officially the Republic of Cabo Verde, is an island country spanning an
archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean.
Located 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa, the
islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres
The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited until the 15th century, when
Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the islands, establishing
the first European settlement in the tropics. Ideally located for the
Atlantic slave trade, the islands grew prosperous throughout the 16th
and 17th centuries, attracting merchants, privateers, and pirates. The
end of slavery in the 19th century led to economic decline and
emigration, although Cape Verde gradually recovered as an important
commercial center and stopover for shipping routes. Incorporated as an
overseas department of Portugal in 1951, the islands continued to
agitate for independence, which was peacefully achieved in
Since independence, Cape Verde has been a stable representative
democracy, and remains one of the most developed and democratic
countries in Africa. Lacking natural resources, its developing economy
is mostly service-oriented, with a growing focus on tourism and foreign
investment. Its population of around 512,000 is mostly of mixed
European and African heritage (mestiços).
Historically, the name "Cape Verde" has been used in English
for the archipelago and, since independence in 1975, for the country.
In 2013, the Cape Verdean government determined that the Portuguese
designation "Cabo Verde"
would henceforth be used for official purposes, such as at the United
Nations, even in English contexts. [R1]