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Introduction

Maio is the easternmost of the Sotavento islands of Cape Verde. Maio is located south of the island of Boa Vista and east of Santiago. The island is known for its sandy beaches and large forest, which is unusual for Cape Verde. Administratively, the island forms one concelho (municipality): Maio.

The island was named Maio (Portuguese for "May") after its first sighting on May 1, 1460. The island was populated years later and was agriculturally known with goat herds, its soil was later depleted. Salt was first exploited in the 17th century which caused the population to grow slightly more.

The inconclusive Battle of Maio was fought between British and French frigate squadrons off the island's southern coast on 23 January 1814 in the last stages of the Napoleonic Wars.

In the mid-18th century, salt continued to be mined, the English used Vila do Maio to export its salt from its salt mines of the northwest to England and the Portuguese used Calheta to export its salt from Terras Salgadas to Portugal. Later, its salt was also exported to Brazil until that country's nationalization in 1887 which devastated the island's salt industry.

USS Yorktown was making its way to visit the nearby island of Santiago and some other African places, it visited Maio on September 4, instead, it sank around the island on September 6 making it one of the first American ships and likely its first sloop to sink in Cape Verdean waters and Maio island. The crew stayed for over a month until October 8 when the USS Dale arrived to pick up the crew and they were transferred to the Portsmouth.

Drought and famine like the rest of the country also struck Maio in the late 19th and the early and mid 20th centuries. Emigration later occurred until independence in 1975. Unlike other parts of Cape Verde,emigration after independence was very low. Maio in its recent decades saw growth that the population is nearly 10,000 today.

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Geography

The island covers an area of 269 km². Coconut palms dominate the south, 50 ha of arable land dominates and has the largest reforested area of the country located in the west and the middle parts. The tallest mountain on the island (436 metres) is on the east coast, in a mountain range named Monte Penoso. Terras Salgadas is a plain filled with salt as well as dunes, in the far north. The northernmost point on the island is Ponta Cais. Bays includes Galeão and Santana to the north and in the southeast is a lagoon named Cimidor. The island’s main town is Cidade do Maio (formerly Vila do Maio), also known as Porto Inglês, near which its airport, Maio Airport lies. Maio are one of six islands that have a surrounding islet or two, it is called Ilhéu Laje Branca. One of the notable beaches include the one west of the island capital, Morro and Praia Gonçalo.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are flights from Praia, the capital city, 3 times per week. TACV Cabo Verde Airlines has an office in Vila do Maio.

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Getting Around

There are buses that circle the island on the single cobblestone road. Hitchhiking is also a common, well-accepted means of transportation. Most inhabitants appear to simply walk, hitching when possible.

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Eat

There are two Italian restaurants across the main street from each other; one, Trattoria del Qwerty, is also an internet cafe.

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Sleep

  • In Cape Verde - A site that offers self catering villa and apartments which you can book direct with the owners. A unique Cape Verdian experience.

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Maio Travel Helpers

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This is version 2. Last edited at 14:02 on Jul 10, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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