Until Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the islands in the 15th century, the Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited. This marked the first European settlement in the tropics. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Cape Verde islands enjoyed economic prosperity and attracted merchants, privateers, and pirates due to their convenient location in the Atlantic slave trade. After the Atlantic slave trade was stopped in the 19th century, it suffered a decline in its economy, and many of its residents left during that time. However, Cape Verde's economy began to slowly recover as it developed into a significant commercial center and a useful stopover point along important shipping routes. Cape Verde became an overseas department of Portugal in 1951, but its people continued to fight for independence, which they got in 1975.
One of Africa's most developed and democratic nations, Cape Verde has been a stable representative democracy since the early 1990s. Since it does not have any natural resources, its growing economy is primarily service-based and increasingly focuses on tourism and foreign investment. As of the 2021 Census, approximately 483,628 people live there, most of whom are primarily Roman Catholic and are of mixed African and European ancestry, a legacy of Portuguese rule. In comparison to the number of people living on the islands, there is a sizable Cape Verdean diaspora worldwide, particularly in the United States and Portugal. The country of Cape Verde is a member of the African Union.
Portuguese is the official language of Cape Verde. It is the language of government and instruction. Newspapers, radio, and television all use it. The majority of the population speaks Cape Verdean Creole, the recognized national language.