Useful country information
Total area: 1,556 sq mi (4,030 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 538,535 (growth rate: 1.39%); birth rate: 20.72/1000; infant mortality rate: 24.28/1000; life expectancy: 71.57
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Praia, 132,000
Other large city: Mindelo, 66,100
Monetary unit: Cape Verdean escudo
National name: Repblica de Cabo Verde
Languages: Portuguese (official), Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)
Ethnicity/race: Creole (mulatto) 71%, African 28%, European 1%
National Holiday: Independence Day, July 5
Religion: Roman Catholic 77.3%, Protestant 3.7% (includes Church of the Nazarene 1.7%, Adventist 1.5%, Universal Kingdom of God .4%, and God and Love .1%), other Christian 4.3% (includes Christian Rationalism 1.9%, Jehovah's Witness 1%, Assembly of God .9%, and New Apostolic .5%), Muslim 1.8%, other 1.3%, none 10.8%, unspecified 0.7% (2010 est.)
Literacy rate: 84.9% (2011 est.)
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 ancestors.
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