Facts About Culture, Geography, and History of Cape Verde
Cape Verde is also known as Cabo Verde. A country with a population of about half a million, located on an archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa. The natural winds from the sea on the islands make Cape Verde a great place for surfing, kite surfing, and diving. Here are twelve more fun facts that we will share with you about the beautiful islands called Cape Verde.
12. Sugar cane liquor is a very popular drink there
Sugarcane liquor is a popular drink on the Cape Verde islands, especially among the men. It is known traditionally as the Grog or Grogue and is recognized as the national liquor of the country. It is manufactured on the island by farmers.
It has an alcohol content of over 40% because the sugar cane is distilled. It has similar characteristics with rum, both white and brown grog makes for any occasion drink. The white grog is not as smooth and ripened as its brown counterpart and it is more commonly used as a base for a cocktail combo.
11. Corn is a stable food and Cachupa the national dish
Corn is the staple food of Cape Verde and Cachupa is their national dish. It is a stew principally made of mashed corn, manioc, sweet potatoes, onions, green bananas, squash, and yams. There are slight variations of Capucha. In some cases beans, fish or meat is also added to the slow-cooked stew. Women spend time before major celebrations cutting and cleaning vegetables while also pounding corn. Xerem is a type of Capucha It is however made of more finely grounded corn.
10. More expatriates than people living on the islands
Cape Verde’s expatriate population is greater than its domestic population because of the repeated droughts that the country experienced.The scarcity of food led to a massive emigration of the local population from the country to the United States of America, Europe, and South America during the second half of the twentieth century.
9. One of the most stable governments in Africa
Cape Verde is blessed with one of Africa’s most stable democratic governments. Due to the lack of natural resources, the country ensures creating a prominent option for implementing a democratic government that allows the people to elect those that hold leadership and government positions. The President holds office for a five-year term.
8. Visited by Darwin and Columbus on their voyages
Charles Darwin once visited Cape Verde. He almost spent 21 days in the islands with the mission of studying flora and fauna on the island in 1832. Christopher Columbus also visited the island of Boa Vista in 1498. He stopped by Cidade Velha while on his third voyage to the Americas.
7. Was a joint country with Guinea-Bissau until 1980
Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau were a joint country until 1980. Both countries fought for their independence using the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) against Portugal in 1961.
In 1973, Portuguese Guinea declared independence and was granted in 1974. Cape Verdeans also gained their independence in 1975. In 1980, however, there was a coup in Guinea-Bissau which strained the relationship between the two countries and caused them to part ways. After this, Cape Verde formed the African Party for the independence of Cape Verde (PAICV)
6. Largest island is Santiago
Santiago is the largest island of all both in population and size, housing 90% of the nation’s population. It is also home to the capital city, Praia. It is also the most African of all the islands, bustling with culture and life. The edges of the islands are scattered with fishing villages and deserted beaches. The highest point is twin peak Pico do Santo Antonio, which is one of the many mountains in the country.
5. Pico do Fogo is the highest peak
Pico do Fogo is the highest peak of Cape Verde, rising to 2,829 meters (9,281 ft) above sea level. It is a stratovolcano which is active and lies within the Fogo island. The last eruption was in 1995 through the subsidiary vent.
The mountain slopes and carries the soda ash that is used to grow coffee. A village called Cha das Caldeiras exist in the caldera of the just at the peak of the mountain. The landscape around Pico do Fogo is fertile and yields crops like peanuts, beans, oranges, tobacco and grapes used for red wine is also grown within the caldera.
4. Islands are either rainy or almost totally dry
Santiago, Fogo, and Santo Antao are the islands that see the most rainfall while Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio see almost no rain; they are level and lack any natural water supply. The ten islands can be broadly divided into two, the Windward group also known as the Barlavento which consist of Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista.
These islands are characterized by jagged cliffs and erosion because of the high winds. The Sotavento group of islands consists of the Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava and is rocky and volcanic agricultural islands.
3. Not a very agriculture friendly place
Approximately only 10-11% of Cape Verde’s land is suitable for agriculture.The country is dependent on imported food including foodstuffs, beverages, cereals, fruits, and vegetables. This is because the soils are igneous or volcanic in origin, and therefore it is coarse, rocky and shallow. Generally, the land is arid and not suitable for agricultural purposes.
2. First discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in 15th century
Cape Verde was an uninhabited island which was first discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century. The Portuguese first landed in the year 1460. The Ribeira Grande on Santiago was used as the slave trade post between Africa and the New World. Cape Verde became an overseas province a status given to them by the Portuguese in 1951 and finally became independent in 1975.
1. Home of the long-eared bat
The long-eared bat is the only native animal to the Cape Verde islands. The grey long-eared bat is a land mammal, scientifically called Plecotus Austriacus. As early as 1960, the grey long-eared bat was differentiated from the brown long eared bat by the shade of its belly. It hunts by day for months and accounts for over 20% of all the mammals in the islands
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