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Travel, Tour and Tourism Information for Maio (page 1)
A Travel GuideClick on image to view fullsize image.
Maio belongs to the Leeward Islands group (Ilhas do Sotavento) and is located south of the isand of Boavista and about 25 km east of Santiago. It has a surface area of 268 km2, the longest point, in a north-south direction being 24 km and the widest point, in an east-west direction is 16 km. The island is on the whole fairly flat, the highest point, in the middle, is Monte Penoso, with an altitude of 436m. The valleys are arid and dry and not very deep. Although the island is volcanic in origin, there are few signs to show it.
The climate is very dry and the land is essentially calcium based rock. There is little irrigated land. Eventhough the climate is not particularly favourable, the island does in fact have the biggest forest park in Cape Verde. The Northern region has been well eroded by the rough seas and the strong Northeast winds. Along the coast there are numerous and very beautiful beaches of fine golden sand.
The island was discovered on the 1st of May 1460 by the Portuguese navigators Diego Gomes and Antonio de Noli, and it was from the name of this month that the island "Maio" got its name.
The economic activity of the island at the time was limited basically to the breeding of goats. Later, at the beginning of the XVII century,the production of salt brought more people to the island.
As many English ships stopped here to get supplies, the port became known as Porto Inglês, which means English Port.
In the XIX century, the export of salt to Brazil greatly boosted the economy. During the 20th century, emmigration began and steadily increased. Life in Cabo Verde was difficult, mainly due to the terrible droughts that hit the country year after year.