Cidade do Maio

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Cidade do Maio
Its adjacent saltpans of Cidade do Maio located northwest, its city limits runs in one portion
Its adjacent saltpans of Cidade do Maio located northwest, its city limits runs in one portion
Cidade do Maio is located in Cape Verde
Cidade do Maio
Cidade do Maio
Coordinates: 15°08′17″N 23°12′40″W / 15.138°N 23.211°W / 15.138; -23.211Coordinates: 15°08′17″N 23°12′40″W / 15.138°N 23.211°W / 15.138; -23.211
Country Cape Verde
Island Maio
Municipality Maio
Civil parish Nossa Senhora da Luz
Elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 2,971

Cidade do Maio (Portuguese for Maio City), also known as Porto Inglês (English Port), is a city in the southwestern part of the island of Maio in southeastern Cape Verde. It is the main urban settlement of the island, and also seat of the Maio Municipality. The population has doubled between 1990 and 2010 and was 2,971, its estimates has reached over 3,000. Between 1975 in 2015, before it became a city, it was known as Vila do Maio.

About the city[edit]

The city is still (colloquially) known by its old name, Porto Inglês (pre-1945 spelling: Porto Inglêz, Portuguese for "English port", the official name until 1975), in opposition of the older Porto Português (present day Calheta). the older name was that 17 English ships a year visited Maio to transport salt to England until the 19th century, England had a great influence on salt trade. Salt is produced in small amounts today, it is exported to Guinea-Bissau.

The port of Cidade (formerly Vila) do Maio (once known as the English Port) has ferry services to the island of Santiago with Praia and Boa Vista with Sal Rei and is based hundreds of meters from the center and 1 km north has an airport). The city's main street is named Amílcar Cabral running from the center north to the airport, another main street is the one east to the island (EN3-MA01) as well as the perimeter (EN3-MA01) and the highway running in the west of the island (EN1-MA01) from the port up to Calheta Maio. The city has a secondary school named after the Cape Verdean-American singer Horace Silver located in the east.

The surrounding area consists of a desert and grassy landscape unlike the middle and east of the island, vegetation is not dense, saltmarshes known as Salinas of the English Port (English Port Saltpans) lie to the northwest which were used for salt mining. Most of the area are now as ponds, a small one near the city and west of the airport and a larger and longer one to the northwest. Its waters are served as a habitat for the bird, Kentish plovers. About 1 km south is Ponta Preta do Maio which is the southernmost point of the island.

Tourism is now one of the dominant factor of the city, large sized apartment complex and hotels dominate the north next to its airport, a small industrial area lies to the eastern portion.

Famous landmarks include Forte de São José and its adjacent lighthouse The Nossa Senhora da Luz (Our Lady of Light) church was first opened in 1872 and was financed by salt taxes. Located nearby is Praça Évora where a house once inhabited by António Évora is located, who he made its salt monopolies that occurred up to the 20th century.

Maio's first settlement was founded around before the 16th century and may be the second or third inhabited island, one of its first inhabitants were slaves who were as shepherds and supplied the meat and skins to Cidade Velha. Before the 16th century, cotton was produced on the island and was possibly the first or second in Cape Verde to grow cotton and inside the tropics west of the African mainland. It was the possibly the ruling center of the captaincy of Alcatrazes which was possibly Maio, first ruled in 1484 and ended around 1520 or 1530.

The place was mentioned as "St. Juan" (French: Saint-Jean or as Saint Jean, Portuguese São João) in the 1747 French/Dutch map by Jacques Nicolas Bellin.[2]

The inconclusive Battle of Maio was fought between British and French frigate squadrons close to the town on 23 January 1814 in the last stages of the Napoleonic Wars.


Panoramics include the south and west of the island, the main panoramic view is the island of Santiago which can be seen to the west. Also to the west is a little bit of the uppermost portion of the island of Fogo.


Sports clubs includes Académico 83, Onze Unidos, Beira Mar and Real Marítimo, each has a football (soccer) club and some also has a basketball, volleyball and now futsal. Its clubs play at Estádio Municipal 20 de Janeiro first moved from its former location in 2008 and is in the city's east part.

Historical population[edit]

Historical population
Year Population
1990 (June 23, Census) 1,573
2000 (June 16, Census) 2,673
2010 (Census) 2,971

City twinning[edit]

See also[edit]