São Nicolau, Cape Verde

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São Nicolau
Nickname: Ilha de Chiquinho
Bela-vista-net-Sao Nicolau-map.jpg
São Nicolau is located in Cape Verde
São Nicolau
São Nicolau
Geography
LocationAtlantic Ocean
Coordinates16°36′54″N 24°16′16″W / 16.615°N 24.271°W / 16.615; -24.271
Area343 km2 (132 sq mi)
Length44.5 km (27.65 mi)
Width22.0 km (13.67 mi)
Highest elevation1,312 m (4,304 ft)
Highest pointMonte Gordo
Administration
Cape Verde
Concelhos (Municipalities)Ribeira Brava, Tarrafal de São Nicolau
Largest settlementRibeira Brava
Demographics
Population12,424[1]:36 (2015)
Pop. density36.2 /km2 (93.8 /sq mi)
A cobblestone-paved road with the view of the island's mountain.
Coast of the island of São Nicolau
Tarrafal de São Nicolau fishing boat

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 12,424 (2015),[1]:36 with an area of 343 km².[1]:25 The main towns are Ribeira Brava and Tarrafal de São Nicolau.

History[edit]

The island was discovered in 1461 or 1462 by Diogo Afonso, together with the islands of São Vicente and Santo Antão.[2]:73 It was first settled in the seventeenth century. The settlement Porto de Lapa was abandoned in 1653 due to pirate attacks, and the town Ribeira Brava was founded in the interior.[3]:16 It was the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde between 1786 and 1943.[3]:28 The roadstead of Tarrafal de São Nicolau became an anchorage for whaling ships in the 19th century. It is now the largest settlement of the island.[4]:14-16

Geography[edit]

The mountainous island is mostly agricultural but is subject to droughts, especially in the lower lying areas. The highest point on the island is Monte Gordo (1,312 m), in the western half of the island.[4]:20 The eastern part is a chain of lower mountains, including Monte Bissau and Pico de Alberto.

Administrative divisions[edit]

The island is divided in two municipalities, which are subdivided into civil parishes:

Before 2005, the island was administrated as one municipality: São Nicolau.[5]

Demography[edit]

In the 1830s, São Nicolau had an estimated population of 5,000.[6]

Population of São Nicolau (1940—2015)
Year Population
1940[7]
14,846
1950[7]
10,366
1960[7]
13,866
1970[7]
16,308
1980[7]
13,572
1990[7]
13,665
2000[7]
13,536
2010[8]
12,817
2015[1]:36
12,424

Transportation[edit]

The island has a domestic airport, São Nicolau Airport, located between Ribeira Brava and Preguiça. There is a port at Tarrafal de São Nicolau, with ferry connections to the islands of São Vicente (Mindelo) and Santiago (Praia).[9]

Notable residents[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Cabo Verde, Statistical Yearbook 2015, Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. ^ Valor simbólico do centro histórico da Praia, Lourenço Conceição Gomes, Universidade Portucalense, 2008
  3. ^ a b Inventário dos recursos turísticos do município de Ribeira Brava de São Nicolau, Direcção Geral do Turismo
  4. ^ a b Inventário dos recursos turísticos do município do Tarrafal de São Nicolau, Direcção Geral do Turismo
  5. ^ Lei nº 67/VI/2005, p. 61
  6. ^ Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 14.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Source: Statoids
  8. ^ 2010 Census Summary
  9. ^ Cabo Verde Fast Ferry's website

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 16°36′54″N 24°16′16″W / 16.615°N 24.271°W / 16.615; -24.271