Cape Verde Profile

When the Portuguese 'discovered' the islands that make up Cape Verde they were uninhabited. Situated half way between Portugal and South America, the ten islands and five islets made for an ideal trading station for all sorts of goods including the slave trade. However, when the slave trade ended, there was little use for Cape Verde as it was no longer required for transit, nor did it have any meaningful natural resources.

This image of Port Mindelo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licenseDespite this, its strategic importance allowed it to remain as a supply destination for ships travelling to and from the Americas with its harbour port Mindelo (left) on this island of São Vicente coming to prominence in the 19th century. However, without generating revenue, Portugal was unwilling to invest in its colony, but neither was it prepared to let it go leading to increasing resentment from the island settlers.

Well over a century later as Portugal's government collapsed, the Cape Verde islands were granted independence from Portugal in 1975 and briefly toyed with the idea of becoming part of Guinea-Bissau however opted for full independence. As with many newly established Africa nations, a one party system was created however full multi-party elections were held in Cape Verde in 1990.

Today, Cape Verde is considered a good example of African democracy. Having no trans-national border issues by definition, the biggest problem Cape Verde faces is droughts leading to many leaving the islands in favour of a steady supply of food, water and better living conditions. In fact more people from Cape Verde now live off the islands than actually live on them. The money they send 'home' help sustain the country's economy. Cape Verde is also affected by plagues of locusts which sweep in from the African mainland at regular intervals badly damaging much needed crops in a country that is already dependent on foreign food aid to feeds its inhabitants.

There are 221,000 children under the age of 18 in Cape Verde and whilst primary school enrolment is pretty much universal only 27% of all children attend secondary school. Just 7% of the population live under the poverty line of 60p a day, however many children in Cape Verde have poor access to clean water and sanitation and they also suffer from regular outbreaks of cholera and there are few doctors on the islands to assist when these outbreaks occur.


Cape Verde Profile

Cape Verde Profile

Cape Verde Profile

Cape Verde Profile



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Cape Verde Profile

Cape Verde Profile

Information and facts about the Republic of Cape Verde from independence to the present day in pictures and video. Cape Verde is part of a developing tourist industry as explored in the video above. After you've watched it why not explore Cape Verde with our interactive map above or catch up with all the current events in Cape Verde in our news portal.


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