Cape Verde [Republic of Cape Verde] (Port. República de Cabo Verde)
- Susan Hurley-Glowa
[Republic of Cape Verde](Port. República de Cabo Verde)
Country in West Africa. The archipelago of ten islands and five islets is approximately 570 km west of Senegal, with a total area of 4033 km² and a population of 500,585 (2011 estimate).
The Cape Verde Islands were uninhabited at the time of their discovery by Portuguese explorers in 1456 and were subsequently settled with Portuguese and other Europeans and enslaved Africans brought from the Guinea Coast as labourers. The islands proved valuable to Portugal because of their strategic maritime location rather than for natural resources. Cape Verde was a Portuguese colony until gaining independence in 1975. Over the centuries, a Cape Verdean Luso-African creole culture developed with distinctive music, literature, food, dress, and language, Although Portuguese is the official language, Cape Verdean Creole (Crioulo, Kriolu, Kriol, Krioulo) is the mother tongue used by its citizens throughout the islands. It is used in Guinea-Bissau as well as in the Cape Verdean diaspora. About 90% of Cape Verdean Creole’s vocabulary comes from archaic Portuguese; however, its grammatical structures resemble related Caribbean creole languages, and it is not easily understood by Portuguese speakers. The Cape Verdean population is almost entirely of mixed European and African ancestry....