Fast Facts

Praia; 107,000
4,036 square kilometers (1,558 square miles)
Portuguese, Crioulo
Roman Catholic, Protestant
Cape Verde escudo
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $1,400
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Cape Verde
Map: Cape Verde

Off the coast of West Africa, Cape Verde consists of ten volcanic islands and five islets. The islands were uninhabited until discovered by the Portuguese in 1456; African slaves were brought here to work on plantations. Independence from Portugal came in 1975. African culture is most evident on the island of Santiago—where half the population lives. Cape Verde enjoys a stable democratic system. Water shortages hinder agriculture, but tourism is a growing industry.


  • Industry: Food and beverages, fish processing, shoes and garments, salt mining
  • Agriculture: Bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes; fish
  • Exports: Fuel, shoes, garments, fish, hides

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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