Poor in natural resources, prone to drought and with little arable land, the Cape Verde islands have won a reputation for achieving political and economic stability.
The former Portuguese colony comprises 10 islands and five islets, all but three of which are mountainous. The archipelago lies around 500 km off the west coast of Africa.
It was at one time an important centre of the slave trade.
During the 20th century severe droughts caused the deaths of 200,000 people and prompted heavy emigration. Today, more people with origins in Cape Verde live outside the country than inside it. The money that they send home brings in much-needed foreign currency.
Republic of Cabo Verde
Area 4,033 sq km (1,557 sq miles)
Languages Portuguese, Crioulo (a mixture of archaic Portuguese and African words)
Life expectancy 71 years (men), 78 years (women)
Currency Cabo Verdean escudo
President: Jose Maria Neves
Centre-left opposition candidate Jose Maria Neves won the October election, ending a ten-year hold on the presidency by the centre-right MPD party.
President Neves served as prime minister from 2000-2016, and faces the task of restoring stability to the tourism-driven economy after the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
His PAICV and the MPD have dominated politics since independence from Portugal in 1975, and have alternated in power since multi-party democracy was introduced in 1991.
Cape Verde was ranked second highest among African countries listed in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index in 2014.
Much of the media is state-run, but there is an active private press and a growing number of private broadcasters.
There were 200,000 internet users by 2014 (Internetlivestats.com).
1462 - Portuguese settlers land on São Tiago. Cape Verde becomes a centre for the trade of cheap manufactured items such as firearms, rum and cloth in exchange for slaves, ivory, and gold.
1495 - Cape Verde becomes a Portuguese crown colony.
1960 - Many Cape Verdeans join liberation war against Portuguese rule in Guinea-Bissau. The struggle is led by the African Party for Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).
1975 - Cape Verde becomes independent.
1981 - African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) becomes the country's sole party.
1992 - A new constitution brings in a multi-party system.