About Cape Verde



Geographical Location of Cape Verde

Zona Historica Cidade VelhaThe Republic of Cape Verde is an archipelago located 455km (282mi) off the Western African coast between latitudes 14º 23' and 17º 12' North and longitudes 22º 40' and 25º 22' West. The territory extends 4,033Km2 (1,557sq mi) total.
The archipelago of Cape Verde consists in 10 islands and 8 islets, divided into two major groups according to the position facing the constant northeast winds: Barlavento Group (Windward), which includes the islands of Santo Antão (754Km2 / 291sq mi), São Vicente (228Km2 / 88sq mi), Santa Luzia (34Km2 / 13sq mi), São Nicolau (342Km2 / 132sq mi), Sal (215Km2 / 83sq mi) and Boa Vista (622Km2 / 240sq mi) and, the islets of Raso and Branco; ii) Sotavento Group (Leeward), which includes the islands of Maio (267km2 / 103sq mi), Santiago (992km2 / 383sq mi), Fogo (477km2 / 184sq mi) and Brava (65km2 / 25sq mi) and, the islet of Secos or de Rombo.
The archipelago of Cape Verde consists in 10 islands and 8 islets, divided into two major groups according to the position facing the constant northeast winds: Barlavento Group (Windward), which includes the islands of Santo Antão (754Km2 / 291sq mi), São Vicente (228Km2 / 88sq mi), Santa Luzia (34Km2 / 13sq mi), São Nicolau (342Km2 / 132sq mi), Sal (215Km2 / 83sq mi) and Boa Vista (622Km2 / 240sq mi) and, the islets of Raso and Branco; ii) Sotavento Group (Leeward), which includes the islands of Maio (267km2 / 103sq mi), Santiago (992km2 / 383sq mi), Fogo (477km2 / 184sq mi) and Brava (65km2 / 25sq mi) and, the islet of Secos or de Rombo.
Due to its geographical location, in front of the Sahel Belt, Cape Verde has an arid and semi-arid, hot and dry climate with scarce rainfall and an average annual temperature of 250C (770F). The rainy season is normally between July and October with some irregularities and brief-but-heavy downpour periods.

History


Cidade VelhaThe history begins with the discovery of Cape Verde in the XV century, more precisely in 1460. The Portuguese colonization started right after its discovery, Santiago and Fogo were the first islands to be inhabited. To encourage colonization, the Portuguese Court established a letter of privilege to the residents of Santiago allowing them exclusive access to the slave trade from the Guinea Coast. A trading post was established in Ribeira Grande – Santiago Island, where it became a stop over for Portuguese vessels and trafficking in the slave trade that started to grow. The country rapidly fell into decadency with the abolition of slavery and unfavorable climate conditions, resulting in a declining economy and livelihood.
In the XX century, beginning in the 50´s, with the emergence of liberation and independence movements all over the African continent, Cape Verde joined in the war for the liberation of Guinea. In 1956, Amílcar Cabral founded in Bissau the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). In 1973, one year before the Carnation Revolution in Portugal, Amílcar Cabral was assassinated. On December 19th, 1974, an agreement was signed between the PAIGC and Portugal introducing a transitional government in Cape Verde, the Government has prepared elections for a National Assembly. On July 5th, 1975 Cape Verde's independence was proclaimed, considered at the time by many as an unviable country, due to its own weaknesses. In 1991, the country began reforming its national political life, having held the first multiparty elections, establishing a parliamentary democracy.

Economy

Cidade VelhaDue to the inexistence of natural resources but with a favorable strategic position among the three continents, Cape Verde has defined tourism and services, with particular attention to the port and airport services as essential pillars of its development. A country highly dependent on imports, including petroleum products, Cape Verde has developed agriculture, essentially for domestic consumption, despite the effects of drought. Also, the exploration of marine resources is a strong component of Cape Verde's economy. Therefore, services represent 80% of GDP, agriculture 11% and, industry and energy 9%. The GDP per capita in 2006 was US$2,130. Money sent from emigrants and foreign aid help to increase development and are major components of the economic sector in Cape Verde. In 35 years of independence, Cape Verde has made considerable progress, particularly, in the growth of Gross Domestic Product – GDP. The growth rates of GDP have been on average 5.7% per year between 2000 and 2005 and according to 2006 data, 10.8%.

Population

Cidade VelhaThe National Institute of Statistics estimated in 2006 for Cape Verde a total population of 434,263 inhabitants with a large concentration in urban areas (55%) and, Santiago Island is the most populated, housing more than 50% of the inhabitants.
Projections of NIS in 2006 reveal the youthful characteristic of Cape Verde's population. The age group under 15 years old is 36% and less than 25 years old represents 58.9% of the population. Women are in the majority with 51%.
The scarcity of natural resources and its consequences for the economy has influenced the mobility of Cape Verde population, which is characterized as a nation of emigrants. Emigration has been occurring since the beginning of its history, a solution in search of better living conditions. It is estimated that the Cape Verde population living abroad is higher than inhabitants.
The annual rate of population growth and mortality are relatively low. The average life expectancy is between 62 and 65 years old respectively to men and women.