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Happy Independence Day Cape Verde!

The former Portuguese colony consisting of islands that served as a base for European slave traders during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, because of its strategic location off the coast of West Africa, officially gained independence from Portugal and became a republic on July 5th, 1975.

Instrumental in the island nation’s fight for independence, Guinea-Bissauan and Cape Verdean political leader and revolutionary Amílcar Lopes da Costa Cabral was assassinated eight months before the country’s declaration of independence on 20 January 1973. Highly political since his days as a student in Lisbon, Cabral founded the Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde), PAIGC, and was one of the co-founders of the Movimento Popular Libertação de Angola (MPLA) - all three nations, Angola, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau being Portuguese colonies in Africa. 

From the founded of the PAIGC in 1963 until his death, Cabral led the party’s guerrilla movement against Portuguese forces, and was seen as one of the most successful independence wars in African history. With his education background as an agricultural engineer, Cultural led several innovative development initiatives that taught local crop growers better farming techniques, encouraged his soldiers to assist local farmers when not fighting, set up high standard travelling clinics with supplies sent from the USSR and Sweden, and established a trade-and-barter bazaar system that went around the country making staple goods available to rural communities at prices lower than that of colonial store owners.

“Educate ourselves; educate other people, the population in general, to fight fear and ignorance, to eliminate little by little the subjection to nature and natural forces which our economy has not yet mastered.”

- Amilcar Cabral

Aristides Maria Pereira, a leading member of the PAIGC, became the first president of Cape Verde serving from 1975 to 1991.

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