Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Cape Verde Islands

Cape Verde Islands, a volcanic group of ten islands lying in the Atlantic about 320 miles W. of the Cape from which they are named. They are ten in number, Santiago being the largest, Boa Vista the nearest to the coast, and Santa Vicente the residence of the British consul. They were discovered in 1441 by the Portuguese, who established a colony in 1499, and now use it as a penal settlement. The population consists largely of African blacks and half-breeds, the slave system having prevailed as late as 1854. The climate is hot in summer, unhealthy after the periodic rains, subject also to occasional visitations of the Harmattan and also to disastrous droughts. Cattle breeding is the chief industry, and numbers of pigs, goats, mules, and asses are reared. Fish abound on the coast. Orchil is a valuable product, as are coffee, indigo, sugar, and tobacco. Every variety of tropical fruit and vegetable can be grown successfully, but the inhabitants are improvident and idle. Timber is almost entirely wanting.