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Origin of Sal, Cape Verde

Partly risen from under the sea

Diogo Gomes and Antonio da Noli, navigators in the service of the Portuguese Crown sighted Ilha do Sal in 1460. However, Sal as well as other islands in the Cape Verde archipelago may have been known to the Moors long before Portuguese "discovery". The Portuguese explorer Jaime Cortesao reported the story that Arabs were known to visit an island which they referred to as "Aulil" or "Ulil" and take salt from natually occurring "salinas" . From the descriptions one might assume that they were visiting Ilha do Sal. Most historians contest the theory and point out that the island referred to as "Ulil" by ancient Arab sailors allegedly sunk beneath the seas and disappeared! Curiously, modern day geologists have demonstrated that the southern third of Ilha do Sal was indeed covered by water in some prehistoric era. There is clear fossil evidence of coral reef formation in the middle of Sal island.

The original name given to Ilha do Sal by the Portuguese sailors was "Llana" however some years later after the discovery of the natural salt lake in Pedra de Lume, the name of the island was changed to Sal which means "salt" in Portuguese.