Consisting of ten islands, Cabo Verde (the Portuguese translation) is located in the central Atlantic Ocean, approximately 450km off the West Coast of Senegal and 1500 km south of the Canary Islands. The Cape Verde Islands were formed by volcanic activity that projected the rocks above the sea level
The Islands were uninhabited until the Portuguese first landed in 1460. As a result of being at sea for an extended period of time without seeing land, the first island the Portuguese sighted was named Boa Vista, or beautiful view. All the Islands were named according to their unique characteristics or after Portuguese Saints. Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, and Santiago were named after saints. Sal was given its name because of the great salt pans that are found on the island. Maio received its name because the Portuguese reached it in May. Fogo was named for having a volcano, believed to be active at the time it was discovered . Brava Island was also named because of its hostile and rugged appearance
The Portuguese settled in an area of Santiago which they called Ribeira Grande—the first European settlement in the tropics. Being the capital at that time, it became one of the main slave-trade posts between Africa and the New World. As such, Cape Verde was under constant attack from the pirates due to its location on major trade routes between Europe, South America, and Africa. After 1876, with the decline of slave trade, the islands lost much of their economic value to the Portuguese. Between 1951 and 1975, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, fought for improved economic, social and polilitcal conditions in Cape Verde and Portuguese Guinea. Finally, after a year-long war for independence, Cape Verde became an independent republic in 1975.