Santiago / Cape Verde

Santiago / Cape Verde


Cape Verde lies five hundred kilometers off the coast of Senegal. The archipelago formed by volcanism consists of fifteen islands, nine of which are inhabited. A distinction is made between the north-western and the south-eastern Cape Verde.

Geography of Cape Verde

Biogeographers assign them to the Macaronesian Islands. These are made up of five archipelagos, the Azores, Madeira, the Portuguese Ilhas Selvagens, the Canaries and Cape Verde. All of these islands have similarities in terms of flora and fauna.

Cape Verde - Canyon in front of Cidade Velha

Cape Verde - Canyon in front of Cidade Velha


Praia - capital of Cape Verde

One of the southeastern Cape Verde is Santiago with the capital Praia. As befits a capital, it is the largest city of the island republic, which has existed since 1975 after the separation from Portugal. The information on the number of inhabitants varies between 120.000 and 140.000. Praia is the seat of government and administration, the residence of the Roman Catholic diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde and the economic center of the small state. The city lives mainly from the port, in which various goods are handled. As a stopover for passing ships, Santiago has always been important. Other industries are fishing, tourism, the textile industry and salt production.

Cape Verde - Praia with the island of Santa Maria

Cape Verde - Praia with the island of Santa Maria


History of the island of Santiago

The capital city function originally lay with Ribeira Grande, about 15 kilometers away. Today the small, tranquil place is called Cidade Velha. The island of Santiago, discovered in 1460, soon achieved reputation and prosperity as a hub for the slave trade. This was especially true of Ribeira Grande, the first European colonial city in the tropics. However, the prosperity also attracted envious people and looters. The French pirate Jacques Cassard can claim the dubious fame of having destroyed a prosperous city and contributed to its decline. Instead of the city of Ribeira Grande, the importance of Santa Maria increased; that village from which Praia developed. Praia received city rights in 1858.

Cape Verde - Street scene in Cidade Velha

Cape Verde - Street scene in Cidade Velha


Santiago for cruise ship guests

The upper town located on a plateau is of tourist interest. The first houses were built there. The visitor generally does not notice the suburbs reminiscent of South American favelas. We report on the city and its surroundings in our article: Santiago / Cape Verde sights

Cape Verde - The upper town of Praia

Cape Verde - The upper town of Praia


Update March 2021

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