São Nicolau, Cape Verde
|Native name: Sanic’lau
Nickname: Ilha de Chiquinho (island of Chiquinho)
|Area||388 km2 (149.8 sq mi)|
|Length||45 km (28 mi)|
|Width||20 km (12 mi)|
|Highest elevation||1,340 m (4,400 ft)|
|Highest point||Monte Gordo|
|Concelhos (Municipalities)||Ribeira Brava, Tarrafal de São Nicolau|
|Largest city||Ribeira Brava|
São Nicolau (Portuguese meaning Saint Nicholas) is one of the Barlavento (Windward) islands of Cape Verde. It is located between the islands of Santa Luzia and Sal. Its population is 12,864, with an area of 388 km². Its economy consists mainly of agriculture as well as fishing and tourism near its beaches. Much of the population is rural. Preguiça Airport is located to the south between Vila da Ribeira Brava and Campo.
First inhabited in the sixteenth century, it is known for its mountains and for its main town, Ribeira Brava, long the seat of the Cape Verde diocese. Its other town is the ferry and the fishing port of Tarrafal. A famine affected the entire island in the 1940s which lead to emigration, mainly to São Tomé and Príncipe.
The mountainous island is mostly agricultural but is subject to droughts. The flat areas and hills dominate most of the coastline and the central part. A peninsula covers the eastern part of the island. The highest point on the island is Monte Gordo (1,312 m). Other mountains include Monte Bissau in the central part and Pico do Alberto to the east.
Municipally São Nicolau is divided in two municipalities: Ribeira Brava Municipality and Tarrafal de São Nicolau Municipality. It was originally one municipality: São Nicolau. The split took place in 2005.
The municipality formerly included the parishes of São João Baptista and Santo André. Today it administers only one parish. Tarrafal de São Nicolau, covering the western part of the island, split from the rest of the island creating its own municipality. It now covers the northern and the eastern portions of the island.
As of 1832, São Nicolau had an estimated population of 5,000.
Attractions and amenities
São Nicolau has a few schools or collegiates (colegio), a few lyceums (middle schools), a gymnasium (secondary schools), churches, beaches, ports, a post office and squares (praças).
- Amandio Cabral (b. 1934) - singer
- Teofilo Chantre (b. 1964) - musician
- Antonio Gominho - a Capeverdean writer
- Baltasar Lopes da Silva (April 23, 1907 - May 28, 1989 in Mindelo)
- José Lopes da Silva (pseudonym: Gabrial Mariano, (1928–2003), poet and an essayist
- Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 17.
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