Cape Verd Islands, a Portuguese colony situated in the Atlantic ocean, 320 m. "W. of Cape Verd, between lat. 14° 45' and 17° 13' N., and Ion. 22° 45' and 25° 25' W.; area, about 1,650 so. m.; pop. in 1869, 70,164. The islands are of volcanic origin, and a volcano still exists on the island of Fogo. The shores are low, but in the interior there are high mountains. The archipelago consists of the following 14 islands: Sal, Boavista, Mayo, Santiago, Fogo, Brava, Grande, Rombo, Sao Nico-lao, Santa Luzia, Branco, Razo, Sao Vicente, and Santo Antonio. The soil is dry but fertile. ' The heat of the sun is great, but the climate is tempered by the sea breezes. The rainy season lasts from the middle of August to November, and is unhealthy for Europeans. There is a great want of water and trees. Sometimes no rain falls for several seasons, and then the distress of the inhabitants is extreme. In 1832, after a three years drought, 30,000 people perished. All the fruits of S. Europe and W. Africa flourish here, particularly oranges, lemons, melons, and bananas; so do rice, maize, wine, sugar, archil, cotton, and French beans. Coffee was introduced in 1790. Indigo grows wild. Goats and fowls are very numerous; goat skins are a principal article of export.
Asses are reared and exported to the West Indies. The most remarkable of the wild animals are monkeys and bisam cats; venomous reptiles are unknown; whales are found in the neighboring seas, and turtles frequent the coasts. Salt is manufactured and exported to North America. In 1871 the entries at Santiago, the principal port, were 55 steamers of 47,688 tons, and 199 sailing vessels of 19,401 tons; most of the steamers were Portuguese, bound to the W. coast of Africa. - The natives are docile, indolent, and very religious. The Roman Catholic is the only form of worship. Mulattoes, a cross between Portuguese and negroes, form the next most numerous race. The whites constitute about one twentieth part of the population, the slaves one seventh. The language is corrupted Portuguese, which the Portuguese call lingua creoula. As the sea between the continent and the islands is beset with haze and fogs during the greater part of the year, ships sailing southward generally steer outside of the Cape Verd islands. The inhabitants have some commerce with Africa. The most considerable island of the group is Santiago, about 50 m. long and 23 broad in its widest part; pop. about 22,000. The governor resides at Porto Praya, a fortified seaport town on this island, with about 2,000 inhabitants.
In 1870 the garrison on the islands consisted of two companies of artillery. The volcano of Fogo rises to the height of 9,157 ft. The islands were discovered about 1450 by the Portuguese, in whose uninterrupted possession they have ever since remained.