them ever since, with an average interval of five years. The situation was made worse by deforestation and overgrazing, which destroyed the ground vegetation that provided moisture. Three major droughts in the 18th and 19th centuries resulted in well over 100,000 people starving to death. The Portuguese government sent almost no relief during any of the droughts.
Abolition of the slave trade

The 19th-century decline of the lucrative slave trade was another blow to the country’s economy. The fragile prosperity slowly vanished. Cape Verde’s colonial heyday was over.

Emigration to USA
It was around this time that Cape Verdeans started emigrating to New England. This was a popular destination because of the whales that abounded in the waters around Cape Verde, and as early as 1810 whaling ships from Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the United States (U.S.) recruited crews from the islands of Brava and Fogo.
Mindelo’s Harbour

At the end of the 19th century, with the advent of the ocean liner, the island’s position astride Atlantic shipping lanes made Cape Verde an ideal location for resupplying ships with fuel (imported coal), water and livestock. Because of its excellent harbour, Mindelo (on the island of São Vicente) became an important commercial centre during the 19th century, mainly because the British used Cape Verde as a storage depot for coal which was bound for the Americas. The harbour area at Mindelo was developed by the British for this purpose. The island was made a coaling and submarine cable station, and there was plenty of work for local labourers. This was the golden period of the city, where it gained the cultural characteristics that made it the current cultural capital of the country. However, during World War II, the economy collapsed as the shipping traffic was drastically reduced. As the British coal industry went into decline in the 1980s, this source of income dried up, and Britain had to abandon its Cape Verdean interests — which ended up being the final strike to the highly dependent local economy.

Nationalism
Although the Cape Verdeans were treated badly by their colonial masters, they fared slightly better than Africans in other Portuguese colonies because of their lighter skin. A small minority received an education and Cape Verde was the first African-Portuguese colony to have a school for higher education. By the time of independence, a quarter of the population could read, compared to 5% in Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau).

This largesse ultimately backfired on the Portuguese, however, as literate Cape Verdeans became aware of the pressures for independence building on the mainland, while the islands continued suffering from frequent drought and famine, at times from epidemic diseases and volcanic eruptions, and the Portuguese government did nothing. Thousands of people died of starvation during the first half of the 20th century. Although the nationalist movement appeared less fervent in Cape Verde than in Portugal’s other African holdings, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC, acronym for the Portuguese Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde) was founded in 1956 by Amílcar Cabral and other pan-Africanists, and many Cape Verdeans fought for independence in Guinea-Bissau.

But in 1926, Portugal had become a rightist dictatorship which regarded the colonies as an economic frontier, to be developed in the interest of Portugal and the Portuguese. Frequent famine, unemployment, poverty and the failure of the Portuguese government to address these issues caused resentment. And the Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar wasn’t about to give up his colonies as easily as the British and French had given up theirs. After World War II, Portugal was intent to hold on to its former colonies, since 1951 called overseas territories. When most former African colonies gained independence in 1957/1964, the Portuguese still held on. Consequently, following the Pijiguiti Massacre, the people of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau fought one of the longest African liberation wars.

After the fall (April 1974) of the regime in Portugal, widespread unrest forced the government to negotiate with the PAIGC, and on July 5, 1975, Cape Verde finally gained independence from Portugal.

Post-Independence
Immediately following a November 1980 coup in Guinea-Bissau (Portuguese Guinea declared independence in 1973 and was granted de jure independence in 1974), relations between the two countries became strained. Cape Verde abandoned its hope for unity with Guinea-Bissau and formed the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Problems have since been resolved, and relations between the countries are good. The PAICV and its predecessor established a one-party system and ruled Cape Verde from independence until 1990.

Responding to growing pressure for a political opening, the PAICV called an emergency congress in February 1990 to discuss proposed constitutional changes to end one-party rule. Opposition groups came together to form the Movement for Democracy (MpD) in Praia in April 1990. Together, they campaigned for the right to contest the presidential election scheduled for December 1990. The one-party state was abolished September 28, 1990, and the first multi-party elections were held in January 1991. The MpD won a majority of the seats in the National Assembly, and the MpD presidential candidate António Mascarenhas Monteiro defeated the PAICV’s candidate by 73.5% of the votes cast to 26.5%. He succeeded the country’s first President, Aristides Pereira, who had served since 1975. Legislative elections in December 1995 increased the MpD majority in the National Assembly. The party held 50 of the National Assembly’s 72 seats. A February 1996 presidential election returned President António Mascarenhas Monteiro to office. The December 1995 and February 1996 elections were judged free and fair by domestic and international observers.

In the presidential election campaign of 2000 and 2001, two former prime ministers, Pedro Pires and Carlos Veiga were the main candidates. Pires was the Prime Minister during the PAICV regime, while Veiga served as prime minister during most of Monteiro’s presidency, stepping aside only when it came time for campaigning. In what might have been one of the closest races in electoral history, Pires won by 12 votes, he and Veiga each receiving nearly half the votes.

Geography
The Cape Verde archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 570 kilometres (350 mi) off the coast of West Africa, near Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania, and is part of the Macaronesia ecoregion. It lies between latitudes 14° and 18°N, and longitudes 22° and 26°W.

The country is a horseshoe-shaped cluster of ten islands (nine inhabited) and eight islets, that constitute an area of 4033 km².

The islands are spatially divided into two groups:

The Barlavento Islands (windward islands): Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, Boa Vista; and
The Sotavento Islands (leeward): Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava.

The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, which hosts the nation’s capital, Praia, the principal agglomeration in the archipelago. The oldest exposed rocks occurred on Maio and northern peninsula of Santiago and are 128-131 million year old pillow lavas. The first stage of volcanism in the islands began in the early Miocene, and reached its peak at the end of this period, when the islands reached their maximum sizes. Historical volcanism (within human settlement) has been restricted to the island of Fogo.

The origin of the islands’ volcanism has been attributed to a hotspot, associated with bathymetric swell that formed the Cape Verde Rise. The Rise is one of the largest protuberances in the world’s oceans, rising 2.2 kilometers in a semi-circular region of 1200 km², associated with a rise of the geoid and elevated surface heat flow.

Most recently erupting in 1995, Pico do Fogo is the largest active volcano in the region. It has a 8 km (5 mi) diameter caldera, whose rim is 1,600 m (5,249 ft) altitude and an interior cone that rises to 2,829 m (9,281 ft) above sea level. The caldera resulted from subsidence, following the partial evacuation (eruption) of the magma chamber, along a cylindrical column from within magma chamber (at a depth of 8 km (5 mi)).

Extensive salt flats are found on Sal and Maio. On Santiago, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau, arid slopes give way in places to sugarcane fields or banana plantations spread along the base of towering mountains. Ocean cliffs have been formed by catastrophic debris avalanches.

According to the president of Nauru, Cape Verde has been ranked the eighth most endangered nation due to flooding from climate change

Climate

Cape Verde’s climate is milder than that of the African mainland because the surrounding sea moderates temperatures on the islands. Average daily high temperatures range from 23 °C (73 °F) in January to 29 °C (84.2 °F) in September. Cape Verde is part of the Sahelian arid belt, with nothing like the rainfall levels of nearby West Africa. It does rain irregularly between August and October, with frequent brief-but-heavy downpours. A desert is usually defined as terrain which receives less than 250 mm (9.8 in) of annual rainfall. Cape Verde’s total (265 mm (10.4 in)) is slightly above this criterion, which makes the area climate semi-desert.

Sal, Boa Vista and Maio have a flat landscape and arid climate, the remaining ones are generally rockier and have more vegetation. However, because of the infrequent occurrence of rainfall the overall landscape is not particularly green. The archipelago can be divided into four broad ecological zones: arid, semiarid, subhumid and humid, according to altitude and average annual rainfall ranging from 200 mm in the arid areas of the coast to more than 1000 mm in the humid mountain. Mostly rainfall precipitation is due to condensation of the ocean mist.

In some islands, as Santiago, the wetter climate of the interior and the eastern coast contrasts with the dryer one in the south/southwest coast. Praia, located on the southeast coast, is the largest city of the island, and also the largest city and capital of the country.

Because of their proximity to the Sahara, most of the Cape Verde islands are dry, but on islands with high mountains and farther away from the coast, by orography, the humidity is much higher, providing a rainforest habitat, although much affected by the human presence. Northeastern slopes of high mountains often receive a lot of rain while southwest slopes do not. These umbria areas are identified with cool and moisture. Some islands, with steep mountains, are covered with vegetation where the dense ocean moisture condenses and soaks the plants, rocks, soil, logs, moss etc.

Hurricanes that form near the Cape Verde Islands are sometimes referred to as Cape Verde-type hurricanes. These hurricanes can become very intense as they cross warm Atlantic waters.

Economy

Cape Verde is a small archipelagic nation that lacks resources and has experienced severe droughts. Agriculture is made difficult by lack of rain and is restricted to only four islands for most of the year. Most of the nation’s GDP comes from the service industry. Cape Verde’s economy has been steadily growing since the late 1990s, and it is now officially considered a country of average development, being only the second country to have achieved such transition, after Botswana in 1994. Cape Verde has significant cooperation with Portugal at every level of the economy, which has led it to link its currency (the Cape Verdean escudo) first to the Portuguese escudo and, in 1999, to the euro.

Resources

Cape Verde’s low per capita GDP reflects a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought. During periods of normal rainfall, only 4 of 10 islands (Santiago, Santo Antão, Fogo, and Brava) support significant agricultural production.

About 75% of food must be imported. Cape Verde annually runs a high trade deficit, financed by foreign aid and remittances from emigrants; remittances constitute a supplement to GDP of more than 20%. Economic reforms, launched by the new democratic government in 1991, are aimed at developing the private sector and attracting foreign investment to diversify the economy. Since 1991, the policies the government has pursued include an open welcome to foreign investors and a far-reaching privatization program.

Fish and shellfish are plentiful, and small quantities are exported. Cape Verde has cold storage and freezing facilities as well as fish processing plants in Mindelo, Praia, and on Sal. However, the fishing potential, mostly lobster and tuna, is not fully exploited.

The economy is service-oriented, with commerce, transport, and public services accounting for almost 70% of the GDP. Although nearly 35% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of agriculture in GDP in 2010 was only 9.2% (up from 8.9% in 1995); of the 1998 total, fishing accounts for 1.5%.

The Cape Verdean government established the top priorities for development as the promotion of a market economy and of the private sector; the development of tourism, light manufacturing industries, and fisheries; and the development of transport, communications, and energy facilities. In 1994-95 Cape Verde received a total of about U.S.$50 million in foreign investments, of which 50% was in industry, 19% in tourism, and 31% in fisheries and services. Prospects for 2000 depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, remittances, and the momentum of the government’s development program.

Mineral Industry
Mining is an insignificant contributor to the country’s economy. Most of the country’s mineral requirements are imported. As of 2007, production of mineral commodities was limited to clay on the islands of Boa Vista, Sal, and São Vicente; gypsum and iron ore on the island of Maio; limestone on the islands of Boa Vista, Sal, and Santo Antão; pozzolana on the island of Santo Antão; and salt on the islands of Maio and Sal. Cape Verde was not a natural gas or petroleum producer as of 2007

Transportation
Cape Verde’s strategic location at the crossroads of mid-Atlantic air and sea lanes has been enhanced by significant improvements at Mindelo’s harbor (Porto Grande) and at Sal’s international airport. Ship repair facilities at Mindelo were opened in 1983, and the harbors at Mindelo and Praia were recently renovated. The major ports are Mindelo and Praia, but all other islands have small port facilities, some of which are to be expanded in the near future. In addition to the international airport on Sal, airports are located on all of the inhabited islands. The archipelago has 3,050 kilometers (1,830 mi.) of roads, of which 1,010 kilometers (606 mi.) are paved. The new Praia International Airport is currently operative.

Demographics
The official Census recorded that Cape Verde had a population of 491,875 in 2010.

The majority of the population is creole (mixed black and white descent). A genetic study revealed that the ancestry of the population in Cape Verde is predominantly European in the male line and West African in the female line; counted together the percentage is 57% African and 43% European.

Around 95% of the population is Christian. More than 85% of the population is nominally Roman Catholic, though for a minority of the population Catholicism is syncretized with African influences. The largest Protestant denomination is the Church of the Nazarene; other groups include the Seventh-day Adventist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assemblies of God, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and other Pentecostal and evangelical groups. There is a small Muslim community. There were Jewish settlements on several islands. The number of atheists is estimated at less than 1% of the population.

Cape Verde’s official language is Portuguese. It is the language of instruction and government. However, the Cape Verdean Creole is used colloquially and is the mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans. Cape Verdean Creole or Kriolu is a dialect continuum of a Portuguese-based creole, which varies from island to island. There is a substantial body of literature in Creole, especially in the Santiago Creole and the São Vicente Creole. Creole has been gaining prestige since the nation’s independence from Portugal. However, the differences between the forms of the language within the islands have been a major obstacle in the way of standardization of the language. Some people have advocated the development of two standards: a North (Barlavento) standard, centered on the São Vicente Creole, and a South (Sotavento) standard, centered on the Santiago Creole. Manuel Veiga, PhD, a linguist and Minister of Culture of Cape Verde, is the premier proponent of Kriolu’s officialization and standardization.

Health
Health care in Cape Verde is limited, as medical facilities and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. There are hospitals in Praia, Mindelo and São Filipe on the island of Fogo, with smaller medical facilities in other places. One of the most important hospitals of Cape Verde is Agostinho Neto Hospital in Praia with about 350 beds. In several residential areas of Praia and in many towns there are health clinics and pharmacies. The islands of Brava and Santo Antão no longer have functioning airports so air evacuation in the event of a medical emergency is nearly impossible from these two islands. Brava also has limited inter-island ferry service, but there is a pharmacy and a small health clinic in the town Vila Nova Sintra.

Malaria exists in Cape Verde, although not to the extent found in mainland Africa. The risk of contracting malaria is mainly limited to the island of Santiago, with a higher risk from July to December. In 1997, the gross primary enrollment rate was 148.8 percent. Primary school attendance rates were unavailable for Cape Verde as of 2001. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children’s participation in school. Textbooks have been made available to 90 percent of school children, and 90 percent of the teachers have attended in-service teacher training.

Although most children have access to education, some problems remain. For example, many students and some teachers speak Cape Verdean Creole at home and have a poor command of Portuguese (the language of instruction); there is insufficient spending on school materials, lunches, and books; and there is a high repetition rate for certain grades. A popular dish served in Cape Verde is Cachupa, a slow cooked stew of corn (hominy), beans, and fish or meat.
Sports

Although the Cape Verde national football team represents Cape Verde abroad, many internationally known football players were born in Cape Verde, or were descendants of Cape Verdeans, and play for other nation’s teams. Several currently play, or have played, in the Portuguese league or national team, such as Nani (Manchester United), Jorge Andrade (Porto, Juventus) Rolando (Napoli on loan from Porto), and Nélson (Benfica, Real Betis, Osasuna and now Palermo).

Henrik Larsson (whose father is Cape Verdean) played for Sweden, Patrick Vieira (whose mother is Cape Verdean) and Patrice Evra (whose mother is Cape Verdean) played for France, Luc Castaignos (whose mother is Cape Verdean) plays for Netherlands (youth levels), while Gelson Fernandes (who was born in Praia) plays for Switzerland.

On Sunday, October 14, 2012, the team qualified for their first ever Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Cameroon. Cape Verde were drawn into Group A of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, alongside Angola, Morocco and the host nation South Africa.

The Cape Verde national football team, nicknamed either the Tubarões Azuis (Blue Sharks) or Crioulos (Creoles), is the national team of Cape Verde and is controlled by the Federação Caboverdiana de Futebol.

Cape Verde is famous for wave sailing (a type of windsurfing) and kiteboarding. Josh Angulo, a Hawaiian and 2009 PWA Wave World Champion, has done much to promote the archipelago as a windsurfing destination. Cape Verde is now his adopted country. Mitu Monteiro, a local kitesurfer, was the 2008 Kite Surfing World Champion in the wave discipline.