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Cape Verde:
Geography

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Cape Verde Page


Background
Definition
The uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century; Cape Verde subsequently became a trading center for African slaves and later an important coaling and resupply stop for whaling and transatlantic shipping. Following independence in 1975, and a tentative interest in unification with Guinea-Bissau, a one-party system was established and maintained until multi-party elections were held in 1990. Cape Verde continues to exhibit one of Africa's most stable democratic governments. Repeated droughts during the second half of the 20th century caused significant hardship and prompted heavy emigration. As a result, Cape Verde's expatriate population is greater than its domestic one. Most Cape Verdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents.
Location
Definition
Western Africa, group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Senegal
Geographic coordinates
Definition
16 00 N, 24 00 W
Map references
Definition
Political Map of the World
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 4,033 sq km
land: 4,033 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly larger than Rhode Island
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
965 km
Maritime claims
Definition
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
temperate; warm, dry summer; precipitation meager and very erratic
Terrain
Definition
steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mt. Fogo 2,829 m (a volcano on Fogo Island)
Natural resources
Definition
salt, basalt rock, limestone, kaolin, fish, clay, gypsum
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 11.41%
permanent crops: 0.74%
other: 87.85% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
30 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
0.3 cu km (1990)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 0.02 cu km/yr (7%/2%/91%)
per capita: 39 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active
Environment - current issues
Definition
soil erosion; deforestation due to demand for wood used as fuel; water shortages; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; illegal beach sand extraction; overfishing
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
strategic location 500 km from west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site


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