Cape Verde, Africa
República de Cabo Verde
Republic of Cape Verde
Quick Facts About the Country
Capital - Praia
Government - republic
Currency - Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)
Area - 4,033 sq km
Population - 408,760 (July 2002 est.)
Language - Portuguese, Crioulo
Religion - Roman Catholic (infused with indigenous beliefs); Protestant (mostly Church of the Nazarene)
Electricity - 220V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code - +238
Internet TLD - .cv
Time Zone - UTC -1
The Republic of Cape Verde or Cape Verde (Portuguese: Cabo Verde) is a republic located on an archipelago in the Macaronesia ecoregion of the North Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa. The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century; they subsequently became a trading centre for African slaves. Most Cape Verdeans descend from both groups.
"Cape Verde" is named for Cap-Vert (meaning Green Cape), now in Senegal, the westernmost point of continental Africa.
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Weather and Climate
The islands are volcanic in origin, and all but three - Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio - are mountainous. The climate is tropical and dry, showing little variation throughout the year. The average temperature in Praia, the capital, ranges from 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) in January and 24° to 28°C (75° to 83°F) in July. Winds are frequent, occasionally carrying clouds of sand from the Sahara Desert in Africa to the east. Precipitation is slight and irregular. Average precipitation in Praia is 260 mm (10 in), nearly all of which falls from August through September.
(Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003)
Major Travel and Tourism Info (Travel Guide)
Praia – the country’s capital
Mindelo – a port city and probably the country’s liveliest
Cidade Velha (Ribeira Grande) – A World Heritage Site
The Island of Fogo volcano - The country's highest point (2,829 m)
Cape Verde (pop. 480.000) is located 500 km from the west coast of Africa. The once uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century; they subsequently became a trading center for African slaves and later an important coaling and re-supply stop for whaling and transatlantic shipping. Independence was achieved in 1975.
Most Cape Verdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents.
The national holiday is the 5th of July, Independence Day.
Traveling by Plane
International flights land at the island of Sal, 70km (110 miles) northeast of the capital.
There are regular flights from Amsterdam, Boston (weekly), Fortaleza (Brazil) (weekly), Lisbon (daily), Madrid, Milan, Munich and Oporto operated by TACV.
Cape Verde is also serviced by Air Senegal (from Dakar), SAA (from South Africa) and TAP airlines.
There are only infrequent, expensive connections to the mainland.
Language and Communication
The official language is Portuguese. Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words) is widely spoken.
Crime rates are relatively low. The emergency number is 132.
The telephone system is effective and improving. There is mobile phone coverage. The country also has one internet service provider.
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History in Brief: Summary
Cape Verde was uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived in 1456, and the islands were thus made part of the Portuguese empire. Due to its location off the coast of Africa, Cape Verde became an important watering station, then sugar cane plantation site, and later a major center of the slave trade.
In 1975, the islands achieved independence, partially due to the efforts of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). After independence, the PAIGC attempted to unite Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau into one nation, the PAIGC controlling both governments, but a coup in the latter nation in 1980 ended these plans. In Cape Verde itself the PAICV (affiliated with the PAIGC) governed until democratic elections were held in 1991 that resulted in a change of government. The MpD (Movimento para a Democracia) won that election and it was re-elected in 1996. The PAICV returned to power in 2001,and they achieved the re-election in 2006.
Cape Verde continues to exhibit one of Africa's most stable democratic governments. Repeated droughts during the second half of the 20th century caused significant hardship and prompted heavy emigration. As a result, Cape Verde's expatriate population is greater than its domestic one. Most Cape Verdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents.
(Wikimedia Foundation, Inc and The World Factbook 2006)
Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003
The World Factbook 2006
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc