Cape Verde Islands

The Cape Verde Islands are located in the central Atlantic Ocean about 620 kilometres west of the African nation of Senegal. The archipelago consists of ten islands and five islets that lie between 140 48’ and 170 12’ N and between 220 40’ and 250 22’ W. The islands are divided into two, the Windward and Leeward groups. The Portuguese first visited the uninhabited islands in 1456 and began colonising them in 1462. In 1836 the slave trade was the staple of the Cape Verde Islands’ economy, though this diminished with the abolition of the trade in 1876.

The islands are volcanic in origin. The Windward Islands are mountainous while the Leeward Islands are comprised of lowlands and plains. Moderate temperatures and extreme aridity characterise their climate. The archipelago’s name (‘Verde’ is Portuguese for ‘green’) is misleading as the islands are not particularly green. The Cape Verde Islands are named after Senegal’s Cape Vert, which Portuguese explorers called ‘Cabo Verde’ (Cape Green).

Click here to view the Cape Verde Islands on google maps

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