Cape Verde, or Cabo Verde, is a nation on a volcanic archipelago of 10 islands and 5 islets off the northwest coast of Africa, about 385 miles (620 kilometers) west of Dakar, Senegal. Cabo Verde is named for the westernmost cape of Africa, Cape Verde (French: Cap Vert), which is located in nearby Senegal and is the nearest point on the continent. In 1975, Cape Verde declared its independence from Portugal. It’s known for its Creole Portuguese-African culture, traditional morna music (popularized internationally by Cesária Évora, the “Queen of Morna”) and numerous beaches. Cabo Verde’s largest island, Santiago, is home to the current capital, Praia.
Aptly-named Boa Vista (beautiful view) is one of the largest Cape Verde islands. Boa Vista offers miles of uncrowded beaches (Praia de Santa Monica – named after the southern California beach — and Praia do Estoril are popular) and excellent opportunities for windsurfing, snorkeling – which is how we spent our afternoon there — diving, kite surfing and fishing. Some visitors go for a hike in the mini-Sahara Desert that is Deserto de Viana, ride quad bikes along the shore, go birdwatching for rare varieties, or see the ever-deteriorating Cabo Santa Maria shipwreck, now a rusty shell sitting off the coast. Sal Rei, the island’s diminutive capital, is home to roughly half of Boa Vista’s inhabitants and is a pleasant spot for sampling langostada (lobster), sipping grogue (the national drink, a local rum distilled from sugar cane), and shopping for authentic crafts.
“The overwhelming majority [approximately 70%] of the population of Cabo Verde is of mixed European and African descent and is often referred to as mestiço or Crioulo. There is also a sizable African minority, which includes the Fulani (Fulbe), the Balante, and the Mandyako peoples. A small population of European origin includes those of Portuguese descent (especially from the Algarve, a historical province, and the Azores islands), as well as those of Italian, French, and English descent. There is also a substantial number that traces its roots to Sephardic Jews who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th and 16th centuries during the Inquisition and were among the islands’ early settlers, or to other groups of Jews—mainly tradesmen—who arrived in the 19th century from Morocco.” — www.britannica.com
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