|Republic of Cape Verde
República de Cabo Verde (Portuguese)
|Anthem: Cântico da Liberdade (Portuguese)
Song of Freedom
Location of Cape Verde on the globe
Topographic map of Cape Verde
(and largest city)
|Recognised regional languages||Cape Verdean Creole|
|Ethnic groups (Sep 2012)||75% Creole (mulatto)
|-||President||Jorge Carlos Fonseca|
|-||Prime Minister||José Maria Neves|
|-||from Portugal||July 5, 1975|
|-||Total||4,033 km2 (172nd)
1,557 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||567,000 (165th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2012 estimate|
|-||Per capita||$4,112.256 |
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|HDI (2011)||0.568 (medium) (133rd)|
|Currency||Cape Verdean escudo (
|Time zone||CVT (UTC-1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||not observed (UTC-1)|
|Drives on the||right|
Cape Verde (officially called as Republic of Cape Verde) is a country in Africa. It is a group of islands and its official language is Portuguese. During the 1970's and 1980's, other African countries would not let South African airplanes fly over their territory except Cape Verde. The country became an important stop where airplanes filled up their fuel tanks. As of 2008 the number of people living in Cape Verde was 426,998. 
Verde means green in Portuguese.
Geography and climate[change]
Cape Verde is an island State located 375 miles (600 kilometres) away from the coast of Senegal and it comprises ten islands of volcanic origin, nine of which are inhabited. The combined area of all the islands is 4,033 square kilometres.
The islands vary in geographical characteristics. Sal, Boavista, Maio, and São Vicente are flat, with stretches of sand dunes. Santiago, Santo Antão, Fogo, and São Nicolau are more mountainous and arable, although all the islands have a long history of drought. Fogo, the only volcano still active, last erupted in 1995. The capital, Praia, is on the island of Santiago which is the largest in terms of area and population and the first one to be settled, in 1462.
The climate of Cape Verde is influenced by the Sahara desert, but is tempered by the action of the ocean and trade winds. Cape Verde has only two seasons: The dry season, from October to June, and the rainy season, from July to September. The average temperature throughout the year is around 24 degree Celsius.
The first Europeans to arrive in Cape Verde were the Portuguese navigators Diogo Gomes and Antonio da Noli in 1460. The islands were uninhabited, and the first settlement was founded in 1462 on the island of Santiago (the main Island) which was divided into two “capitanias”, Alcatrazes and Ribeira Grande. The first one failed and the main activity in Ribeira Grande was the exploitation of cotton farms. Ribeira Grande served also as a slave trade post and as post of slave Christianization before they were sent to the New World.
The city suffered several pirate raids and for this reason in 1712, after a French attack, the authorities were forced to move the capital to Praia, where it is located until now. Cape Verde had the status of Portuguese colony until 1951 when Portugal changed its status to Overseas Province and in 1961 Portugal gave full citizenship to all Cape Verdeans.
Cape Verde has been independent from Portugal since 5th July 1975. The fight for independence was led by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and headed by Amilcar Cabral, the national hero of both countries, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau.
After independence, Cape Verde was ruled by the PAIGC along with Guinea Bissau until 1980. Aristides Pereira was the president of both countries. Following a coup d’état in Guinea Bissau in 1980 the project of unification of the two countries was abandoned and the party changed its name to PAICV which ruled Cape Verde until 1991, under a single party regime.
In 1990 a multi-party regime was established and in 1991 the first multi-party election took place. It was won by the Movement for Democracy (MPD), a party founded in 1990. The MPD also won the elections in 1996 and the PAICV returned to power in 2001 and won a second five-year term in 2006. Cape Verde has a semi-presidential political system – the President of the Republic is the head of State and the Prime Minister is the head of Government. The President of the Republic is elected directly for a five-year term. The National Assembly, composed of 72 representatives, is elected for a five-year term. Currently the three principal parties have seats in the National Assembly. The Prime Minister is appointed by the National Assembly and nominated by the President of the Republic.
The economic resources of Cape Verde are largely dependent on agriculture and fishing. Agriculture frequently suffers the effects of droughts. The most important crops are coffee, bananas, sugar cane, tropical fruits, corn, beans, sweet potato and cassava. The industrial sector is incipient but is based on the production of “aguardente” (spirits from sugar cane), clothing and footwear, paints and varnishes, tourism, fishing and canned fish, and salt extraction. Banana, canned fish, frozen fish, lobsters, salt, and clothes are the main exports. The national currency is the Cape Verdean escudo. Remittances from emigration are another important source of resources for the State of Cape Verde.
In Cape Verde, the annual rate of population growth and mortality are low, compared to average rates of other middle income countries. The average life expectancy is 66 years and 71 years respectively for men and women. The resident population in the country is estimated at 500,000 inhabitants. There are an estimated additional one million Cape Verdeans living abroad, mainly in the United States, Western Europe, and Africa. Cape Verde has a young population with an average age of 23 years.
Cape Verdean culture is a unique mixture of European and African elements. Corn is the staple food of Cape Verde. The national or traditional dish is cachupa, which is a stew of hominy (dried maize kernals), beans, and whatever meat or vegetables may be available. Other common foods include rice, beans, fish, potatoes and manioc. A traditional breakfast is cuscus, a steamed cornbread, eaten with honey and milk or coffee. Grogue, or sugar cane liquor, is manufactured on the islands and is a popular drink, particularly among the men. Cape Verdean music incorporates Portuguese, Caribbean, and African influences. Popular genres include morna, funaná, batuque, coladeira, and cola san jon.
In Cape Verde, other than private clinics, the government guarantees a public health system which comprises several healthcare centers and three central hospitals (Hospital Agostinho Neto, in Praia, Hospital Baptista de Sousa, in São Vicente, and Hospital Regional de Santiago Norte, in Assomada). The cost of public health is supported by the government, but users must pay a fee which varies in accordance with the capacity of the user to afford it.
After independence the different governments of Cape Verde invested massively in education and illiteracy has been reduced drastically. Today almost one hundred percent of school-age children attend school. Attendance to primary schooling, which comprises 6 years, is compulsory and free from any charge. Education is guaranteed by a network of public schools that span from nursery school to university. There are also several private schools in all levels of education.
- "World Gazetteer Population Figures". World-gazetteer.com. http://world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?geo=-58&men=gpro. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- "Background Note: Cape Verde". State.gov. 2010-06-15. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2835.htm. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- "Cape Verde". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2012/04/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=42&pr.y=15&sy=2009&ey=2012&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=624&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- "Human Development Report 2011 - Summary". The United Nations. p. 19. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Summary.pdf. Retrieved 2011-11-03.