Cape Verde is a country of Africa
with a surface area of 4,033 km² (density of 129.82 inhab./km²). The population of Cape Verde is 523,568 inhabitants in the last census.The capital of Cape Verde is the city of Praia which has 124,661 inhabitants. The president of the parliamentary republic is Jorge Carlos Fonseca.
"Union Work Progress"
Cape Verde or Republic of Cape Verde is an archipelago off the coast of Mauritania and Senegal, in the Atlantic Ocean. It is part of West Africa.
The archipelago comprises a dozen islands of volcanic origin and several islets. The capital Praia was founded on the largest of the islands, Santiago.
Cape Verde at a glance
Administrative divisions: 22 concelhos (municipalities) and 32 freguesias (parishes)
Population: more than 500,000 inhabitants
Main languages: Portuguese (official) and Cape Verdean Creole
Main religion: Christianity
Current President: Jorge Carlos Fonseca
Current Prime Minister: Ulisses Correia e Silva
Currency: Cape Verde Escudo
Conversion into euro: 100 escudos Cape Verde = 0.9 euro
Tourism: The tourists must be vigilant due to the high crime rates (robberies, robberies, assaults, rape ...). The bathing is prohibited outside the supervised areas because of the power of the currents. Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Cape Verde archipelago is located almost 600 kilometers from the African coasts and is part of Macaronesia, a group of islands of the Atlantic Ocean including the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
It consists of the six Windward Islands also called Barlavento, the four Leeward Islands or Sotavento and some islets. Nine of these ten islands are inhabited but more than half of the Cape Verdean population regroups on the island Santiago.
Of volcanic origin, Cape Verde Islands were formed during the Miocene. The highest point of the archipelago, Pico do Fogo, lies on the island of Fogo and reaches 2,829 meters above sea level. It is a stratovolcano still active. This island has appeared well after the others, it is estimated that its formation began 4.5 million years ago and that the volcano emerged towards 75,000 before our era, causing a gigantic tidal wave.
The last eruption of the Pico de Fogo took place in 2014 and engulfed a small village located at the foot of the volcano, Portela.
The Pico de Fogo is part of the Leeward Islands. The same is true of Santiago, Maio and Brava, the smallest inhabited island in the archipelago.
The uninhabited islands of Santo Antão, São Vicente, São Nicolau, Sal, Boa Vista and Santa Luzia form the Windward Islands.
Sal, Boa Vista and Maio have a flat relief and have no fresh water. The islands of Sal and Maio are also known for their salt deserts that were exploited until the 1980s.
The other islands are mountainous and have peaks exceeding 1,300 meters above sea level.
In the past, the islands were covered with vegetation but the arrival of the Europeans caused the deforestation, which is the cause of the erosion of the slopes exposed to the harmattan, a northeasterly wind coming from the Sahara and carrying the sands of the desert. At present, only the protected valleys are fertile but the periods of tropical rain and the sands brought by the harmattan regularly ruin the crops and cause the famines. During the rainy season, from April to October, and more often in August, the tropical cyclones form regularly near the archipelago. These tropical cyclones called Cape Verdean hurricanes head towards the American continent and, depending on weather conditions, reach either the Lesser Antilles, Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize, the Greater Antilles, the Gulf of Mexico and Florida, so the north of Florida and Virginia.
The climate of Cape Verde is of the temperate type with relatively constant temperatures all the year. Average temperatures are between 22 ° and 26 ° near the coast and cool at high altitudes. The sunshine is almost constant despite the rainy season.
A long uninhabited archipelago
The isolation of the archipelago explains its late settlement. Indeed the islands of Cape Verde were uninhabited until the middle of the 15th century. It is not impossible, however, that fishermen from Senegal, Greeks and Phoenicians should have made a stop in the archipelago during Antiquity.
Around 1456, the Venetian explorer Alvise Cadamosto sailing on behalf of the Prince of Portugal Henri the Navigator along the African coast to discover new lands. Thus he discovers the first islands of Cape Verde. The rest of the archipelago will in turn be explored during subsequent expeditions.
The Cradle of Creole Culture
A first Portuguese colony was established on the south of the island of Santiago in 1462. This colony called Ribeira Grande (not to be confused with the city of the same name located on the island of Santo Antão) is based on the site of the current Cidade Velha, 15 kilometers from the capital Praia. It becomes an unavoidable stage of merchant ships heading for Brazil and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, it also serves as a hub of the slave trade during the Atlantic triangular trade which lasted for more than three centuries (African slaves are sent to the Americas to work on plantations, plantation products are sent to Europe for resale in Africa). This status of stopover is also at the origin of the appearance of Creole culture, a mixture of African and European traditions. It is therefore from Cape Verde that this culture spreads to the colonies of the New World and is enriched by contact with new populations. Cape Verde is the cradle of shared heritage between the three continents. It is in this respect that the historic center of Ribeira Grande (Cidade Velha) has been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
In 1712, the corsair Nantes Jacques Cassard received the command of a fleet of eight vessels and led an expedition for the account of the King of France. He seizes the enemy ships, pillages their cargoes or exchange them for ransoms. He also attacked the various British, Dutch and Portuguese colonies and made a stopover on the island of Santiago in Cape Verde archipelago, where he captured Ribeira Grande and his wealth before heading for the West Indies. The city is in ruins and its inhabitants have no choice but to settle in Praia which will obtain the status of capital in 1770.
The End of the Golden Age
At that time, the archipelago was experiencing its first eras of drought as a result of the deforestation, the intensive cultivation and the importation of livestock which was to be used to supply vessels anchored in Cape Verde. The hungry population is decimated while new trading posts are established on the African coasts which allows the slave ships to reach the New World non-stop. The economy is declining as rapidly as its population in the greatest indifference of the Portuguese government.
The archipelago took a second wind towards the end of the 19th century when it again served as a refueling stop, this time for ships on the transatlantic lines. The boats dock in Mindelo, northwest of the island of São Vicente to stock up on food, water and fuel.
Cape Verde took advantage of this activity until the end of the Second World War before falling back into poverty.
In 1956, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) was founded by a group of independentists who wanted to free themselves from the domination of Portugal. The party supported by Cuba and the Soviet Union carried out numerous actions against the Portuguese, who eventually recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde in 1975.
In 1991, Cape Verde was ruled by a Liberal party, the Movement for Democracy (MpD), for the first time since its independence, to the detriment of the Social Democratic Party of Cape Verde’s Independence Party (PAICV).
After a return to power of the PAICV during fifteen years, the MpD again won the elections in 2016.
Cape Verde is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic with a strict separation of powers.
The President is the Head of State and is elected for a period of five years, while the Prime Minister appointed by the National Assembly is head of the government and is responsible for appointing the ministers.
The judicial power is exercised by the Supreme Court of Justice.
Cape Verde maintains an economic partnership with the European Union which guarantees its intervention in case of humanitarian emergency. It also benefits from the help of the United States and especially from preferential tariffs in order to straighten its economy.
An economy in agony
With limited natural resources (salt, fishing and banana crops) and suffering from the drought, Cape Verde has turned to the tourism to try to revitalize an agonizing economy.
Despite its efforts to attract the tourists but also the investors, the country owes its survival to the international aid.
A Creole culture
The total population of Cape Verde exceeds 550,000 inhabitants and is experiencing a slight natural increase. Because of its poverty and a low-key economy, the diaspora is very important. More than 700,000 Cape Verdeans left their countries to settle abroad, especially in the United States and Portugal.
The Cape Verdean population is predominantly mixed. More than 70% of the inhabitants are Creoles and 28% are of African origin. Just under 20% of Cape Verdeans are of European origin.
Although Portuguese is still the official language of Cape Verde, the vast majority of families express themselves in Cape Verdean Creole, the oldest Creole language in the world. This typical Creole of Cape Verde includes as many dialects as there are inhabited islands in the archipelago and is divided into two linguistic families: the Creole of the Sotavento Islands and that of the Barlavento Islands. It is characterized by the use of words borrowed from Portuguese mixed with different languages of West Africa.
Most Cape Verdeans are Christians, mostly Catholics. The religion is very important for them, which explains the large number of churches built on the different islands of the archipelago.
The Cape Verdean culture is just as mixed as the inhabitants of the archipelago. Portuguese and African influences can be found in the music and the dance. The funaná, the coladeira and the morna of which Cesária Evora is the best ambassador, are traditional musical genres of the Cape Verde islands expressing the pain of the people.
The Cape Verdean cuisine is very similar to that of West Africa. It is usually based on fish, meat or chicken, cassava and pulses. A traditional dish, cachupa is served as a stew of pork, corn, beans, cassava and sweet potatoes. Depending on the ingredients added, the cachupa can be more or less rich and with the names as cachupa rica or cachupada.
The Cape Verdians produce a local beer, the Strela, the wine from the vineyards cultivated at the foot of the volcano Pico do Fogo and a brandy made from sugar cane, the grogue.
A visa valid for at least six months after the scheduled end of stay is required to return to Cape Verde. The tourist visa is paid for and can be got at the embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde in Paris or via the travel agency.
Due to the high number of violent attacks, robberies and rape, the tourists are advised to be vigilant. Avoid wearing valuables, manipulating large sums of money and traveling even during the day. The excursions must be accompanied by a guide.
The swimming, the sea trips and the scuba diving must be reserved for experienced swimmers due to the power of the currents. It should be noted that very few beaches are monitored, that the archipelago is not equipped with a decompression box in the event of a diving accident and that no helicopter evacuation is possible.
If no vaccine is required, it is recommended to be vaccinated against the yellow fever, the diphtheria-tetanus-poliomyelitis and possibly the typhoid fever and the hepatitis A and B.
One should observe the strict hygiene rules and drink only encapsulated bottled water.
Protect against mosquito bites that cause dengue, Zika and malaria. The visit of the country is not recommended for the pregnant women.
The tourists enjoy the sandy beaches of the islands of Boa Vista, Santiago and São Vicente, the excursions on the slopes of the volcano of the island of Fogo or the discovery of the saline waters of the island of Sal.
The hotel infrastructures are still very little developed and the comfort is sometimes rudimentary.