The Republic of Cape Verde is comprised of the Cape Verde archipelago, consisting of 10 main islands and 5 very small islands. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean, about 640 km west of Dakar, Senegal, on the African mainland. It has a total land area of 4,033 km2. Sao Tiago, the largest island, covers 991 km2. Santo Antao is the second largest island, followed by Boa Vista, Fogo, Sao Nicolau, Maio, Sao Vicente, Sal, Brava, and Santa Luzia. Santa Luzia and the five islets are uninhabited.
The islands were formed by volcanic eruptions 21/2 million to 65 million years ago. The highest point, Pico do Cano 2829 m on Fogo, is an active volcano. All but three of the islands Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio, are rugged, with tall cliffs along the coastlines and mountainous inland.
Cape Verde has a tropical dry climate, with the average temperature in Praia, the capital, ranging from 20° to 25° C in January and 24° to 28° C in July. A continual shortage of rain makes most of the land too dry to support plant life. Average precipitation in Praia is 260 mm, nearly all of which falls from August through September.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.