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Mindelo is the cultural capital and the main centre of the Cape Verde Islands. The islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean some three hundred miles off the west coast of Africa. Mindelo has also been referred to as Porto Grande. The official language spoken here is Portuguese.
Mindelo has many charming colonial buildings and cobbled streets. It is a lively and attractive centre that has numerous cafés, bars and restaurants to offer. Mindelo rose to prominence in the 19th century when the British established a coaling station to supply steam ships. The natural harbour is a volcanic crater and offers a safe haven from the Atlantic Ocean. Mindelo used to supply thousands of ships with coal every year, but as the need for steam power declined, so too did the port. Although Portuguese is widely spoken, Cape Verdeans also speak Cape Verdean Creole, which is based on archaic Portuguese but influenced by African and European languages.
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