Cape Verde Islands
Cape Verde (Republica de Cabo Verde), familiarly called the Cape Verde Islands, is a nation and archipelago in the mid Atlantic Ocean about 580 miles west of Senegal. It has a land area of 1,557 square miles (4,033 km2) and a rapidly growing population (est. 450,000 in 1996, est. 524,000 in 2011) made up of a majority of mixed African/European (mulatto) ancestry (71%) with 28% black and !% white inhabitants. As many Cape Verdeans live and work abroad as remain on the island. The capital is Cidade de Praia.
The official language is Portuguese, although it is in 19 creole forms spoken throughout the ten islands.
Cape Verde is a constitutional presidential republic. It enjoys universal suffrage with both general and presidential terms lasting five years. There are 72 seats, with 6 set aside for expatriate voters.
The archipelago was discovered by the Portuguese in 1456 and settlement began in 1462. It became a staging post for the Portuguese slave trade, first to Portugal itself and Europe, then trans-Atlantic; predominately to Brazil. Slavery was not abolished in the islands until 1876. It became an overseas province of Portugal in 1951, however armed struggle for independence began ten years later. Independence was gained on 5 July 1975. After years of political strife, multi-party party elections were held in 1991 and a constitution came into being the following year.
- Country Profile from BBC News.
Reference: "SBS World Book, 6th Edition"