Countries General Knowledge

Learn 10 Facts about Cape Verde islands

Cape Verde is a country of ten islands which is located in Central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa. The capital of Cape Verde is Praia. The currency used in Cape Verde is called Cape Verdean escudo. The national language of Cape Verde is Creole. Let’s learn 10 facts about this islander nation.

1. Cape Verde was colonised by Portuguese

The arrival of Portuguese in the 15 century allowed them to setup their settlement in these islands. They found that the location was perfect for the cross Atlantic slave trade. In the later years of the discovery by the Portuguese, the islands were used by privateers, pirates and merchants. At that time, Cape Verde was used extensively for slave trade; however, with the ban on slave trade in 19th century, the economy shrunk and forced people for emigration. These slaves were brought to the New World i-e the Americas.

2. Cape Verde Obtained Freedom in 1975 from Portugal

Portuguese had introduced education system in the Cape Verde, so when the country was about to get independence, a quarter of the people could read and write. Due to the epidemic and droughts, millions of people suffered in Cape Verde in the first half of the 20th century. At the same time, in the other African colonies of Portugal, people were asking for independence.

Portugal unlike France and Britain was reluctant to give freedom to its colonies; therefore, a massacre in Cape Verde paved the way for their liberation war against their colonial masters. Ultimately after the passage of electoral reforms, Cape Verde obtained freedom on 5th July 1975 from Portugal.

3. Portuguese is the official language of Cape Verde

Due to the long colonial rule, the local people can speak Portuguese. Other than that, Crioulo is also spoken in Cape Verde. Crioulo is a blend of Portuguese and West African languages. There are different dialects of Crioulo spoken on the islands. The locals feel that Crioulo should be taught in schools through regular courses.

Cape Verde Flag
Flag of Cape Verde aka Cabo Verde | Ten stars show the major islands of Cabo Verde

Around 71% of the ethnicity in Cape Verde consists of Creole whereas 28% are Africans.

4. Christianity is a major religion in Cape Verde

77.3% of people in Cape Verde follow Christianity. A small minority are protestants and Muslims. According to the recent estimates, the country consists of a population of 583,255 people. The residents are called as Cape Verdean or Cabo Verdean.

5. Cape Verde in 2013 changed its name to Cabo Verde

Back in the year 2013, Cape Verdean government decided to change the name of the country in official documents and for official purposes, such as participation in international organisations. The name change was carried out based on Portuguese designation Cabo Verde. The official name of Cape Verde after 2013 is Republic of Cabo Verde.

6. Economy of Cape Verde is Service Oriented

Tourism is the main component of the GDP of Cape Verde. It’s mostly dependant on the conditions of the European countries, as a majority of tourists head from Europe to these Atlantic islands. Further, transport plays an important role in the economy of Cape Verde.

Country is under a high trade deficit due to more imports as compared to the exports. The agriculture conditions in the islands is severely effected due to the spells of drought and lack of water.]

Fishing is one industry which can help the islands recover economy; however; so far not enough importance is given to this sector. A greater part of the economy can be turned around by inviting foreign investments.

The GDP of Cape Verde in 2013 stood at $3.7 billion, which is pretty meagre when compared with developed countries. Its external debt stood at $1.7 billion in the same year.

7. Cape Verde offers rich tourism experience

There are so many natural places which the islands of Cape Verde offer to the visiting tourist. One of these places is a volcano island called Fogo which offers a six hours trekking of a volcanic peak called Pico de Fogo.

Santa Maria is another place which offers exotic beach experience. The town is located on the tip of the Sal island and tourists come here to enjoy the experience of the beach. Further, it also offers visitors trade history of its past.

Ribeira Grande is a town on the island of Santo Antão in Cape Verde. The city offers a proper colonial architect and a beautiful outlook.

Ribera Grande in Cape Verde
Ribera Grande in Cape Verde

Other beautiful sites which Cape Verde offers are Porto Novo, Tarrafal and small islands like Maio. The country has so much to offer when it comes to nature and beautiful islands.

8. Cape Verde consists of 10 Volcanic Islands

There are ten volcanic islands which fall under the jurisdiction of Cape Verde. These ten islands are further divided into two groups called as Windward (Barlavento) and Leeward (Sotavento) islands. The names of these ten islands in Cape Verde are São Vicente, Santo Antão, Santa Luzia, Boa Vista, São Nicolau, Sal, Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava.

Cape Verde Map
Map fo Cape Verde with its Ten Islands (all those highlighted in Red in Atlantic Ocean)

The largest number of people are the resident of Santiago.

9. Charles Darwin and Christopher Columbus had visited Cape Verde

The famous naturalist, Charles Darwin had visited the Islands, further, the famous traveller who is known for his efforts of settlements in the New World, Christopher Columbus, had also visited the islands of Cape Verde. During his third voyage to the America in 1498, Columbus had made a stop in these islands for sake of provisions.

Similarly, Charles Darwin had visited the islands in 1832 because of his efforts in geology. He called the island of Santiago as St. Jogo. The trip was a part of his Beagle expedition. It’s worth knowing that the visit of Cape Verde was not planned, rather it was made for sake of necessity by the captain as access to Canary Islands couldn’t be obtained.

10. Cape Verde is the best place for Water Sports

Almost every water sport is offered to the tourists. If someone is fond of diving or snorkelling then Cape Verde automatically becomes a place worth visiting. One of the best place to carry out these activities is the island of Sal. There are a number of beaches in Cape Verde. Further, wind sports such as kitesurfing offer some good entertaining experience in the country. Surfing, Sailing, Kayaking and Diving are one among the many water sports offered in Cape Verde.

Cape Verde Water Sports

Tourists often visit Cape Verde to have an experience of these amazing water sports. Those who have a think for adrenaline based tourism and adventure like to visit these islands for feeling and experiencing nature.

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