Brava (Portuguese for “wild”) is an island in Cape Verde. It is the smallest inhabited island, but at the same time the greenest, of Cape Verde, in the Sotavento group. First settled in the 1540s, its population grew after Mount Fogo on neighbouring Fogo erupted in 1675. For more than a century, its main industry was whaling, but the island economy is now primarily agricultural.
Practically the whole island is a stratovolcano. It lies in the lee of the enormous Fogo volcano. Volcanic activity on the island has been mainly located along three lines, which all intersect at the crest of ground that forms the highest part of the island. Brava has no documented historical eruptions, but its youthful volcanic morphology and the fact that earthquake swarms still occur indicate the potential for future eruptions.
North of Brava are two small islands with four islets; three of them are west of Ilhéu de Cima. The islands are Ilhéu Grande.
The island’s main town is Vila Nova Sintra. The island has elementary and secondary schools, churches, and a square (praça) in honour of the musician Eugénio Tavares.
All of the five villages lie north of the mountaintop, which has four main roads including Furna – Vila Nova Sintra and Fajã de Agua and south to Nossa Senhora do Monte and slightly south of the mountaintop. The two large islands north of Brava are uninhabited. The mountain valleys dominate the south, the east and the west. The north has a few valleys.
Precipitation arrives from the trade wind clouds. The island is covered with a leeward cloud so that evaporation is reduced and the vegetation is more abundant. Key inhabited places include the village of Vila Nova Sintra. The village of Furna has a commercial port.