The island was uninhabited until the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th century. Even then, after early exploration found no fresh water, no one lived on the island and it was used as cattle pasture in the months of the year when it rained. Its use as a coal depot for transatlantic shipping gave it an anchor for a growing population and since then people have lived and worked there despite the lack of natural resources.
The island is generally flat despite being formed by volcanic activity with the maximum height being a little over 2,000ft. Its main attraction is the town of Mindelo, known as the cultural capital of Cape Verde. It was there that the traditional music of the islands developed and spread to the other islands. These days it’s hard to avoid hearing the music as it is played by much of the population of the capital.
For something a little different, take the hour long ferry journey to the much more attractive island of Santo Antao.