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Cape Verde

islands portuguese fish portugal

Cape Verde (Republic of), independent nation in Africa, lying in the Atlantic Ocean some 400 mi (644 km) west of Senegal. The area is about 1,550 sq mi (4,015 sq km). Cape Verde consists of 10 islands and 5 islets, forming a horseshoe. The islands are volcanic—only about 10% of the land is cultivable. The climate is tropical, with a rainy season, although recently there has been cyclical drought. Over half of the population is of Portuguese and African extraction. Living standards and the rate of literacy are low. Despite a paucity of fertile land, the country is primarily agricultural. However, most food must be imported. The fishing industry provides the major source of exports. Canned fish, salt, bananas, and frozen fish are the primary exports, most going to Portugal. The Portuguese discovered the island in the 15th century. Cape Verde became a supply station for ships and a transit point during the Atlantic slave trade. Blacks from Guinea were taken to the islands to work on Portuguese plantations. Portugal ruled the islands until 1975, when they became independent. Since the 1991 elections, the Movimento para Democrazia (MpD) is in power.

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