Cape Verde

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A country comprising an archipelago of volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, 563 km (350 miles) westof Cape Verde Peninsula, Senegal, the most westerly point of Africa.


The archipelago is in two groups, Windward and Leeward, and consists in all of ten islands and five islets. Sheer cliffs rise from the sea, and the inland slopes present a jagged landscape as a result of erosion by wind-blown sand.


Agriculture and fishing are the main productive sectors, with fish and salt dominating exports. The domestic economy relies heavily on remittances from Cape Verdeans working overseas.


The islands were uninhabited until they were colonized by the Portuguese from 1462, and were used as a base for the Portuguese slave trade. In 1951 Cape Verde became an overseas province of Portugal and its residents were given Portuguese citizenship in 1961. An independence movement for Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau gained strength during the 1950s and 1960s, and later became the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau (PAICVGB). Cape Verde gained full independence in 1975, but remained linked with Guinea-Bissau as the PAICVGB was the only legal political party in both countries. In 1980 the PAICVGB in Guinea-Bissau was ousted in a coup and the party in Cape Verde dropped the reference to Guinea-Bissau from its name. A multiparty constitution was adopted in 1991, and elections that same year were won by the newly created Movement for Democracy Party. However, the PAICV was returned to power in the 2001 elections.




4033 sq km (1557 sq miles)


476,000 (2005)


Escudo Caboverdiano = 100 centavos


Roman Catholic 91.4%; Muslim 2.8%; other 5.8%

Ethnic Groups:

Mixed 71.0%; Black 28.0%; White 1.0%


Portuguese (official); Portuguese creole (crioulo)

International Organizations:

UN; AU; ECOWAS; Non-Aligned Movement

Subjects: African Studies — World History.

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