Poor in natural resources, prone to drought and with little arable land, the Cabo Verde islands have won a reputation for achieving political and economic stability.
Also known as Cape Verde, the former Portuguese colony comprises 10 islands and five islets, all but three of which are mountainous. The archipelago lies around 500 km off the west coast of Africa.
It was at one time an important centre of the slave trade.
During the 20th century severe droughts caused the deaths of 200,000 people and prompted heavy emigration. Today, more people with origins in Cabo Verde live outside the country than inside it. The money that they send home brings in much-needed foreign currency.
- Republic of Cabo Verde
- Capital: Praia
- Population 505,000
- Area 4,033 sq km (1,557 sq miles)
- Languages Portuguese, Crioulo (a mixture of archaic Portuguese and African words)
- Religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 71 years (men), 78 years (women)
- Currency Cabo Verdean escudo