The archipelago of Cape Verde is located about 500 kilometers off the coast of Senegal and takes its name from the Cape Verde peninsula, the westernmost point of continental Africa. It consists of an archipelago of ten volcanic islands that has Praia as its capital (on the island of Santiago) and is inhabited by about half a million people. Cape Verde is a presidential republic and the official language is Portuguese, but Cape Verdean Creole is also widespread.
The islands of Cape Verde were discovered by some Portuguese navigators in 1456 (at the time they were uninhabited). In 1462 the first city was founded on the island of São Tiago, namely Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha). Given its strategic position, Cape Verde soon became a perfect base for the stopover of ships traveling between Europe and America, becoming, between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century, a very important center especially for the African slave trade . After the eighteenth century, with the end of the slave trade, the islands were practically forgotten and only in recent years has international tourism arrived at these latitudes.
The islands of the archipelago are conventionally divided into Ilhas do Barlavento (“upwind”) to the north and Ilhas do Sotavento (“downwind”) to the south – where the wind in question is the trade winds. The Ilhas do Barlavento are the islands of Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia (the only uninhabited island in the archipelago), São Nicolau, Ilha do Sal eBoa Vista. Among the islands of lee we find instead Maio, Santiago (which hosts the capital Praia), Fogo and Brava.