Cape Verde: History

An Archipelago of 10 Volcanic Islands

Cape Verde History

In 1460, when the Genovese António Noli and the Portuguese Diogo Gomes, both navigators in the service of the Portuguese Crown, discovered the first five islands the islands of Cape Verde, they were not inhabited. In 1462, the navigator Diogo Afonso discovered the other islands. The settlement of the islands began with free Europeans and slaves from the Coast of Africa. Santiago was the first island to be colonised.

The expansion of the commercial routes and the flourishing of the slave trade, as well as their privileged geographical location, the islands of Cape Verde played an important role as a commercial slave post. The lucrative and flourishing slave trade, as well as the agricultural advances registered in the island of Fogo sank into oblivion the difficulties felt in the first period of settlement. Nevertheless, during the 17th and 18th centuries, Cape Verde was frequently attacked by pirates. In fact, the famous pirate Francis Drake, in the service of the British Crown, honoured Cape Verde with his renowned visits. Later on, in the 19th century, due to the excellent conditions of the Bay of Mindelo, it became one of the busiest ports for the world transatlantic trade, thus making of Mindelo a cosmopolitan city that is still known today.

During the second half of the 20th century, the high educational and cultural level of the Capeverdean elites led them to occupy important positions in PAIGC, the party that headed the struggle for the liberation of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, until the independence of the territory that took place on the 5th of July of 1975. On the 13th of January of 1991, a multi-party system was introduced in the country. Since then Cape Verde has a stable parliamentary democracy system of government, similar to the Western model, and it is a politically stable country, enjoying peace and social stability, as well as the absence of any kind of internal or external conflict, and envisaging good perspectives of economic development.