Cape Verde ( ( listen)) or Cabo Verde ( ( listen), ) (Portuguese: Cabo Verde, pronounced [ˈkabu ˈveɾdɨ]), officially the Republic of Cabo Verde, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. It forms part of the Macaronesia ecoregion, along with the Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Savage Isles. In ancient times these islands were referred to as "the Islands of the Blessed" or the "Fortunate Isles". Located 570 kilometres (350 mi) west of the Cape Verde Peninsula in West Africa, the islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi).
The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited until the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the islands, establishing the first European settlement in the tropics. Ideally located for the Atlantic slave trade, the islands grew prosperous throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, attracting merchants, privateers, and pirates. The end of slavery in the 19th century led to economic decline and emigration. Cape Verde gradually recovered as an important commercial center and stopover for shipping routes. Incorporated as an overseas department of Portugal in 1951, the islands continued to campaign for independence, which was peacefully achieved in 1975.
Since the early 1990s, Cape Verde has been a stable representative democracy, and remains one of the most developed and democratic countries in Africa. Lacking natural resources, its developing economy is mostly service-oriented, with a growing focus on tourism and foreign investment. Its population of around 540,000 is mostly of mixed European, Moorish, Arab and African heritage, and predominantly Roman Catholic, reflecting the legacy of Portuguese rule. A sizeable diaspora community exists across the world, slightly outnumbering inhabitants on the islands.
Historically, the name "Cape Verde" has been used in English for the archipelago and, since independence in 1975, for the country. In 2013, the Cape Verdean government determined that the Portuguese designation Cabo Verde would henceforth be used for official purposes, such as at the United Nations, even in English contexts. Cape Verde is a member of the African Union.
The Raso Lark (Alauda razae) is a small passerine bird with a highly restricted range, being found only on Raso islet in the Cape Verde Islands. This critically endangered member of the Alaudidae lives in highly arid terrain, and is considered one of the least known birds in the western Palaearctic region, due to its remoteness and the lack of much ornithological study on the archipelago as a whole.
The Raso Lark is restricted to one small island in the Cape Verde group, although historically it is believed to have ranged over two other islands, Branco and Sao Vicente Island; all three of these islands were joined in the last Ice Age. Branco island itself has no permanent water and has never been inhabited by people, a fact that has probably saved the lark from extinction until now.
The Cape Verdean Island of Fogo
Fogo (Portuguese for "fire") is an island in the Sotavento group of Cape Verde. It is the most prominent of the group, rising to nearly 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above sea level at Mount Fogo.
The island is located between the islands of Santiago and Brava. Practically the whole island is an active volcano that has been periodically active, last erupting in 1995, forming a new crater called Pico Pequeno. Its largest feature is a 9 km wide caldera, which has walls 1 km high. The caldera has a breach in its eastern rim, and a large peak rises in the centre. The central cone Pico forms the highest point of the island and its summit is about 100 m higher than the surrounding wall of the caldera. Lava from the volcano has reached the eastern coast of the island within historical times.
A small village, called Chã das Caldeiras, exists at the base of the volcano, and the residents are periodically evacuated during eruptions.
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Cesária Évora (Portuguese pronunciation: [sɨˈzaɾiɐ ˈɛvuɾɐ]; born Mindelo, São Vicente Island, Cape Verde, 27 August 1941), is a Cape Verdean popular singer. Nicknamed the “barefoot diva” for her preference for performing without shoes, Évora is perhaps the best internationally-known practitioner of morna.
Cesária Évora lost her father at the age of seven. After his death, Cesária's mother struggled to support her on meager earnings as a cook, eventually entrusting Cesária to the care of an orphanage. It was in the orphanage choir that Cesária first learned to sing.
At 16, Cesária met a Cape Verdean sailor named Eduardo who taught her the traditional Cape Verdean styles of music of coladeiras and mornas.
Yachts in Porto Grande, Mindelo on the island of São Vicente. Tourism is a growing source of income on the islands.
Insulae Capitis Viridis (1598), showing Cape Verde
A satellite photo of the Cape Verde islands, 2010
Grain ship Garthpool, wrecked at Boavista, Cape Verde, in 1928
Fundação Amílcar Cabral, in Praia
Freedom Avenue in Assomada, near the town square
Cachupa, typical Cape Verdean dish
Palácio da Justiça - Palace of Justice, in Praia
A kindergarten graduation in Santiago island
Santo Antão island landscapes
A proportional representation of Cape Verde's export products
Map of countries with Cape Verdean embassies
Cape Verdean national flag carrier TACV
Cape Verde's population, (1961–2003)
The beach of Calhau, with Monte Verde in the background, on the island of São Vicente
View of downtown Mindelo in Baía do Porto Grande, São Vicente
A health clinic in a residential area of Praia
Big binde and small binde for making cuscuz
Marines of the Cape Verdean Coast Guard
Handicraft made with coconut shells
Praia da Chave, Cape Verde
Did you know?
- ...as Adelina Domingues was born in Cape Verde (though she later emigrated to the United States), she may be considered to hold the overall longevity record at 114 years, 183 days (February 19, 1888–August 21, 2002) for the Cape Verde Islands.
- ...more Cape Verdeans live abroad than in Cape Verde itself, with significant emigrant Cape Verdean communities in the United States (500,000), Portugal (80,000) and Angola (45,000), in addition to São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, France, Brazil, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.