Counties of Cape Verde

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I've updated the populations to the 2010 census data, according to source [5].

The country has announced that it wants to be called "Cabo Verde" in every language, à la Côte d'Ivoire. I suspect that English speakers will continue to call it Cape Verde for a while. Update 14 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4), dated 2013-12-31, adopts the new name.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 is dated 2011-12-15. For Cape Verde, this update largely repeats the changes listed in Newsletter II-2. The one difference is that it eliminates a duplicate. The code for São Lourenço dos Orgãos used to be the same as the one for Sal.

The five new counties are accounted for in Newsletter II-2 (2010-06-30), an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, and in Update 1 (2010-08-20) to the U.S. standard "Geopolitical Entities and Codes".

Most sources say that the capital of Sal county is Espargos. I had previously reported that it was Santa Maria, based on the CIA map. The capital of Maio county is Vila do Maio, but an alternate (obsolete?) name for that city is Porto Inglês, which appears in some sources.

Note: Portuguese for council is conselho; for county (specifically, one of the counties into which Cape Verde is divided), concelho. The two words are easy to confuse.

According to the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE) and other sources, sometime between 1980 and 1991, Mosteiros, São Domingos, São Filipe, and São Miguel counties were formed, and Fogo county disappeared. Oddly, none of the major reference works mentioned them until 2000, and even then, one of them was still left off the list.

FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 9, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2004-10-01. It assigned FIPS codes for the above changes, and also for Santa Cruz. It also changed the FIPS codes of the old counties from which the new ones were formed. Porto Novo county existed then, but no FIPS code was assigned to it until the 2010 update.

The original ISO 3166-2 standard (1998) had listed only the fourteen counties listed below under Change history, 1971. (They were designated "municipalities".) ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2, published on 2002-05-21, showed the changes described above. It gave the name of São Miguel as "Calheta de São Miguel". All the additional counties were in Sotavento group.

Country overview: 

Short nameCAPE VERDE
ISO codeCV
LanguagePortuguese (pt)
Time zone-1


Cape Verde had been a Portuguese colony for more than five centuries when it was granted its independence on 1975-07-05.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Kap Verde, Kapverdiske Øer
  2. Dutch: Kaapverdië, Republiek Kaapverdië (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Cape Verde (formal)
  4. Finnish: Kap Verde
  5. French: Cap-Vert m
  6. German: Kap Verde, Kapverden (Swiss), Kap Verde Inseln fp, Republik f Kap n Verde
  7. Icelandic: Grænhöfðaeyjar
  8. Italian: Capo m Verde
  9. Norwegian: Kapp Verde, Republikken Kapp Verde (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Cabo Verde, República f de Cabo m Verde (formal) (n in Portugal)
  11. Russian: Республика Кабо-Верде (formal), Республика Острова Зелёного Мыса (variant)
  12. Spanish: Cabo Verde, República f de Cabo m Verde (formal)
  13. Swedish: Kap Verde
  14. Turkish: Yeşil Burun Cumhuriyeti (formal), Verde Burnu (variant)

Origin of name: 

After Cap Vert, Senegal (Portuguese Cabo Verde: green cape)

Primary subdivisions: 

Cape Verde is divided into twenty-two concelhos (counties), also called municípios.

Boa Vista CV.BVBVCV01519,162 620239Sal-Rei B
Brava CV.BRBRCV02915,995 64 25 Nova Sintra S
Maio CV.MAMACV04616,952 269104Vila do Maio S
Mosteiros CV.MOMOCV13819,524 82 32 Mosteiros S
Paul CV.PAPACV05126,997 54 21 Vila das PombasB
Porto Novo CV.PNPNCV211318,028 558215Porto Novo B
Praia CV.PCPRCV1474131,60294 37 Cidade Velha S
Ribeira Brava CV.RBRBCV22317,580 343132Ribeira Brava B
Ribeira Grande CV.RGRGCV071118,890 16764 Ponta do Sol B
Ribeira Grande de SantiagoCV.RSRSCV23748,325 16463 Praia S
Sal CV.SLSLCV084125,765 21683 Espargos B
Santa Catarina CV.CTCACV157243,297 21382 Assomada S
Santa Catarina do Fogo CV.CFCFCV24825,299 Cova Figueira S
Santa Cruz CV.CZCRCV167326,609 11043 Pedra-Badejo S
São Domingos CV.SDSDCV177513,808 13853 São Domingos S
São Filipe CV.FPSFCV188222,228 394152São Filipe S
São Lourenço dos Órgãos CV.LOSOCV25737,388 39 15 João Teves S
São Miguel CV.SMSMCV197615,648 91 35 Calheta S
São Salvador do Mundo CV.SSSSCV26728,677 30 12 Assomada S
São Vicente CV.SVSVCV112176,107 22788 Mindelo B
Tarrafal CV.TFTACV207118,565 11243 Tarrafal S
Tarrafal de São Nicolau CV.TSTSCV27315,237 Tarrafal de São NicolauB
22 counties 491,6833,9851,539
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: County codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global context, prefix "CV-" to
    the code (ex: CV-SL represents Sal).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • CGN: National Geographic Code. Cape Verde uses four-digit postal codes. The first two digits
    are the same as the county's CGN. Source: [3].
  • Population: 2010-06-16 census. Source: [5].
  • Group: Barlavento (B) or Sotavento (S). See Further subdivisions.

Further subdivisions:

See the Parishes of Cape Verde page.

Barlavento and Sotavento are not administrative divisions, although each has its own Chamber of Commerce. Verdeans sometimes call them regiões (regions), sometimes distritos (districts), but most often just grupos (island groups). ISO 3166-2 called them districts, but it changed the designation to geographical regions. I've decided to use "groups", which has the least official resonance. Mindelo is the chief town of Barlavento, and Praia of Sotavento. The codes B and S are part of the ISO 3166-2 standard, and the derived GENC standard.

Territorial extent: 

  1. Smaller islands are usually contained in the nearest county on a larger island.
  2. Boa Vista Island corresponds to Boa Vista county.
  3. Brava Island corresponds to Brava county (along with Rei and Rombo Islands).
  4. Fogo Island corresponds to Mosteiros, Santa Catarina do Fogo, and São Filipe counties.
  5. Maio Island corresponds to Maio county.
  6. Sal Island corresponds to Sal.
  7. Santo Antão Island corresponds to Paul, Porto Novo, and Ribeira Grande counties.
  8. São Nicolau Island corresponds to Ribeira Brava and Tarrafal de São Nicolau counties.
  9. São Tiago (or Santiago) Island corresponds to Praia, Ribeira Grande de Santiago, Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, São Domingos, São Lourenço dos Órgãos, São Miguel, São Salvador do Mundo, and Tarrafal counties.
  10. São Vicente Island corresponds to São Vicente (along with uninhabited Santa Luzia Island).

The UN LOCODE page  for Cape Verde lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Barlavento: Portuguese for windward. Prevailing winds are from the northeast, and these islands are to the north.
  2. Boa Vista: Portuguese for good view.
  3. Brava: Portuguese for wild.
  4. Fogo: Portuguese for fire. Island has an active volcano.
  5. Maio: Portuguese for May. Island was discovered in May 1460 by António de Noli and Diogo Gomes.
  6. Paul: Portuguese for marsh.
  7. Praia: Portuguese for beach.
  8. Ribeira Grande: Portuguese for big creek.
  9. Sal: Portuguese for salt. There were salt mines there.
  10. São Vicente: Island discovered on Saint Vincent's feast day, 1462-01-22.
  11. Sotavento: Portuguese for leeward.

Change history: 

  1. Note: History is incomplete until 1971.
  2. 1769: Capital of Cape Verde Islands moved from Cidade Velha (formerly known as Ribeira Grande) to Praia.
  3. ~1894: Paul county merged with Ribeira Grande, which thereby became the only county on Santo Antão island.
  4. 1935: Sal county split from Boa Vista.
Boa Vista2,902
Ribeira Grande15,157
Santa Catarina15,454
São Nicolau10,311
São Vicente19,138
  • Population: 1950-12-15
    census (source [4]).
  1. ~1971: Porto Novo county split from Paul.
  2. 1971: Santa Cruz county split from Praia. At this time, the divisions of Cape Verde were as shown in this table:
Boa Vista CV.BVBVCV013,110 620239Sal Rei
Brava CV.BRBRCV026,610 67 26 Nova Sintra
Fogo CV.FOFOCV0334,580476184São Filipe
Maio CV.MAMACV044,560 269104Porto Inglês
Paul CV.PAPACV059,080 54 21 Pombas
Porto Novo CV.PNPN 13,650558215Porto Novo
Praia CV.PRPRCV0694,250396153Praia
Ribeira GrandeCV.RGRGCV0722,30016764 Ponta Sol
Sal CV.SLSLCV088,150 21683 Santa Maria
Santa CatarinaCV.CACACV0948,00024394 Assomada
Santa Cruz CV.CRCR 27,73014958 Pedra Badejo
São Nicolau CV.SNSNCV1012,630388150Ribeira Brava
São Vicente CV.SVSVCV1162,71022788 Mindelo
Tarrafal CV.TATACV1229,33020378 Tarrafal
14 counties376,6904,0331,557
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: County codes from ISO 3166-2: 1998. For full identification
    in a global context, prefix "CV-" to the code (ex: CV-SL represents Sal).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 1990 estimates.
  1. ~1988: São Domingos county formed by taking Nossa Senhora da Luz and São Nicolau Tolentino parishes from Praia.
  2. 1991: Mosteiros county formed by taking Nossa Senhora da Ajuda parish from Fogo county. The remainder of Fogo county renamed São Filipe county.
  3. ~1991: São Miguel county (area 91 km.², ISO code CV-CS from 2002 to 2010) formed by taking São Miguel Arcanjo parish from Tarrafal county.
  4. 2005-08-03: Five new counties were formed in 2005. Ribeira Grande de Santiago county formed on 2005-07-23 by taking Santíssimo Nome de Jesus and São João Baptista parishes from Praia (former HASC code CV.PI, ISO code PR, FIPS code CV14). Santa Catarina do Fogo county formed on 2005-07-25 by taking Santa Catarina parish from São Filipe (CV.SF, SF, CV18). São Lourenço dos Órgãos county formed on 2005-07-21 by taking São Lourenço dos Órgãos parish from Santa Cruz (CV.SZ, CR, CV16). São Salvador do Mundo county formed on 2005-07-19 by taking São Salvador do Mundo parish from Santa Catarina (CV.SC, CA, CV15). Tarrafal de São Nicolau county formed on 2005-08-03 by taking São Francisco parish from São Nicolau (CV.SN, SN, CV10). The remainder of São Nicolau county was renamed Ribeira Brava. ISO code for Säo Miguel changed from CS to SM, since ISO had formerly called this county Calheta de Säo Miguel.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Paul: Paoul (French); Paúl (common misspelling)
  2. São Miguel: Calheta de São Miguel (variant)

Population history:

Boa Vista2,7792,9853,2633,5693,3723,4524,1939,162
Mosteiros     8,3319,4799,524
Porto Novo10,3667,56510,68313,75013,23614,87317,23918,028
Ribeira Grande19,76615,44417,24622,87322,10220,85121,56018,890
Santa Catarina26,84819,42830,20741,46241,01241,58449,97051,974
Santa Cruz13,4869,56814,36821,15822,99525,89232,82233,997
São Domingos     11,52613,29613,808
São Filipe23,02217,58225,61529,41230,97825,57127,93027,527
São Miguel     13,78716,15315,648
São Nicolau14,84610,36613,86616,30813,57213,66513,53612,817
São Vicente15,84819,57620,70531,57841,59451,27767,84476,107
  • Note: Figures for São Filipe before 1990 actually represent Fogo county.
  • Figures for 2010 represent the county structure as of 2000.


  1. [1] Retrieved from Instituto Nacional de Estatística  site on 2008-12-19 (requires free registration).
  2. [2] 1990 census data are from the Atlas de Cabo Verde  site, retrieved about 2003.
  3. [3] The CGN-CV (Código Geográfico Nacional de Cabo Verde: National Geographic Code of Cape Verde) is defined by the Instituto Nacional de Estatística of Cape Verde. There is a document containing an overall description of the code system, titled "Apresentação Geral" (, and another with the actual codes down to parish level, titled "Estrutura" ( Both were retrieved about 2003. There is a seven-digit CGN code for each of 4,526 places in Cape Verde. The first five digits of a code represent the zone in which the place is located. The first three digits represent a parish (freguesia); the first two, a county (concelho); and the first digit alone, one of the nine inhabited islands.
  4. [4] Demographic Yearbook , 7th Ed. Statistical Office of the United Nations, New York, 1955 (retrieved 2011-08-20).
  5. [5] Resumo dos Principais Resultados ...  (Excel download). IVº Recenseamento Geral da População e de Habitação, Instituto Nacional de Estatística, 2010 (retrieved 2014-02-11).
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