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Cape Verde: Cape Verde Geography Profile 2012






Cape Verde Geography Profile 2012

The Cape Verde archipelago is located approximately 604 kilometres (375 mi) off the coast of West Africa. It is composed of ten islands (of which nine are inhabited) and eight islets.

The islands have a combined size of just over 4,000 square kilometers. The islands are divided into the Barlavento (windward) islands (Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista) and the Sotavento (leeward) islands (Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava).

The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, where the capital of Praia is located.


Western Africa, group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Senegal

Geographic coordinates: 

16 00 N, 24 00 W

Map references: 


Area comparative: 

slightly larger than Rhode Island

Land boundaries Total: 

0 km

Land boundaries Note: 


temperate; warm, dry summer; precipitation meager and very erratic


steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic

Natural resources: 

salt, basalt rock, limestone, kaolin, fish, clay, gypsum

Natural hazards: 

prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active

Environment - current issues: 

soil erosion; deforestation due to demand for wood used as fuel; water shortages; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; illegal beach sand extraction; overfishing

Geography note: 

strategic location 500 km from west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site