The Cape Verde Archipelago – May 1st, 2009
The Republic of Cape Verde is an archipelagic nation located in the Macaronesia ecoregion of the North Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa.
On the African coast in this image, parts of Morocco and Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal and the Gambia can be seen (from North to South).
The previously uninhabited islands were colonized by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century, and attained independence from Portugal in 1975.
The Cape Verde archipelago is located approximately 375 miles (604 km) off the coast of West Africa. It is composed of ten islands (of which nine are inhabited) and eight islets.
The islands have a combined size of just over 4,000 square kilometers. The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, where the capital of Praia is located.
The islands are divided into the Barlavento (windward) islands: Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista, and the Sotavento (leeward) islands: Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava.
Though Cape Verde’s islands are all volcanic in origin, they vary widely in terrain. A still-active volcano on the island of Fogo is the highest point on the archipelago (elevation 2,829 meters). Extensive salt flats are found on Sal and Maio. On Santiago, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau, arid slopes give way in places to sugarcane fields or banana plantations spread along the base of towering mountains.