Cape Verde History

Cape Verde History

When the navigator Alvise Cadamosto was the first European to enter one of the Cape Verde islands in 1456, they were not populated. Four years later, Portuguese seafarers Diego Gomes and Ant¨®nio da Noli took possession of the islands for Portugal. In 1495 they were officially declared a Portuguese colony.

The port of Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha) on the island of Santo Antão became an important stopover for the Portuguese ships that brought slaves from western Africa to Central and South America. The islands also served as a base for Portugal by sea to India. In addition, plantations were created that were processed by slaves from West Africa.

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The Portuguese who settled on the islands achieved great prosperity, which meant that they were repeatedly hit by pirates in the 17th century (including English privateers under the leadership of Sir Francis Drake). Since the island of Santo Antão was the focus of the attacks, in 1614 the bishopric of Ribeira Grande was moved to the island of São Tiago in the south (to the newly founded city of Praia).

From 1650 onwards, the Portuguese colony of what is now Guinea-Bissau on the African mainland was administered from Praia . Due to the migratory movements between the population (a large number of black Africans in Cape Verde came from Guinea), the islands and the mainland remained closely connected for a long time (even after the joint administration of Portuguese Guinea and Cape Verde was ended in 1879).

With the decline of the slave trade (Portugal was the last colonial power to ban human trade in 1876), the Cape Verde Islands also lost importance. In the first half of the 19th century, almost half of the population fell victim to a famine. This was due to prolonged droughts and the progressive soil erosion caused by the radical deforestation of the forests for the plantation of coffee and sugar cane plantations. Due to the poor economic situation, around 180,000 islanders emigrated to the United States in the course of the 19th century.

In 1951, according to AbbreviationFinder, the Cape Verde archipelago received the status of a Portuguese overseas province due to the growing desire for independence of the black African population and thus the limited internal autonomy. As in the other Portuguese colonies, the so-called “native statute”, which enabled a small group of the population to apply Portuguese civil rights under certain conditions (such as a regular income and Portuguese language skills) and thus the status of an ” Assimilado “gain.

In 1956 Amilcar Cabral founded the independence movement “Partido Africano da Independ¨ºncia da Guin¨¦ e Cabo Verde” (PAIGC / African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde). This called for full self-government and the union of Cape Verde with the Portuguese overseas province of Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau). In 1961 the 1954 statute was abolished and the entire population of the former colonies was declared Portuguese citizens.

On the mainland, the PAIGC militias started an armed struggle against Portuguese officials after their demands for full sovereignty had not been met. There was little armed conflict in Cape Verde itself. At the end of the 1960s, the PAIGC troops controlled large areas of what would later become Guinea-Bissau. But it was not until 1974, when the government changed in Portugal due to the “Carnation Revolution”, that Guinea-Bissau and one year later the Cape Verde Islands were granted full sovereignty. After the first elections, in which the PAIGC won the majority, Aristid¨¨s Pereira was elected President and Pedro Pires became head of the government. The legislative organ of the Republic of Cape Verde became the National People’s Assembly with the elected people.The PAIGC dominated political events as a single party.

The political leadership of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde followed the plan for a common state until the early 1980s. After a coup in Guinea-Bissau, in which numerous leading positions (which previously held Cape Verdier) were filled, relations between the two countries deteriorated and the goal of a common state was abandoned. In Cape Verde the PAIGC was renamed PAICV (Partido Africano da Independ¨ºncia de Cabo Verde / African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde) in 1981. President Pereira was confirmed in office and continued his socialist course of government, but nevertheless tried to maintain good relations with the western industrialized nations.

Due to the increasing pressure from opposition movements, the multi-party system was introduced in 1990. In parliamentary elections in January 1991, the liberal MPD (Movimento para a Democracia / Movement for Democracy) achieved a clear majority over the PAICV that had ruled until then. Ant¨®nio Mascarenhas Monteiro (MPD) became Cape Verde’s new head of state, and Carlos Alberto Wahnon de Carvalho Veiga was appointed head of government. Constitutional changes in 1993 strengthened the Prime Minister’s position and assigned the President a role as a representative and moral institution. Both were able to assert themselves in the 1995 elections.The liberal government’s market-based program could not prevent the republic’s external debt from rising steadily (approximately $ 215 million in 1999).

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In January 2001, parliamentary elections were held again in Cape Verde, in which the social democratic PAICV won the majority of seats and thus replaced the MPD as ruling party. Jos¨¦ Maria Neves (PAICV) became the new head of government. In February 2001, Pedro Pires was elected by the PAICV with a very small majority as the new President of Cape Verde and took office in March. In the parliamentary elections in January 2006, the PAICV was able to extend its lead to a solid absolute majority and in February Pedro Pires won the elections again. The PAICV also won a majority in the parliamentary elections in February 2011, but in August Jorge Carlos Fonseca was elected as the new MP’s representative of the opposition party MPD.

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