Sal, Cape Verde
|Native name: Dja d’ Sal’|
|Area||216 km2 (83 sq mi)|
|Length||35 km (21.7 mi)|
|Width||12 km (7.5 mi)|
|Highest elevation||406 m (1,332 ft)|
|Highest point||Monte Vermelho|
|Largest settlement||Espargos, Cape Verde|
|Density||165 /km2 (427 /sq mi)|
Sal (Portuguese for “salt” — from the mines at Pedra de Lume) is an island in Cape Verde. It belongs to the northern group of islands, called Barlavento, and comprises a single administrative division, the Sal municipality. The island is home to Amílcar Cabral International Airport, the main airport of Cape Verde.
The island was discovered on December 3, 1460 and named Llana until salt deposits were found. Sal is the geologically oldest island in Cape Verde, formed 50 million years ago during the eruption of a volcano which is now inactive.
The island is 35 km long by 12 km wide. It is one of the three sandy eastern islands (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) of the archipelago, with white sandy beaches and fairly flat. The highest elevation of 408 m is at Monte Grande. Serra Negra has a height of 92 m.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Sal Island has on average 350 days of sunshine a year. Winds mainly blow from the northeast. However,some days do also have clouds, but they tend to be scattered and seldom bring rain. The 'rainy season' is from July to mid-October, although rainfall is still low.
As of 1832, the population was estimated at 400 people.
|Population of Sal, Cape Verde (1940—2010)|
Sal’s main town, Cidade dos Espargos, is home to one of the nation’s international airports and has around 32,000  inhabitants. Its population grew around salt collection and later shifted to fishing, but is now based on tourism (amounting to 50% of the archipelago’s tourism) at the beach resort of Santa Maria. The living standards on the island is among the best in the Cape Verde archipelago. The island's GDP per capita as of July 2015 is roughly US$7068,00.
Its airport, Amílcar Cabral International Airport, was used as a refuelling base by South African Airways on its Johannesburg to London routes. This was necessitated by the refusal of Black African states to the North to grant overflying permission and direct routing to and from Europe during apartheid. Later, flights to and from New York and Atlanta also refuelled there, and the island was a crew-change station. SAA established the long runways needed by the fully fueled Boeing 747s on their take-offs in the high temperatures. On July 1, 2006, SAA operated its final flight to Sal due to the ending of its flights to Atlanta.
Saline marshes can be found in the Pedra de Lume crater and north of Santa Maria.
The major roads on the island are:
- Santa Maria - Espargos Road
- Palmeira - Espargos Road
- Pedra de Lume - Espargos Road
- Espargos - Reguinho Fiúra Road
There are six inhabited centers:
- Pedra de Lume, on the eastern coast, is the most ancient, and the home of the first salt workers. Today it is only a small village with few inhabitants.
- Palmeira is a fishing village, built around a port situated on the opposite coast of the island. It is also a small village but is growing. Palmeira is also home to the island of Sal's port.
- Espargos (pop: 20,173 (2010)) for the town, 1,000 including Hortelã and Preguiça) is the main urban center and is situated between Pedra de Lume and Palmeira. It was formed around the international airport named after Amílcar Cabral (IATA airport code SID) located in the heart of the island.Is also the Capital of the Island.
- Terra Boa is the only place on the island where agriculture can be found on a large scale, as the island is very dry, mainly because it has no mountains to induce rainfall. This place is situated north of Espargos, around 6km.
- Murdeira is a tourist village resort, which is growing in population.
- Santa Maria (pop: 15,000 (2010), which was a former salt working village, is now the tourism center of the island, there you can find one of the most beautiful beaches of Cape Verde and Duns. Santa Maria is the main attraction and is growing fast.
Other inhabited settlements are:
- Feijoal, 5 km west of Pedra de Lume.
- Fontona, south of Palmeira.
- Reguinho Fiúra, a remote village near a lighthouse and overlooking Ponta Norte, the island's northernmost point.
- "BBC". BBC. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 17.
- Source: Statoids
- Source: Instituto Nacional de Estatísticas.
- Source: Instituto Nacional de Estatísticas.
- List of cities in Cape Verde
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