Ribeira Grande, Santiago, Cape Verde

Cape Verde

Identification. The islands are named for the Cap Vert peninsula in West Africa, the nearest land formation. Cape Verdeans identify strongly with the culture of their individual islands.

Location and Geography. Cape Verde comprises ten islands, nine of which are inhabited, and is located 375 miles (600 kilometers) off the coast of Senegal. The combined area of all the islands is 1,557 square miles (4,033 square kilometers), roughly the size of Rhode Island. The islands vary in geographical characteristics. Sal, Boavista, Maio, and São Vicente are flat and desert-like, with stretches of sand dunes. Santiago, Santo Antão, Fogo, and São Nicolau are more mountainous and arable, although all the islands have a long history of drought. They are all of volcanic origin Fogo, the only volcano still active, last erupted in 1995. The capital, Praia, is on the island of Santiago which is the largest in terms of area and population and the first one to be settled.

Demography. The population of Cape Verde is 430,000. Of these, 85,000 live in the capital. Because of the country's long history of emigration, there are an additional estimated one million Cape Verdeans living abroad, mainly in the United States, western Europe, and Africa. The United States Cape Verdean population, concentrated in the New England states, is estimated to be as large as the population in Cape Verde itself.

Linguistic Affiliation. The official language is Portuguese. It is used in school, for official functions, and for all written communication. The vernacular is a Creole, which is essentially fifteenth-century Portuguese with a simplified vocabulary and influences from Mandingo and several Senegambian languages. Each island has its own distinctive Creole in which its inhabitants take pride.

Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande

We aren't too mobile so didn't attempt to do everything. We arrived by taxi (€10 for quite a long trip from Praia) and got an information leaflet from the local tourist office in the main square (for a very small fee), had an amble around the square, and investigated rua banana, That was all apart from the restaurant time detailed below. To get back to Praia we crammed into a "colectivo" and had a fun and interesting trip for 100 CVE (€1) each.

Rather than go to one of the bar/restaurants right on the beach (one with a monkey tied up that tourists were taking selfies with - not our cup of tea at all), we decided to brave some stone steps at the far W end of the beach for a better view. How glad we are that we did! The proprietress is French, but she has a little English as well as Portuguese. After a couple of drinks we decided to stay for lunch. There was very limited choice and we were warned it would take some while, and it certainly did - this is no fast-food restaurant! We had bread and two lovely sauces (one dangerously spicy, the other superbly garlicky) while waiting, followed by chicken in a tasty coating with assorted steamed local veg. We had a couple of carafes of red wine with it, and coffees, and were there probably three hours in total. The bill was absurdly low - about €30!

The island was discovered in around 1460 by António de Noli (or António da Noli), a 15th-century nobleman and navigator from Genoa that worked for Henry the Navigator of Portugal. [2] De Noli founded in 1462 the old capital of the islands, Ribeira Grande, now known as Cidade Velha.

As of 2010 [update] (last national census), there were 273,919 people living in the island, giving it a population density of 272.9 inhabitants/km². [1]

The largest city of the island is Praia, its capital, with a population, in 2010, of 131,602.

Santiago is in the southern Sotavento group of islands, at about 40 km (25 mi) to the west of the island of Maio and at about 50 km (31 mi) to the east of the island of Fogo.

The Santiago island has an area of 1,003.71 km 2 (387.53 sq mi) it is 75 km (47 mi) long, north to south, and about 35 km (22 mi) wide, east to west.

The island is mountainous, although slightly flatter in the southeast. There are two volcanic mountain ranges: [3]

  • Serra da Malagueta, in the northern part of the island.
  • Serra do Pico de Antónia, in the southern part of the island, from the southeast to the northwest. Here is the highest point of the island, Pico de Antónia, 1,394 m (4,573 ft) high.

There are two natural parks in the island to protect the plants and animals in the two mountain ranges: [4]

  • Parque Natural de Rui Vaz e Serra de Pico de Antónia
  • Parque Natural de Serra da Malagueta

Climate Edit

The average temperature for the year in Praia is 24.4 °C (75.9 °F). The warmest month, on average, is August with an average temperature of 26.7 °C (80.1 °F). The coolest month on average is January, with an average temperature of 22.2 °C (72.0 °F).

The average amount of precipitation for the year in Praia is 210.8 millimetres (8.30 in) 8.3". The month with the most precipitation on average is August with 99.1 millimetres (3.90 in) of precipitation. The month with the least precipitation on average is March without any precipitation. There are an average of 49.0 days of precipitation, with the most precipitation occurring in September with 7.0 days and the least precipitation occurring in December with 2.0 days.

The Santiago island is divided in 9 municipalities (conselhos) and 10 parishes (freguesias).

Cidade velha lawyers Ribeira grande de santiago (Province) > Ribeira grande de santiago > Cape verde

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The Portuguese explorer Dinis Dias (or Denis Fernadez) discovered in 1445 a peninsula along the coast of Senegal that he named Cap-Vert (Dias named it Cabo Verde, "verde" being Portuguese for "green", a reference to the vegetation in the area). Dias did not discover the Cape Verde Islands, but rather the actual cape. [10]

This peninsula is the westernmost point of the African continent.

The first Europeans to arrive in Cape Verde were the Portugueses Diogo Gomes and Antonio da Noli in 1460. The islands were uninhabited, and the first settlement was founded in 1462 on the island of Santiago (the main Island) which was divided into two “capitanias”, Alcatrazes and Ribeira Grande. The first one failed and the main activity in Ribeira Grande was the exploitation of cotton farms. Ribeira Grande served also as a slave trade post and as post of slave Christianization before they were sent to the New World.

The city suffered several pirate raids and for this reason in 1712, after a French attack, the authorities were forced to move the capital to Praia, where it is located until now. Cape Verde had the status of Portuguese colony until 1951 when Portugal changed its status to Overseas Province and in 1961 Portugal gave full citizenship to all Cape Verdeans.

Cape Verde has been independent of Portugal since 5th July 1975. The fight for independence was led by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and headed by Amilcar Cabral, the national hero of both countries, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau.

The Cape Verde archipelago is in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 570 km (350 mi) off the coast of West Africa, near Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania, and is a part, together with the Azores, Madeira, Savage Islands and Canary Islands, of the Macaronesia ecological region. [11] It lies between the latitudes 14°N and 18°N, and the longitudes 22°W and 26°W.

The country is an archipelago with a total area of 4,033 km 2 (1,557 sq mi). It is formed by ten islands (nine inhabited) and several very small islands (islets) divided into two groups, arranged according to the prevailing wind direction:

  • To the north, the Ilhas de Barlavento (Windward islands), from west to east: Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia (without inhabitants), São Nicolau, Ilha do Sal and Boa Vista and the islets of Branco and Raso, situated between Santa Luzia and São Nicolau, the islet of Pássaros, opposite the town of Mindelo on the island of São Vicente, and the islets Rabo de Junco, on the coast of the Sal island and the islets Sal Rei and Baluarte, on the coast of the island of Boa Vista.
  • To the south Ilhas de Sotavento (Leeward islands), from east to west: Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava and the islet of Santa Maria, in front of the city of Praia, on Santiago island, the islets Grande, Rombo, Baixo, Cima, do Rei, Luís Carneiro and Sapado, situated about 8 km from the island of Brava, and the islet Areia along the coast of the same island.

The largest islands are, to the southeast, Santiago, where lies Praia, the capital and largest city of the country, and the island of Santo Antão, in the extreme northwest. Praia is also the main population centre of the archipelago, followed by Mindelo on the island of São Vicente.

Larger islands of Cabo Verde
Name Population
(2010) [12]
Highest point (m)
Boa Vista 9,162 620 Monte Estância (387)
Brava 5,995 67 Monte Fontainhas (976)
Fogo 37,051 476 Pico do Fogo (2,829)
Maio 6,952 265 Monte Penoso (436)
Sal 25,765 216 Monte Vermelho (406)
Santa Luzia 0 35 Monte Grande (395)
Santiago 273,919 991 Pico d'Antónia (1,394)
Santo Antão 43,915 779 Topo de Coroa (1,979)
São Nicolau 12,817 388 Monte Gordo (1,340)
São Vicente 76,107 227 Monte Verde (774)

Extreme points Edit

  • N North: Ponta do Sol, Santo Antão island
  • 17°11′0″N 25°05′0″W  /  17.18333°N 25.08333°W  / 17.18333 -25.08333
  • S South: Ponta Nhô Martinho, Brava island
  • 14°49′0″N 24°42′0″W  /  14.81667°N 24.70000°W  / 14.81667 -24.70000
  • E East: Ilhéu do Roque, Boa Vista island
  • 16°05′0″N 22°40′0″W  /  16.08333°N 22.66667°W  / 16.08333 -22.66667
  • W West: Ponta Chão de Morgado, Santo Antão island
  • 17°03′0″N 25°21′0″W  /  17.05000°N 25.35000°W  / 17.05000 -25.35000
  • H Highest mountain: Pico do Fogo, Fogo island, 2,829 m (9,281 ft) high
  • 14°57′0″N 24°20′0″W  /  14.95000°N 24.33333°W  / 14.95000 -24.33333

Climate Edit

The sun shines 350 days a year and temperatures range between 21 and 29 °C (70 and 84 °F). The breeze (a gentle to moderate wind) blows constantly from the ocean at a relatively low average humidity of 40% to 60%.

The Cape Verde Islands only have two seasons: The Tempo das Brisas ("Time of the winds") from October to mid-July and the Tempo das chuvas ("Rainy season") from August to September, when there may be heavy tropical rainfall. The coolest months are January and February (average temperature of 21 °C), where temperatures can drop down to 16 °C the warmest is the month of September (up to 36 °C) with an average temperature of 27 °C.

Otherwise, the islands of Barlavento (Santo Antão, São Vicente, São Nicolao, Boa Vista, Sal, Santa Luzia, Branco and Razo) are always somewhat cooler than those of the Sotavento (Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava), where summers can be quite hot. [11]

Climate data for Cabo Verde : Praia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 25
Average low °C (°F) 20
Average precipitation mm (inches) 10
Source: [1]

The Köppen climate classification subtype for this climate of Praia (Cabo Verde) is Bwh (Tropical and Subtropical Desert Climate). [13]

Wildlife Edit

Cape Verde's isolation has resulted in the islands having a number of endemic species, particularly birds and reptiles, many of which are endangered by human development. Endemic birds include Alexander's Swift (Apus alexandri), Bourne's Heron (Ardea purpurea bournei), the Raso Lark (Alauda razae), the Cape Verde Warbler (Acrocephalus brevipennis), and the Iago Sparrow (Passer iagoensis). [14] The islands are also an important breeding area for seabirds including the Cape Verde Shearwater. Reptiles include the Cape Verde Giant Gecko (Tarentola gigas). [15]

Cape Verde is divided into 22 municipalities (concelhos) and subdivided into 32 parishes (freguesias).

  1. - Tarrafal
  2. - São Miguel
  3. - São Salvador do Mundo
  4. - Santa Cruz
  5. - São Domingos
  6. - Praia
  7. - Ribeira Grande de Santiago
  8. - São Lourenço dos Órgãos
  9. - Santa Catarina
  10. - Brava
  11. - São Filipe
  12. - Santa Catarina do Fogo
  13. - Mosteiros
  14. - Maio
  15. - Boa Vista
  16. - Sal
  17. - Ribeira Brava
  18. - Tarrafal de São Nicolau
  19. - São Vicente
  20. - Porto Novo
  21. - Ribeira Grande
  22. - Paúl

Cape Verde is a representative parliamentary republic. The constitution —adopted in 1980 and revised in 1992, 1995 and 1999— defines the basic principles of its government. The president is the head of state and is elected for a 5-year term the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Prime Minister is nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the President. [16]

The economic resources of Cape Verde are largely dependent on agriculture and fishing. Agriculture frequently suffers the effects of droughts. The most important crops are coffee, bananas, sugar cane, tropical fruits, corn, beans, sweet potato, and cassava. The industrial sector is incipient but is based on the production of “aguardente” (spirits from sugar cane), clothing and footwear, paints and varnishes, tourism, fishing and canned fish, and salt extraction. Banana, canned fish, frozen fish, lobsters, salt, and clothes are the main exports. The national currency is the Cape Verdean escudo. Remittances from emigration are another important source of resources for the State of Cape Verde.

In Cape Verde, the annual rate of population growth and mortality are low, compared to average rates of other middle-income countries. The average life expectancy is 66 years and 71 years respectively for men and women. The resident population in the country is estimated at 500,000 inhabitants. There are an estimated additional one million Cape Verdeans living abroad, mainly in the United States, Western Europe, and Africa. Cape Verde has a young population with an average age of 23 years.

Cape Verdean culture is a unique mixture of European and African elements. Corn is the staple food of Cape Verde. The national or traditional dish is cachupa, which is a stew of hominy (dried maize kernals), beans, and whatever meat or vegetables may be available. Other common foods include rice, beans, fish, potatoes and manioc. A traditional breakfast is a steamed cornbread, eaten with honey and milk or coffee. Grogue, or sugar cane liquor, is manufactured on the islands and is a popular drink, particularly among the men. Cape Verdean music incorporates Portuguese, Caribbean, and African influences. Popular genres include morna, funaná, batuque, coladeira, and cola san jon.

In Cape Verde, other than private clinics, the government guarantees a public health system which comprises several healthcare centers and three central hospitals (Hospital Agostinho Neto, in Praia, Hospital Baptista de Sousa, in São Vicente, and Hospital Regional de Santiago Norte, in Assomada). The cost of public health is supported by the government, but users must pay a fee which varies in accordance with the capacity of the user to afford it.

After independence, the different governments of Cape Verde invested massively in education and illiteracy has been reduced drastically. Today almost one hundred percent of school-age children attend school. Attendance to primary schooling, which comprises 6 years, is compulsory and free of any charge. Education is guaranteed by a network of public schools that span from nursery school to university. There are also several private schools in all levels of education.

Explore Cidade Velha in Cape Verde

Cidade Velha in the region of Ribeira Grande de Santiago with its 2,148 inhabitants is a town in Cape Verde - some 7 mi or ( 11 km ) West of Praia , the country's capital city .

Current time in Cidade Velha is now 12:57 AM (Saturday) . The local timezone is named " Atlantic/Cape Verde " with a UTC offset of -1 hours. Depending on the availability of means of transportation, these more prominent locations might be interesting for you: Vila Nova Sintra, Vila Nova, Vila do Maio, Vila da Ribeira Brava, and Vale da Gusta. Since you are here already, make sure to check out Vila Nova Sintra . We encountered some video on the web . Scroll down to see the most favourite one or select the video collection in the navigation. Where to go and what to see in Cidade Velha ? We have collected some references on our attractions page.



9:50 min by kbeachboy
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my bachelor project. english version also available ..

Cabo Verde Odyssey

5:11 min by HitandRunHistory
Views: 2026 Rating: 5.00

The crew of Hit and Run History heads to Cape Verde, hot on the trail of the Columbia Expedition -- the first American voyage 'round the world. We climb volcanos, drink grog and beat on dengue-ridden ..

TAP - Lisboa - Recife

1:06 min by Jorge Barreto
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16:08 min by elderonda
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Praia Capital de Cabo Verde Fue en 1456 cuando un barco de bandera Portuguesa a su camino a Gambia, fue llevado por las corrientes de las costas africanas y así descubrió las costas de la Isla de Sant ..

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Interesting facts about this location

Ribeira Grande de Santiago, Cape Verde

Ribeira Grande de Santiago (Portuguese for "Great River" which it flows nearby) is a municipality located in Cape Verde. The municipality was first founded in the 16th century. Later, the importance of the city declined and the municipality was transferred to Praia. The old city of Ribeira Grande de Santiago is one of the oldest cities founded by Europeans in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Porto Gouveia

Porto Gouveia is a village situated at the south of Santiago Island in Cape Verde. It is part of the municipality of Ribeira Grande de Santiago. The village is linked with the road linking Porto Mosquito, Cidade Velha and the national capital Praia and is about 15 km away, the rest are either linked with several rural roads or are not connected. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the south and west.

São Filipe, Cape Verde (municipality)

São Filipe is a municipality on the island of Fogo in the Sotavento group of Cape Verde. São Filipe is linked with a highway that almost encircles the whole island of Fogo but it is inaccessible to the east by small narrow gravel stretch and a small road to Mount Fogo. Farmlands covers most of the area in the west, the central and the south, the rocky landscape with a few bushes and grasslands of Mount Fogo lies to the east.

Estádio da Várzea

Estádio da Várzea is a multi-purpose stadium in Praia, Cape Verde. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 10,000 people. The stadium has seat rows in the left and right sides and a small hill and a plateau lies to the west. The stadium is home to the three best football clubs in Cape Verde, Sporting, CD Travadores and another team that plays in the first division, especially the Santiago Island first division.

Praia, Cape Verde (municipality)

Praia is a municipality in Cape Verde, located South in Santiago island. It is the municipality where lies the capital from Cape Verde, the city of Praia. More than 90% of its population lives in the city of Praia, being the rest constituted by scarcely populated settlements.

Service stations

  • Service stations of São Joâo
  • Service stations of Joâo Teves
  • Service stations of Várzea da Igreja
  • Service stations of Porto Gouveia
  • Service stations of Veneza
  • Service stations of Ribeira da Barca
  • Service stations of Cidade Velha
  • Service stations of Feital
  • Service stations of Malveira
  • Service stations of Quebrado
  • Service stations of Châo de Manga
  • Service stations of Rebelo de Purgueira
  • Service stations of Monte de Leitâozinho
  • Service stations of Fonte Mato
  • Service stations of Palhâo
  • Service stations of Gundâo
  • Service stations of Cutelo Rocha
  • Service stations of Sansâo
  • Service stations of Joâo Sanches
  • Service stations of Demanda

Our guide to Cape Verde

Let’s start with the basics, as it’s safe to say that many would struggle to point to Cape Verde on a map. If you find yourself floundering, look for the Canary Islands and let your gaze drift southwest for 1,000km, or simply strike out into the Atlantic from Senegal and keep going west until you make landfall. It’s an isolated island chain, that’s for sure.

A brief history of the islands

Any visitor to the islands needs to know a little about Cape Verde’s fascinating – albeit tragic – history. For a long time, the islands were completely uninhabited, save perhaps for the turtles that arrive seasonally to nest. But in 1456, Cape Verde was discovered by Portuguese sailors who, realising its strategic position, quickly settled and built it into an outpost for the slave trade.

Over the years, the descendants of slavers and slaves developed a unique Creole culture on Cape Verde, not quite African, not quite European. The people who live here are still around seventy percent mixed race, speak a mixture of Portuguese and Creole, and use the Euro alongside the Cape Verdean Escudo.

Tarrafal beach on Santiago island in Cape Verde © Samuel Borges Photography/Shutterstock

Which islands should I visit?

Sal and Boa Vista

The island or islands you visit depend on the kind of holiday you want, as each one offers something different. Sal and Boa Vista are flat, arid and windswept, and appear positively Martian thanks to the sand blown across the ocean from the Sahara. They draw a great deal more tourists than most of the other islands thanks to their pristine beaches and excellent conditions for windsurfing. Cape Verde’s most famous waves lie at Ponta Preta beach on Sal, which is a regular feature on the windsurfing championship circuit.


A couple of islands over, Santiago is the largest in the archipelago and home to over half of Cape Verde’s population. It was the first island to be settled by the Portuguese and is considered the most African in culture. Don’t miss the lively market in the capital city of Praia, where you can buy all kinds of fish, spices and fresh produce.

Fogo, meanwhile, is instantly recognisable thanks to the simmering volcano at its heart, which last erupted in 2014. The local population, many of which are descended from the same promiscuous French nobleman, still live amid its lava flows and cinder cones, perched on steep slopes overlooking black sand beaches.

São Vicente

To the north, São Vicente is the islands’ cultural capital and home to Mindelo, Cape Verde’s prettiest and most sophisticated city. Over the years it’s been frequented by poets, free-thinkers and artistic types, including famous Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora. The island is known for its vibrant nightlife, and every August it hosts the Baia das Gatas Festival, a three-day extravaganza of local music.

Santo Antão

Finally, Santo Antão is the remotest island in this remote island chain. It is the polar opposite of Sal and Boa Vista, characterised by towering peaks, terraced fields and thick forests full of banana palms and papaya trees. If you were wondering how Cabo Verde (literally “Cape Green”) earned its name, you’ll probably find some clues here.

Santo Antao, Cape Verde © Plrang Art/Shutterstock

What things shouldn’t I miss?

First off, the island of Sal takes its name from its historic salt production, and you can see how it was produced at Pedra de Lume on the island. Here, you’ll find a sea of shimmering salt lakes in the crater of an extinct volcano, alongside the crumbling machinery once used for salt extraction. Take a dip in the medicinal waters and, thanks to the salt, you’ll float like a cork.

You can pair this visit with a trip to Shark Bay, which is also on Sal. You can wade out into the ocean to join a school of lemon sharks, which cruise up and down this area hunting for fish. While the sharks aren’t a threat to people, it’s still exhilarating watching their fins slicing through the waves. Make sure you hire a pair of water shoes on the beach, as the rocks here can be sharp.

On Fogo, it’s possible to climb Pico do Fogo, Cape Verde’s only active volcano and highest peak (2829m). It's a three to six hour walk, depending on your fitness. The paths can shift with the movement of the knee-deep ash, so it’s worth hiring a guide to take you up to the crater. Some of the guides experienced the 2014 eruption first hand, and their tales make for fascinating, albeit unsettling, listening.

Over on Santiago, the highlight is the UNESCO-listed city of Cidade Velha (once known as Ribeira Grande), built by the Portuguese in 1462 as the first European settlement in the tropics. It was at one point Cape Verde’s capital, and you can still see the remains of its fortress, churches and town square, where disobedient slaves were punished. It only flourished until 1770, when sustained pirate attacks led the Portuguese to name nearby Praia Cape Verde’s capital instead.

Cidade Velha old fort on Santiago Island, Cape Verde © Samuel Borges Photography/Shutterstock

What about the food?

Unsurprisingly, Cape Verde is best known for its fresh seafood, which can go from ocean to plate in a matter of hours. You’ll find dorado, wahoo, snapper, scorpionfish and tuna alongside a multitude of other delicacies on menus across the islands, often served under the ubiquitous ‘fish of the day’ label with a side of chips or rice.

Alternatively, try the Cape Verdean speciality cachupa, a hearty stew simmered for hours with beans, herbs, cassava and sometimes meat. As it takes a long time to prepare, it’s usually only available for one or two days each week, so grab it when you see it. If you’re feeling brave, wash it down with a glass of grogue, a strong traditional tipple hailing from the maritime days made by a small, family-run distillery on Santo Antão.

Cachupa, a classic slow-cooked Cape Verdean dish © AS Food studio/Shutterstock

Anything else I need to know before I go?

Cape Verde is a year-round destination, with temperatures rarely dipping below 20°C, though it’s best to avoid the rainy season between July and October.

There are international airports on Sal, Santiago, Boa Vista and São Vicente. You can get around the islands cheaply by taking one of the ferries, but they are typically slow and unreliable, and the crossings can be rough. Instead, you can fly between most of the islands with Binter Cabo Verde.

Early and colonial history

Although there is no conclusive evidence that the islands were inhabited before the arrival of the Portuguese, cases may be made for visits by Phoenicians, Moors, and Africans in previous centuries. It was Portuguese navigators such as Diogo Gomes and Diogo Afonso, Venetian explorer Alvise Ca’ da Mosto, and Genoese navigators such as António and Bartólomeu da Noli, however, who began to report on the islands in the mid-15th century, shortly before a plan of active colonization and settlement was launched.

In 1462 the first settlers from Portugal landed on São Tiago (Santiago), subsequently founding there the oldest European city in the tropics— Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha). Sugar was planted in an attempt to emulate the success of the earlier settlement of Madeira. Cabo Verde’s dry climate was less favourable, but, with the development of the transatlantic slave trade, the importance and wealth of the islands increased.

Cabo Verde served an increasingly important role as an offshore entrepôt with the development of the triangular trade, by which manufactured goods from Europe were traded for slaves, who were sold in turn to plantations in the New World in exchange for the raw materials produced there with these the ships returned home. Cabo Verde was thus a centre for the trade of cheap manufactured items, firearms, rum, cloth, and the like in exchange for slaves, ivory, and gold. Cabo Verde was especially known for its pano cloths, usually constructed of six strips of fabric made from cotton that was grown, dyed dark indigo, and woven on narrow looms by slaves in Cabo Verde the cloths were a valuable form of currency for the slave trade on the mainland. Tens of thousands of slaves were exported from the coast to the islands and then on to the New World, especially to northern Brazil.

Portuguese efforts to monopolize exploration and trade along the western African coast were disrupted by those who saw the potential of the wealth of Africa for their own interests, and smuggling was rife. Although the slave trade was controlled through the crown-issued monopoly contracts, in the late 16th century the English and Spanish began to wear away the Portuguese monopoly. In addition, the prosperity of Ribeira Grande attracted pirates, who attacked the city in 1541. The English later attacked it twice—in 1585 and 1592—the first time under the command of Sir Francis Drake. After a French attack in 1712, it was decided to move the capital to Praia. With the transfer officially complete in 1770, Ribeira Grande began its long slow decline.

The waning of the slave trade—the Portuguese rulers and merchants reluctantly abandoned the industry in 1876—coupled with increasing drought slowly sapped the islands’ prosperity. In the early 1800s Cabo Verde experienced not only recurrent drought and famine but government corruption and maladministration as well. In the mid-1850s the islands enjoyed a period of economic optimism as the age of steam replaced the age of sail, and large long-distance oceanic vessels needed strategic coaling stations such as Mindelo could provide. As a result, Cabo Verde was briefly the site of great port activity, before the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cut severely into this business. For the wider population there was little relief or improvement, and emigration from the islands became the norm: faced with the prospect of drought and starvation at home, the poorest Cabo Verdeans commonly traveled south to work as agricultural labourers picking bananas and cocoa beans in Sao Tome and Principe others found maritime work on whaling ships.

Watch the video: Santiago island and Praia Cabo Verde. Cape Verde (January 2022).