Life on the arid island of São Vicente mainly happens in the city of Mindelo, where more than 80% of the approximately 80,000 island residents live.
Regarding its landscape, São Vicente is dominated by the mighty Monte Verde peak (750 metres). Together with the two other mountain ranges (the Madeiral and Fateixa), it defines the appearance of the island. From here, you have a good view of the surrounding countryside and the city of Mindelo. On clear days, you can even see Santo Antão and beyond to the uninhabited islands of Santa Lucia, Branca and Raso. However, unlike the promise of its name, the mountain is not green. It consists of reddish-brown scree. Before the Sahel catastrophe, green beans and corn were grown on its ridges, which probably led to the coining of the name “Green Mountain.” The history of São Vicente is very closely connected with the city harbour of Mindelo. For a long time, Porto Grande was the largest harbour in the Atlantic and therefore the respective economic engine for the entire country. Even today, it’s still very important with its tremendous water depth, even if it’s now less frequented by the international shipping traffic due to the harbours that were built afterwards in Dakar and Las Palmas.
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