Cape Verde

The Portuguese explorers discovered the islands in 1456 and described the islands as uninhabited. Cape Verdeans started emigrating to New England. This was a popular destination because of the whales that abounded in the waters around Cape Verde, and as early as 1810 whaling ships from Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the United States (U.S.) recruited crews from the islands of Brava and Fogo.

In 1926 Portugal had become a rightist dictatorship which regarded the colonies as an economic frontier, to be developed in the interest of Portugal and the Portuguese. Frequent famine, unemployment, poverty and the failure of the Portuguese government to address these issues caused resentment. The Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar wasn’t about to give up his colonies as easily as the British and French had given up theirs.

After World War II, Portugal was intent to hold on to its former colonies, since 1951 called overseas territories. When most former African colonies gained independence in 1957/1964, the Portuguese still held on. Consequently, following the Pijiguiti Massacre, the people of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau fought one of the longest African liberation wars.

After the fall (April 1974) of the regime in Portugal, widespread unrest forced the government to negotiate with the PAIGC, and on July 5, 1 975, Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal.

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