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A CHAIN OF islands in the mid-Atlantic, the Republic of Cape Verde was a Portuguese colony until it gained independence in 1975. It has a land area of 1,557 sq. mi. (4,033 sq. km.), with a population of 420,979 (July 2006 est.), and a population density of 326 people per sq. mi. (126 people per sq. km.). The country is very poor. Only 11 percent of the land arable, and a further 6 percent is used for meadows and pasture.

The soil is largely volcanic. Owing to a large population, and compounded by overgrazing and deforestation, there have been regular food shortages in the country from droughts. These may not all be due to global warming, as droughts have been recorded in the area since the ...

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