Despite having minimal natural resources or arable land, the Cape Verde Islands have flourished, boasting a GDP that rose seven percent yearly between 2000 and 2009. This sudden economic growth was a result of a booming tourism industry, expertly utilized developmental aid, and the implementation of policy that encouraged foreign investment.
This archipelago consisting of ten volcanic islands lining across the North Atlantic Ocean is divided into two groups: the Barlavento Islands, which slant windward, and the Sotavento Islands, which sit leeward. The largest of the ten islands is named Santiago and hosts over half of the country’s populace, as well as the capital, Praia.
After peacefully seeking independence from Portugal in 1975, the two countries have worked together to further Cape Verde’s prosperity and foreign relationships. Portuguese remains the official language of administration and education, but a Portuguese creole is the most commonly spoken tongue.
- Cape Verde is an island country, made up of ten islands just 375 miles from Senegal on mainland Africa. Nine of its islands are inhabited.
- All of Cape Verde’s islands originated through volcanic activity, but Fogo is Cape Verde’s only active volcano. Its last eruption was in 1995.
- The most famous dish out of the Cape Verde Islands is cachupa, maize and beans, sometimes with meat, sweet potatoes and some other ingredients mixed in.
- Even though the small hopsitals on every island are poorly stocked, Cape Verde’s system of free healthcare and and medical facilities are still more advanced than many other countries in West Africa.
- Due to the islands’ location in the Trade Winds belt, Cape Verde is said to have nearly perfect conditions for wind farms. In 2011, the Cabeolica wind farm opened to provide electricity to 25% of Cape Verde’s population.
- After gaining independence in 1975, Cape Verde made astonishing progress in reforestation efforts, planting up to 7,000 oak, pine and chestnut trees a day.
- Second only to the American state of Florida, Cape Verde hosts the largest breeding coast for loggerhead turtles and enforces strict conservation regulations to protect the animals during their breeding season.
- Cape Verde has been subject to intense drought over the years, each episode of which is generally followed by failing crops and famine. After World War II, 15 percent of Cape Verde’s population—about 30,000 people—were lost to drought and its effects.
- It is considered rude to eat without sharing in Cape Verde. Because of this rule of etiquette, people do not eat in public environments.