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The Republic of Cape Verde (Portuguese: Cabo Verde, IPA: ['kabu 've?d?]), is a republic located on an archipelago in the Macaronesia ecoregion of the North Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa. The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century (though there may have been earlier discoveries), and attained independence in 1975.

Naming

Cape Verde is named after the original Portuguese form for Cap Vert (Cabo Verde, Green Cape) in Senegal, the westernmost point of continental Africa. The country's name can be pronounced many ways in English. Cape is pronounced like the article of clothing. Verde is generally pronounced to rhyme with "bird" or "Herd," though rhyming with "bear D" or "bear day" are also heard. "Cabo" is not used in English.

History

  • Main article: History of Cape Verde
  • Cape Verde was uninhabited when the Portuguese explorer, Diogo Gomes, arrived in 1460 and made the islands part of the Portuguese empire. Due to its location off the coast of Africa, Cape Verde became an important watering station, then sugar cane plantation site, and later a major hub of the trans-atlantic slave trade, that would later form the contemporary African Diaspora.
  • In 1975, Cape Verde achieved independence from Portugal after the PAIGC long armed struggle in the jungles of neighboring Guinea-Bissau and a military coup at Lisbon in April 1974, which overthrew the Estado Novo regime. Although there was no armed struggle in Cape Verde, some Cape Verdeans (number not known but likely to be some hundreds) who fought in Guinea-Bissau asked for independence of Cape Verde. The African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) was the main entity responsible for the independence of Cape Verde. Moreover, the people's revolutionary armed forces of Cuba, though consisting of less than 50 guerrilleros, also played a role in the Cape Verdean independence armed struggle in Guinea-Bissau. In 1974, the PAIGC refused to hold a referendum (proposed by Portugal) to ask whether the Capeverdeans wanted to stay part of Portugal or to become an independent state. After independence, the PAIGC attempted to unite Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau into one nation, the PAIGC controlling both governments, but a coup in the latter nation in 1980 ended these plans. As a result, the G, standing for Guinea-Bissau, in PAIGC was dropped, and the PAICV (African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde) was formed. In Cape Verde the PAICV (affiliated with the PAIGC) governed until democratic elections, held in 1991, resulted in a change of government. The Movimento para a Democracia (MPD) won that election. The MPD was re-elected in 1996. The PAICV returned to power in 2001, and was re-elected in 2006.

    Geography

    • Main article: Geography of Cape Verde

    Cape Verde satellite image

    Cape Verde is an archipelago off the west coast of Africa at 15.02N, 23.34W. It is formed by 10 main islands and about 8 islets. The main islands are:

    • · Barlavento (northern island group)
      • · Boa Vista
      • · Sal
      • · Santa Luzia
      • · ãSanto Anto
      • · ãSo Vicente
      • · ãSo Nicolau
    • · Sotavento (southern island group)
      • · Maio
      • · Brava
      • · Fogo
      • · Santiago
  • Of these, only Santa Luzia and the five islets are uninhabited. Presently it is a natural reserve. All islands are volcanic, but an active volcano only exists on one of the islands, Fogo
  • Environment

    The isolation of Cape Verde about 500 km (310 mi) from the African mainland has resulted in the islands having a large number of endemic species, many of which are endangered by human development. Endemic birds include Alexander's Swift (Apus alexandri), Raso Lark (Alauda razae), Cape Verde Warbler (Acrocephalus brevipennis), and Iago Sparrow (Passer iagoensis),[3] and reptiles include the Cape Verde Giant Gecko (Tarentola gigas).

    Charles Darwin gives a vivid description of the geology, climate, zoology and botany of the islands in the first chapter of his book The Voyage of the Beagle.

    Climate

    Tracks of Atlantic tropical cyclones

    Cape Verde is in the tropical zone. Average temperatures range from 24 °C (75 °F) in January and February to 29 °C (85 °F) in September. The average annual rainfall for Cape Verde is 68.4 mm (2.7 in), with September being the wettest month with 33.6 mm (1.3 in). Conversely, the months April to July record less than one millimetre of rainfall each. The climate is arid, but Cape Verde's position in the Atlantic contributes to soften the aridity, that otherwise would be the same aridity as that in continental areas.

    Many Atlantic hurricanes originate just east of Cape Verde on the African continent and pass via Cape Verde towards the Americas. Specifically, a hurricane that originates around Cape Verde is called a Cape Verde-type hurricane

    The culture of Cape Verde reflects its mixed African and Portuguese roots. It is well known for its diverse forms of music such as Morna and a wide variety of dances: the soft dance Morna, and its modernized version, passada, the áFunan - a sensual mixed Portuguese and African dance, the extreme sensuality of coladeira, and the Batuque dance. These are reflective of the diverse origins of Cape Verde's residents. The term "Criolo" is used to refer to residents as well as the culture of Cape Verde.

    Cape Verdean literature

    éEugnio Tavares is one of the most well-known poets of the Cape Verdean literature

    • See also: List of African writers (by country)#Cape Verde
  • Cape Verdean literature is one of the richest of Lusitanian Africa.
    • · Poets: Frusoni Sergio (linked site is in Portuguese), éTavares Eugnio (linked site is in Portuguese), B.Léza, João Cleofas Martins, íLus Romano de Madeira Melo, Ovídio Martins, Barbosa Jorge, Fortes Corsino António, Baltasar Lopes (Osvaldo Alcântara), João Vário, Oswaldo Osório, Arménio Vieira, Vadinho Velhinho, José Luís Tavares, Carlos Baptista, etc.
    • · Authors: Manuel Lopes, Henrique Teixeira de Sousa, Almeida Germano, íLus Romano de Madeira Melo, Germano de Almeida, Orlanda Amarilis, Jorge Vera Cruz Barbosa, Pedro Cardoso, Mário José Domingues, Daniel Filipe, Mário Alberto Fonseca de Almeida, Corsino António Fortes, Arnaldo Carlos de Vasconcelos França, António Aurélio Gonçalves, Aguinaldo Brito Fonseca, Ovídio de Sousa Martins, Osvaldo Osório, Dulce Almada Duarte, Manuel Veiga
    • · Poems in Portuguese: Cape Verdean Poems, Poesia
    • · Cape Verdean Literature
    • · Sopinha de Alfabeto
    • · Famous tales: Ti Lobo and Chibinho

    Music

    A group playing morna.

    • Main article: Music of Cape Verde
  • Cape Verde is known internationally for morna, a form of folk music usually sung in the Cape Verdean Creole, accompanied by clarinet, violin, guitar and cavaquinho. The islands also boast áfunan and batuque music.
  • áÉCesria vora is perhaps the best internationally-known practitioner of morna. Madonna was so inspired by her that she even purchased a house on the island of Sal.

     

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