Cape Verde (Portuguese: Cabo Verde), officially known as the Republic of Cabo Verde (Portuguese: República de Cabo Verde), is a West African island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands off the coast of Mauritania and Senegal in the North Atlantic Ocean. These islands are of volcanic origin and were previously uninhabited.
The islands were found and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century, and became central in the Atlantic slave trade routes. This attracted pirates and privateers, including one Sir Francis Drake. In 1832 the islands were visited by Charles Darwin's expedition. With the decline of slave trade, the early prosperity started to disappear, though it became an important place to re-supply ships. In 1951, its status as a colony was changed into that of an overseas province in order to control the growing nationalist and anti-colonial attitudes.
In 1956, Amílcar Cabral organized the PAIGC in order to liberate both Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. Although the PAIGC started their rebellion against the Portuguese Empire, there wasn't much fighting in Cape Verde (at least, compared to Guinea-Bissau, where it was far more violent). Cape Verde achieved their independence in July 5, 1975.
Following the coup in Guinea-Bissau, the relations between these two countries became strained, leading to the formation of the PAICV (African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde). Relations were later normalized and they remain good. The PAICV ruled the country in a one-party system till 1990. The first multi-party election were held the following year.
Its official language is Portuguese, though a regional language called the Cape Verdean Creole was also recognized. Despite its lack of natural resources, the country became a good economic example for other African nations to follow, due to stability and developmental growth.
Cape Verde is also famous in the world of meteorology, having lent its name to the so-called "Cape Verde hurricane", a type of tropical storm that forms near the islands. Meteorologists typically get antsy the moment they see a low-pressure system form around here during hurricane season, as a storm that forms here has a very long running start over thousands of miles of warm, tropical ocean water to feed it as it moves west. Some of the most powerful and longest-lived Atlantic hurricanes came from Cape Verde.
The Cape Verdean flag
The Cape Verdean national anthem
- Unitary semi-presidential republic
- President: Jorge Carlos Fonseca
- Prime Minister: Ulisses Correia e Silva
- Capital and largest city: Praia
- Population: 543,767
- Area: 4,033 km² (1,557 sq mi) (166th)
- Currency: Cape Verdean escudo (Esc) (CVE)
- ISO-3166-1 Code: CV