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Cape Verde

Driving Directions Cape Verde

CAPE VERDE, one of the world’s smallest nations, is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 640 kilometers or 400 miles northwest of Senegal. It consists of ten islands and five islets, and there is an active volcano on Fogo, one of the islands. The islands are divided into the Windward group and the Leeward group.

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Over 50 percent of the popu­lation lives on Sáo Tiago’s island, Praia, the capital. The climate is arid with a cool, dry season from December to June and warm, dry conditions for the rest of the year. Rainfall is sparse, and the islands suffer from periods of severe drought. Agriculture is mostly confined to irrigated inland valleys, and the chief crops are coconuts, sugar cane, potatoes, cassava, and dates: bananas and some coffee grown for export. Fishing for tuna and lobsters is an important industry, but in gen­eral, the economy is shaky, and Cape Verde relies heavily on foreign aid.

Due to its lack of natural resources and droughts, many people have emigrated for many years. Tourism is being encouraged, although the number of visitors is, at present, relatively low.

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Tough the Cape Verde islands were formed by volcanic activity, there is currently only one active volcano (Mount Fogo, also called Pico de Cano). Most of the islands are mountainous with cliffs and ravines. The two districts of Barlavento and Sotavento were determined by the direction of the prevailing northeasterly winds. Barlavento lies windward (closest to the direction from which the wind blows), while Sotavento is leeward (the direction to which the wind blows).

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