Destinations Western Africa

8 Fascinating Facts About Cape Verde

interesting facts about Cape Verde
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Written by Abraham Odhiambo

What are some interesting facts about Cape Verde? Also known as the Republic of Cabo Verde, Cape Verde is a mesmerizing archipelago located off the northwest coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Verde consists of 10 islands, with each telling a story of one of the most beautiful places in Africa.

With the country drawing a lot of attention this year because of the beautiful women spotted at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, we have decided to bring you fascinating facts about Cape Verde you ought to know.

1. Cape Verde Has 10 Islands

Boa Vista

Cape Verde has 10 islands. Photo/ Cape Verde Experience.

As already mentioned, Cape Verde has ten islands, with Santiago being the largest. The other nine islands, in order of size are, Santo Antao, Boa Vista, Fogo, Sao Nicolau, Maio, Sao Vicente, Sal, Brava and Santa Luiza. Despite being among the smallest islands, Sal is the most visited by tourists, thanks to its stunning sandy beaches, turquoise shores and bustling tourist resort.

2. Nobody inhabited the Cape Verde Islands Before 1456

One of the interesting facts about Cape Verde is that the archipelago was uninhabited before the 15th century, with the first people arriving in 1456. According to reports, Alvise Cadamosto and Antoniotto Usodimare are the ones who discovered the island. They returned to the archipelago in 1462 and settled there.

3. Santa Luzia Is the Only Island That Remains Uninhabited 

Santa Luzia is unique in that it doesn’t have any settlement due to its lack of water. In the 18th century, a small community decided to settle there, but they had to leave because of severe droughts that made living conditions impossible.

Santa Luzia

Santa Luzia island. Photo/ Cape Verde Islands (Cabo Verde).

The only way to reach the tiny Santa Luzia island is by chartering a fishing boat from Calhau. At one point, the island contributed to Cape Verde’s economy as it was used for cattle raising and orchid extraction.

4. Less Than A Million People Live In Cape Verde

One of the interesting facts about Cape Verde is that the population is very low. According to the last census carried out in Cape Verde (2021), around 483,628 people were living in the archipelago, with most inhabiting Santiago.

There are more Cape Verdeans living in other countries than on the islands themselves. This is because of the repeated droughts that the country experienced in the last half of the 20th century which led to many people emigrating to other parts of the world. A good number of Cape Verdeans are still leaving the country to look for job opportunities elsewhere.

5. Cape Verde Boasts A Stable Democratic Government

Unlike many countries in Africa, Cape Verde boasts a stable democratic government, which has in turn led to high standards of living. The archipelago is also very safe and the locals are welcoming and friendly, making it an ideal destination for tourists.

6. Cape Verde is of mixed European and African descent

Facts about Cape Verde

Cape Verde was first inhabited by the Portuguese who later brought Africans as slaves. Photo/ International Paralympic Committee.

The Portuguese were the first people to inhibit Cape Verde. They then brought African slaves, who worked for them on their farms. As a result, the people living on the archipelago are either Portuguese or Africans. The official language spoken in Cape Verde is Portuguese; however Creole tends to be used in conversation and it’s this you’ll hear being used on a day-to-day basis.

7. Cape Verde has the third-largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles in the world

Located on the south-east coast of Boa Vista, Ervatao Beach is the third most important loggerhead turtles nesting site in the world. As a result, it is one of the best places for turtle-watching. The leading nesting place for loggerhead turtles is in Florida and the second in Brazil. Also, the waters surrounding the island of Cape Verde are home to 15 species of sharks.

Facts about Cape Verde

Loggerhead turtles in Cape Verde. Photo/ Cape Verde Experience.

8. The only endemic mammal is the long-eared bat.

Due to the harsh climate of Cape Verde, the archipelago does not have many animals. The only native animal on the archipelago is the long-eared bat, which lived there even before the Portuguese came.

Why Is Cape Verde Famous?

Cape Verde is famous for its volcanic islands, warm tropical climate, delicious cuisine and talented musicians. While many Americans may not have heard much about Cape Verde, Europeans are much more familiar with the islands as it is usually considered a winter escape.

Is Cape Verde A Rich or Poor Country?

Cape Verde is a lower middle-income country (MIC) under the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) credit policy.

What Language Is Spoken in Cape Verde?

Portuguese is the official language in Cape Verde but Creole tends to be used in conversations and it’s this you’ll hear being used on a daily basis.

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About the author

Avatar of Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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