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: Jorge Carlos Fonseca
Jorge Carlos Almeida Fonseca was elected president in August 2011 and re-elected with 79% of the vote in October 2016.
Cape Verde is a republic with a president, who is the head of state, and a prime minister who heads the government. The prime minister is appointed by parliament.
Prime minister: Ulisses Correia e Silva
Ulisses Correia e Silva was sworn in as prime minister in April 2016 after leading his Movement for Democracy (MPD) to victory in a general election.
His party ousted the ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) for the first time in 15 years.
He was mayor of the capital Praia between 2008 and January 2016. He has a background in banking, and has served as secretary of state and minister for finance.
The PAICV and the MPD have dominated politics since independence from Portugal in 1975. Both have run the country 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.