Monday, May 31, 2010

Cape Verde Islands by Patrick Gordon (1708)

From: Analysis of the whole Body of Modern Geography, by Patrick Gordon (1708)

SECT. IX Concerning the African Islands

Islands of Cape Verde are
W. to E.:
- St. Anthony
- St. Vincent
- St. Lucia
- St. Nicholas
- Insula de Sal
N.E. to S.W.
- Bonavista
- Mago
- Jago
- Insula del Fuego
- Brava
Chief Town of all is St. Jago in the Isle of St. Jago

§2. Cape Verde Islands.

These Islands (the Hesperides of the Ancients) are term'd by the Italians, Isola di Capo Verde; by the Spaniards, Islas de Cabo-Verde; by the French, les Isles du Cape Verde; by the Germans, Cape Verd Insuln; and by the English, Cape Verde Islands; so call'd from the opposite Cape in Negroe-Land, which beareth that Name, and because it is, or appeareth always of a Green Colour.

The Air of these Islands is generally reckon'd very unwholesome, especially in St. Jago, the biggest and chief of them all. The opposite Place of the Globe to Cape Verde Islands, is part of the West American Ocean, lying between 170 and 180 Degrees of Longitude, with 10 and 20 Degrees of Southern Latitude.

The Soil of these various Islands, is not the same in all, some of 'em being very fertil, and others extreamly barren. The length of the Days and Nights in them is the same as in the Land of the Negroes, they both lying under the same Parallels of Latitude.

From these Islands, the Portugueze transport incredible quantities of Salt, as also great numbers of Goat-Skins (of which they make excellent Cordevants [cordovan ~ brown-coloured leather, ed.]); and likeways from thence may be brought most sorts of pleasant Fruits, particularly Limons, Citrons, Oranges, Coco's, Figs and Melons.

The most remarkable of these Islands, is the Isle of Fuego or Fogo, so call'd as being a noted Vulcano, continually sending up sulphurous Exhalations, and sometimes the Flame breaks out (Etna or Vesuvius like) in such a terrible manner, and vomits forth such a number of Pumice-stones, that it annoys all the adjacent Parts. In Insula de Sel are many natural Salt-pits, which yield a prodigious Quantity of Salt; from whence the Island derives its Name.

Archbishopricks, Bishopricks, Universities. None.

The Inhabitants of these Islands being Portugueze, are much the same with those on the Continent.

The Inhabitants of these Islands being Portugueze (as aforesaid) do still retain their own Language.

These Islands at their first Discovery being destitute of Inhabitants, were peopl'd by their Discoverers the Portugueze, and at present belong to the Crown of Portugal, and are rul'd by a particular Governor, who assumeth the Title of Vice-Roy, and commonly resideth in the Island of St. Jago.


The Portugueze here residing, are of the same Religion with those in Portugal.