Cape Verde (Portuguese: Cabo Verde, pronounced: [?kabu ?ve?d?]), officially the Republic of Cape Verde, is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres (350 miles) off the coast of Western Africa. The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi), are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are generally rockier and have more vegetation.
The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century, and became important in the Atlantic slave trade for their location. The islands’ prosperity often attracted privateers and pirates, including Sir Francis Drake, a corsair (privateer) under the authority of the English crown, who twice sacked the (then) capital Ribeira Grande, in the 1580s. The islands were also visited by Charles Darwin’s expedition in 1832. The decline in the slave trade in the 19th century resulted in an economic crisis for the islands. With few natural resources, and without strong sustainable investment from the Portuguese, the citizens grew increasingly discontented with the colonial masters, who nevertheless refused to provide the local authorities with more autonomy. A budding independence movement culminated in 1975, when a movement originally led by Amílcar Cabral (who was assassinated on 20 January 1973) then passed onto his half-brother Luís Cabral, achieved independence for the archipelago.
The country has an estimated population (most of them creole) of about 500,000, with its capital city Praia accounting for a quarter of its citizens. Nearly 38% of the population lives in rural areas according to the 2010 Cape Verdean census. The literacy rate is around 85%. Politically, the country is a very stable democracy, with notable economic growth and improvements of living conditions despite its lack of natural resources, and has garnered international recognition by other countries and international organizations, which often provide development aid. Since 2007, Cape Verde has been classified as a developing nation.
Tough economic times during the last decades of its colonization and the first years of Cape Verde’s independence led many to emigrate to Europe, the Americas and other African countries. This emigration was so significant that the number of Cape Verdeans and their descendants living abroad currently exceeds the population of Cape Verde itself. Historically, the influx of remittances from these emigrant communities to their families has provided a substantial contribution to help strengthen the country’s economy. Currently, the Cape Verdean economy is mostly service-oriented with a growing focus on tourism and foreign investment, which benefits from the islands’ warm climate throughout the year, diverse landscape and cultural wealth, especially in music.
Geography of Cape Verde
Terra satellite took this photo of Cape Verde islands on November 23, 2010.
The Cape Verde archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 570 kilometres (350 mi) off the coast of West Africa, near Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania, and is part of the Macaronesia ecoregion. It lies between latitudes 14° and 18°N, and longitudes 22° and 26°W.
The country is a horseshoe-shaped cluster of ten islands (nine inhabited) and eight islets, that constitute an area of 4033 km².
The islands are spatially divided into two groups:
The Barlavento Islands (windward islands): Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, Boa Vista; and
The Sotavento Islands (leeward): Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava.
The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, which hosts the nation’s capital, Praia, the principal agglomeration in the archipelago.
Geologically, the islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,033 square kilometres (1,557 sq mi), are principally composed of igneous rocks, with volcanic structures and pyroclastic debris comprising the majority of the archipelago’s total volume. The volcanic and plutonic rocks are distinctly basic; the archipelago is a soda-alkaline petrographic province, with a petrologic succession which is similar to that found in other Macaronesian islands.
Magnetic anomalies identified in the vicinity of the archipelago indicate that the structures forming the islands date back 125-150 million years: the islands themselves date from 8 million (in the west) to 20 million years (in the east). The oldest exposed rocks occurred on Maio and northern peninsula of Santiago and are 128-131 million year old pillow lavas. The first stage of volcanism in the islands began in the early Miocene, and reached its peak at the end of this period, when the islands reached their maximum sizes. Historical volcanism (within human settlement) has been restricted to the island of Fogo.
The origin of the islands’ volcanism has been attributed to a hotspot, associated with bathymetric swell that formed the Cape Verde Rise. The Rise is one of the largest protuberances in the world’s oceans, rising 2.2 kilometers in a semi-circular region of 1200 km², associated with a rise of the geoid and elevated surface heat flow.
Most recently erupting in 1995, Pico do Fogo is the largest active volcano in the region. It has a 8 km (5 mi) diameter caldera, whose rim is 1,600 m (5,249 ft) altitude and an interior cone that rises to 2,829 m (9,281 ft) above sea level. The caldera resulted from subsidence, following the partial evacuation (eruption) of the magma chamber, along a cylindrical column from within magma chamber (at a depth of 8 km (5 mi)).
Extensive salt flats are found on Sal and Maio. On Santiago, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau, arid slopes give way in places to sugarcane fields or banana plantations spread along the base of towering mountains. Ocean cliffs have been formed by catastrophic debris avalanches.
According to the president of Nauru, Cape Verde has been ranked the eighth most endangered nation due to flooding from climate change.
|1||CV Móvel||GSM||0.355 (Sept 2009)||Portugal Telecom (40%)|