Santiago (Portuguese for “Saint James”), or
Santiagu in Cape Verdean Creole, is the largest
island of Cape
Verde, its most important agricultural centre and home to half the
At the time of Darwin's voyage it was
called St. Jago.
is located between the islands of Maio (40 km west)
and Fogo (50 km east)
and is one of the Sotavento. It was the first of the islands to be
settled, the town of Cidade
Velha being founded as Riberia Grande in 1462.
It is also
home to the nation's capital city of
Praia and to one of the islands’ four international
International Airport, 3 km from the capital (IATA airport code: RAI, Praia).
Santiago is the largest island of Cape Verde, with an area of 991
km². The island is mountainous, although slightly flatter in the
southeast. The wetter climate of the interior and the eastern coast
contrasts with the dryer one in the south/southwest coast.
Praia, located in
the southeast coast, is the largest city of the island, and also
the largest city and capital of the country. Other towns on the
island include Cidade Velha, 15 km west of Praia, Cape Verde's
first capital; Assomada, 60 km north
and Tarrafal in the northern part of the island 75 km from the
island was discovered by António da
Noli in around 1460 who built a garrison in Cidade Velha which was then known as Ribeira
Transcontinental slavery made Cidade Velha the
second richest city in the Portuguese realm. Portugal was unable to protect its colonies because the
English, Dutch, French and Spanish took over the slave trade and
the island was later raided by pirates.
In 1712, the capital
no longer served Cidade Velha which was attacked by pirates and was
moved to the Praia plateau. The island population were
disadvantaged by the Portuguese colonial system and supported
and the African
Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde
independence of 1975. Santiago several times hosted conferences on
Santiago has always been the most populous island in Cape Verde.
The island population has doubled since the independence of Cape
Verde in 1975. Other towns on the island include Assomada and Tarrafal.
The main industries are agriculture, tourism, fishing and others,
and leastly manufacturing. Main agricultural products are corn
, sugar cane
Since the independence of Cape Verde, infrastructure has improved,
especially schools, ports, airports, roads, etc.
Personalities:José Maria Neves, Prime Minister