home page
                                                                 CABO VERDE 

Area: 1,557 square miles.  Form of Government: Republican
Landscape: Rugged volcanic islands GDP per capita:$1,330 (2000) 
Population: 435,000 in June 2000 Occupations: farming, fishing, factories, services 
Population growth rate: 2.4% Principal products: foodstuffs, fish, shoes bananas, textiles 
Life expectancy: 69 years 
Literacy rate: 75% 

GEOGRAPHY: Cabo-Verde  is  made up of 10 islands and  eight islets located in  the mid-Atlantic Ocean,
about 385  miles off the  west coast of África, west  of  Senegal  and  Mauritania.   It is slightly larger than 
Rhode Island.    Crops can only be grown on one tenth of the land. There is very little rain, and sometimes 
it does not rain for many years. In earlier years, many people died of starvation or immigrated. 

HISTORY: Beginning 1400, the  European countries started to explore the rest of the world.  Portugal sent 
its ships down the African coast on the way to India and  they discovered, in 1456, the Cabo-Verde Islands. 
The city of Ribeira Grande today (Cidade Velha) in São Tiago Island  became, in 1462, the first  permanent
 European  settlement  city in  the  tropics.    Both  Christopher  Columbus  and  Vasco  da  Gama  visited Cabo Verde during their explorations. Cabo-Verde became a Portuguese colony for over 500 years. 

The  Portuguese made  Cabo-Verde, a  center of  the  slave trade.   Slaves were captured in  África, sent to 
Cabo-Verde and then sent across the Atlantic to the West Indies and Brasil. In the 19th century, at the end 
of the slave trade, Cabo-Verde became an important stop for the whaling ships from New England. Later, as 
the sailing ships were replaced by those using coal, ships  refueled there.   Because of the  droughts, many Caboverdians immigrated to other countries. Some went to Europe and África, but the largest number came 
to the United States, especially New England. 

Cabo-Verde became independent on July 5, 1975.  Aristides Pereira became  the first  President and Pedro 
Pires the first Prime Minister. The Government is responsible to the National Assembly and is elected every 
5 (five) years. 
The African Party for the independence of Cabo-Verde  (PAICV) ruled  Cabo-Verde between  1975  and 1991. 
The Movement for Democracy (MPD)  won the first (1991)  and the  second (1996)  multi-party elections and 
the former ruling  Party, PAICV won  the third  elections in  2001.    Pedro Pires  became  President  of  the 
Republic  with  only 12  votes  difference.   These  elections, which  were  universal, direct, and  with  secret 
ballots, were noteworthy for being completely  peaceful free and fair and for being the first in the  1990s wave 
of  democratic elections in África.   Cabo-Verde is  considered to have one of  the most democratic systems 
and best human rights record in África

CABO VERDE AND THE UNITED STATES: Cabo-Verde and  the United  States have a special  relationship. 
In the  19th century, whale  oil  was  needed for  lamps, and  many  whaling ships set out from New England. 
They found that Cabo-Verde was a good place to stop and get supplies and new sailors for their boats.
Because of so many American ships stopped in Cabo-Verde, a consul (representative of the U.S.Government) 
was sent to  Cabo-Verde  islands  in  1818  to  help  the  Americans  who stopped  there.   In  1843,  the U.S. 
established the  African  Squadron in  Cabo-Verde to catch ships,  which were  trading in  slaves.   The ships 
stayed until 1861, when they were needed for duty in the Civil War. There is a cemetery in Cabo-Verde where 
sailors of the squadron are buried. 
Many Caboverdians came to the United  States, especially New  England..  Many of the crews of the whaling 
ships returned with the  ships and then sent for  their  relatives and friends.  There are as many people whose ancestors came from Cabo-Verde in the United States as  in Cabo-Verde.  The Caboverdians have held many different  jobs  in  the  U.S., but  have  been  especially  important in  fishing  and  growing  cranberries.   The 
cranberries from Plymouth that we eat for  Thanksgiving were  probably  picked  by  Caboverdians-Americans. 
The Caboverdian-Americans keep up their  ties  with Cabo-Verde.   They visit as much as they can and send
money and goods to relatives and friends.Several times a year, a ship goes from New Bedford, Massachusetts 
to Cabo-Verde, with clothing, household goods, toys, and medicines.   The United States and Cabo-Verde are 
good friends. Over the years, the U.S. has given assistance to Cabo-Verde.  It has sent money and experts to 
help improve  agriculture  and  conservation,  build  schools,  desalinize  sea  water and i mprove  health  and 
education.. It has also sent a lot of food, since Cabo-Verde cannot grow enough for its people. When the food 
gets to Cabo-Verde, it is sold, and the money is used for conservation projects and to help people start small businesses. The Peace Corps also sends volunteers to teach English and improve health.