Capital: Praia (pop. 200,000 est.). Other city–Mindelo (pop. 67,844 est.).
Nationality: Noun and adjective–Cape Verdean(s).
Population (2011): 516,100.
Ethnic groups: Creole (mixed African and Portuguese) 71%, African 28%, European 1%.
Religions: More than 93% of the population of Cape Verde is nominally Roman Catholic, according to an informal poll taken by local churches. About 5% of the population is Protestant. The largest Protestant denomination is the Church of the Nazarene. Other groups include the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Assemblies of God, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the New Apostolic Church and various other Pentecostal and evangelical groups. There are small Bahá’í communities and a small Muslim community. The number of atheists is estimated at less than 1 percent of the population.
Languages: Portuguese (official); Cape Verdean Creole (national).
Living Conditions: Education: Literacy (2009)–84%. Health: Infant mortality rate (2009)–23/1,000. Life expectancy (2009)–71 years. GDP per capita (2010): $3,157. Unemployment (2010): 10.3%
Independence: July 5, 1975.
Branches: Executive–president (head of state) Jorge Carlos Fonseca, prime minister (head of government) Jose Maria Neves, Council of Ministers.
Judicial–Supreme Court, lower courts
The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited until the Portuguese discovered the islands in 1456. Enslaved Africans were brought to the islands to work on Portuguese plantations. They were joined by entrepreneurs and refugees fleeing religious persecution in Europe, leading to a rich cultural and ethnic mix. In the 16th century, the archipelago prospered from the transatlantic slave trade. Pirates occasionally attacked the Portuguese settlements. The influence of African culture is most pronounced on the island of Santiago, where nearly half of the population resides. Sparse rain and few natural resources historically have induced many Cape Verdeans to emigrate.
With the decline in the slave trade, Cape Verde’s early prosperity slowly vanished. However, the islands’ position astride mid-Atlantic shipping lanes made Cape Verde an ideal location for re-supplying ships. Because of its excellent harbor, Mindelo (on the island of Sao Vicente) became an important commercial center during the 19th century.
Portugal changed Cape Verde’s status from a colony to an overseas province in 1951 in an attempt to blunt growing nationalism. However, Guinea-Bissau (Portuguese Guinea) commenced a war of independence along with Cape Verdians and won, becoming independent in 1975. When Guinea Bissau army carried out a coup in 1980, relations between the two nations deteriorated and Cape Verde went it alone, forming a one party state. In 1991 multi-party elections were held and in November 2011, former President Pires won the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s 2011 prize in good governance for “transforming Cape Verde into a model of democracy, stability, and increased prosperity.”
- Some contact information in Cape Verde.
- A man of peace.
- Entrance for CPM.
- A move of the Holy Spirit.