Cape Verde is an arrow-shaped archipelago of ten islands, five islets and numerous rocks in the eastern Atlantic. It is on approximately the same latitude as Barbados, lying 500km off the west coast of Africa and 1,500km south of the Canaries.

Santiago, the largest island at 990km², is about twice the size of the Isle of Wight, while the uninhabited island of Santa Luzia is a mere 35km². In total they occupy 4,033km², scattered over 58,000km² of ocean.

The archipelago is often divided into the Barlavento, or windward, northerly islands of Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal and Boavista, and the Sotavento, or leeward, southerly islands of Santiago, Maio, Fogo and Brava.

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