Cape Verde qualifies and ranks amongst the topmost ideal tourist destinations beyond doubt with its mountainous landscapes, mild weather and tidy urban surroundings. It is a tranquil getaway far from the madding crowd, heat and chaos of adjacent African continent. Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cape Verde, is an archipelago consisting of 10 islands and 8 islets. Soothed by the fresh sea breeze, these islands are situated off the western coast of Africa surrounding the Macaronesia eco region of the North Atlantic Ocean. Cape Verde may not be blessed with much of lush foliage but the sun spreads its warmth the whole year round. It comes across as a surprisingly attractive destination with vast beaches that allow for all types of water sports, high quality and delicious seafood, melodious music, an intriguing mix of cultures and the famous annual carnival celebrations. Praia, located on the island of São Tiago, is the capital and largest city.
The most dominating natural feature of Cape Verde is the strong winds that blow all year round from the African continent. Based on this, the islands are broadly categorised in two sections according to their positioning following the wind trend; windward and leeward. The windward islands of Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista are denoted as the Barlavento group. Among these islands, Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio are inhabited but suffer from lack of natural water supplies. Santa Luzia is the only inhabited one and is converted into a natural reserve. The Sotavento group of islands are leeward or in opposite direction of wind and includes Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava. The islands of Cape Verde are mostly mountainous, some of them volcanic, with the land deeply scarred by erosion. There is an active volcano on Fogo and most of the mountains have an average height of 1,280 meters (4,200 ft). The climate of Cape Verde is dictated by dry winds that also sometimes take the shape of severe dust storms blowing in from the Sahara in winter. The islands also experience droughts and famines in frequent interval due to lack of rainfall. They are also prone to tropical cyclones and hurricanes, which are known as Cape Verde-type hurricanes.
Located at the crossroad of the three continents over the North Atlantic Ocean, Cape Verde was discovered uninhabited when the Portuguese explorers landed on its shores in 1456. In the following decades, the archipelago was inducted in as part of the Portuguese empire. Gradually, Cape Verde proved to be a convenient stopover within the trade routes of Africa, Europe, and the New World or America. Subsequently, the islands became a trading centre for African slaves and later an important coaling and re-supplying stop for whaling and transatlantic shipping. In 1951, Cape Verde's status changed from a Portuguese colony to an overseas province, and a decade later, the inhabitants received Portuguese citizenship. An independence movement led by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) begun in 1956 and the country became independent on July 5, 1975. On January 13, 1991, the first multiparty elections were held in Cape Verde and Democracy was restored. The archipelago is now governed by a president and prime minister and both serve five-year terms. The president and the 72 members of the country’s legislative body, unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional, are elected by popular vote. The Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Supremo Tribunal de Justia heads the judiciary in Cape Verde. Due to lack of natural resource base and fresh water, Cape Verde lags behind economically and depends heavily on import for food supply. However the island nation is recovering from earnings and development of the service sector, transport and tourism industry.