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Boa Vista: Discovered on the 3rd. of May 1480, after Maio, Santiago and Fogo, Boa Vista, with a surface area of 620 Km2, is pentagonal in shape and is the Island closest to the African Continent. From North to South, its longest point is 31 Km and from East to West 29 Km, with no less than 55 Km of beautiful beaches. It is made up of sedimentary rocks and is basically flat, except in Rabil and Funda das FIGUEIRAS. Its highest peak is the Peak of D'ESTANCIA measuring 390m. Date palms are one of the typical tropical trees growing on the island.
Brava, the most mountainous island of the archipelago where the high peak contrast greatly with the deep valleys, located at the far extreme of the leeward group, was discovered in 1642, but was only populated in 1680 by the inhabitants of Fogo after the volcanic eruption. It is elliptical in shape and has a surface area of 64 Km2. From east to West it is 9 Km long and about 20 Km from the island of FOGO.
Four islets can be seen from the island of BRAVA all of which are uninhabited. The coastline is deeply indented and has formed a number of bays: FURNA, ANCIAO, FAJA and FORNO,. Du to the humidity, BRAVA is much greener than the other islands.
Fogo: Discovered at the same time as Santiago and Maio, on May 1st. 1460, the island of FOGO, west of SANTIAGO, is almost round and shape, and looks as if it is just a volcanic mountain. The surface area is 476 Km2, the fourth biggest island of the Archipelago, it is the highest with the top of the volcano reaching a height of 2,829m. The Vulcan is in fact the ex-libbers of the island. The volcanic cone rises from a sort of plateau about 8 Km in diameter, called CHA DAS CALDEIRAS, the walls on the western side reach almost 1000m and end in a crater 500m in diameter and 180 meters deep. the volcano was active right up to the XVIII century, when the main cone ceased activity and all that remained as testimony to it were the volcanic vapors and deposits of sulfide about The last eruptions was in April 1st. 1995.
Maio: Discovered on the 1 St. May 1460, which gave it name, Maio belongs to the leeward group and is located south of the island of BOA VISTA and about 25 km of SANTIAGO. With a surface area of 268 Km2, the island is on the whole fairly flat, the highest point, in the middle, is Monte PENOSO, with an altitude of 436 m. Although the island is volcanic in origin there are a few signs to show it, the land is essentially calcareous, the valleys arid and dry and not very deep. Along the cost, there are numerous and very beautiful beaches of fine golden sand, in the BAIA de PORTOS CAIS and Praia Real beaches, the turtles can be seen and shell fish is an abundance.
S. Nicolau: situated to the North of the Archipelago, The island of S. Nicolau, knew by the establishment of the 1 St. seminary, in September 1866 which became the center for evangelism, spreading the Roman Catholic faith throughout Cape Verde and Western Africa, has a surface area of 346 Km2, it widest point in the N/S direction of 25 km is on the western side and its shape is very similar to that of the African Continent, narrowing to the east for distance of 52 km. The very active volcanic past of the island is visible in Monte GORDO, the highest peak with an altitude of 1304 m. Upon reaching the sea, the succession of hills and plains terminates in almost sheer cliffs. The valleys on the whole are generally narrow and deep, except for the VALE DE FAJA which is wide and fertile enough for agricultural to flourish.
S. Vicente: discovered on St. Vicente Day, 22nd. January in 1462, the island remained practically uninhabited until the middle of XIX century. It was only in 1838, when a coal deposit was established in PORTO Grande to supply on the Atlantic routes, that the population started to grow. With a surface area of 227 Km2. From east to west, it measures 24 km and from north to south no more than 16 km. The island, from volcanic origin, is quite flat. Its highest point is Monte Verde with an altitude of 774 m. The town of Mindelo became an important port and, an important cultural center. Carnival celebrations in Mindelo are the most animated in the whole of the archipelago . The festival at "BAIAS DAS GATAS" a renewed musical event, take place during one weekend in August when there is a full moon.
Sal: Discovered in 1640, and was known as LLANA or PLANA (meaning flat), the island of Sal, in view of its close proximity to the African continent, has a climate very similar to other zones with the same latitude. It is a very arid island, and although volcanic in origin, the great amount of erosion has made it almost flat. The highest point is Monte VERMELHO, with height of 406m. From north to south, it is about 30 km long but does not exceed more then 12 km in width. The overall surface area is 216km2. It was given its present name when a lagoon in crater of an extinct volcano was discovered, and which, after the rains, produced salt. This crater is known as PEDRA DO LUME. The International Airport Amilcar Cabral is the main gateway for the whole archipelago. The airport was built, in 1939, in recognition that a fueling point for flights to South America was necessary. As a result, a large migration took place, particularly from S. Nicolau to Sal. This factor made possible the construction of the tourist complexes, which for the last 20 years have been growing, more particularly in Sta MARIA, which is the region where the old salt-pits were. The main attraction of this area are the magnificent beaches and sea and the excellent conditions for practicing water sports.
Santiago: In the middle of the Leeward Group, with a surface area of 991 km2, Santiago is the biggest island in the archipelago. In the north/south direction, its longest point is 55 km and from east to west, 29 km. Of volcanic origin, the highest point of its mountainous massifs is called ANTONIA, with an altitude of 1392m. Santiago was the first island to be populated after the Portuguese discoveries in the XV century. The economy of the island was developed mainly through the use of African labor. As a result, it became a commercial trading post with the African continent and naturally assimilated more of the African influence than the rest of the islands. Pirate attacks were frequent on the capital town RIBEIRA GRANDE which was the name given to CIDADE VELHA at that time. In 1583, it was also attacked by forces supporting the Prior of CRATO, in the battle for the succession to the throne of Portugal and in 1712, the French pirate J. Cassard devastated the town. It was at this point on that PRAIA assumed predominance an today is the capital of the Republic.
Praia (Capital of Cape Verde): The annual growth rate of Praia's population is 5.5%. The rate is a cause for major concern and not only for those who have the difficult task of the city's management. The natural growth rate represents 3.5% and, the remaining 2% is due to internal migration. An estimated 3,000 people migrate annually to the capital. In addition, 20,000 to 30,000 travel daily to the city to work.
If the current level of growth is sustained, the population of the city (estimated in 61,000 persons in 1990) will attain 118,000 persons by the year 2000. Last estimates show Praia has presently about 80,000 inhabitants.
Sanitation, water and urbanization are considered the main problems of the city. The city plans to invest US$48 million during the next 4 years to cope with this situation.
Santo Antao: Discovered by Diogo Afonso on the 17 Th. of January in 1462, the island of Sto Antao, have a surface area of 779 km2. It is the second largest island of the archipelago and in shape is rather like a trapezium. It has a maximum length of 43 km between TUMBA to the northeast and CAMARIVA to the southeast. Its widest point is 24 km, from AREIAS (to the north) and CAIS DO FORTES (to the south). In the middle of the island, a mountain range runs from northeast to southeast and ends at TOPE DA COROA (with) an altitude of 1979m). which is a relatively recent volcanic peak. Other peaks are PICO DA CRUZ (1814 m) to the northeast and GUIDO DO CAVALEIRO (1811 m) to the southeast climate is dry in the south, cool in the central region (at an altitude of 1000m) and humid in the northeast region. Quite naturally the vegetation in each region contrasts greatly. The high zones are covered with trees like eucalyptus, the cypress, and the pine-tree. The south, in total contrast, is desert land with herbaceous vegetation. Due to the effects of erosion, the streams are deep and the peaks are very sharp and steep.