General issues: Portuguese colony 1877-1951, Portuguese province 1951-1975, Republic 1975-Present
Country name on general issues: Cabo Verde
Currency: 1 Milreis = 1000 Reis 1877-1912, 1 Escudo = 100 Centavos 1912-Present
Population: 147 000 in 1900, 498 000 in 2013
Political history Cape Verde
The Cape Verde Islands are a group of ten islands located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of western Africa, more specific off the coast of the Cap Vert in Senegal, from which the islands have derived their name. The islands were discovered in 1456 by Portuguese explorers and were, at the time of their discovery, uninhabited. The Portuguese first settled in Cape Verde in 1462. Cape Verde long prospered from the slave trade. When the slave trade declined, Cape Verde retained a position as a port of call and supply station on the transatlantic shipping routes. The Portuguese settlements on the Guinea Coast are administered from Cape Verde until, in 1879, the separate colony of Portuguese Guinea is formed.
As did the other Portuguese possessions, Cape Verde became a Portuguese province in 1951. From the 1950’s the call for independence grew, particularly after the PAIGC – the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde – was founded in 1956, striving for independence of both Portuguese Guinea and Cape Verde. The armed conflict that ensued in Portuguese Guinea did, however, not spread to Cape Verde. In 1974, a transition government was formed and in 1975 Cape Verde gained independence as the republic of Cape Verde.
After independence, Cape Verde was ruled as a single party state. A multi party system was agreed upon in 1990 and the first multi party elections were held in 1991. Cape Verde has since been a stable democracy. Economically, the Portuguese had done little to develop Cape Verde. This, combined with famines caused by severe droughts, has caused more than half of the population to migrate abroad – with some 500 000 people living on the islands, it is estimated that some 700 000 live abroad. The Cape Verde economy is a service based economy. A substantial part of GDP comes from remittances of the Cape Verdians living abroad. The majority of the population is creole – people of mixed African and European offspring. From 2013, the official name of the country is Cabo Verde, the name not to be translated in official documents.
Postal history Cape Verde
The first stamps are issued by Cape Verde in 1877 – these being a set of definitives of the Crown type. This issue, and subsequent issues, during the colonial period are of the designs common for the Portuguese possessions. The republic of Cape Verde has issued stamps since 1975. The first issue being an overprint on an issue from the colonial period – the overprint reading ‘Indepéncia 5-Julho-1975.
The stamps of Cape Verde have been used from 1877 until 1881 in Portuguese Guinea.