UNDER DEVELOPMENT! (Last updated on March 14, 1997)
Note: This page is under development. Comments and questions should be addressed to: email@example.com
The following compilation is a work in progress. The information has been gleaned from a wide variety of sources, including the accounts of historians Sena Barcelos, Antonio Carreira, and Daniel Pereira, ethnographers Felix Monteiro and Luis Romano, official U.S. Customs records, the research of Richard Lobban, Deidre Meintel, Marilyn Halter, George Brooks, and other contemporary American scholars, interviews with Cape Verdean-American community scholars, and many other sources who are listed in the bibliography of this Home Page. It is intended to provide students of the "Cape Verdean experience" with a chronological framework within which to understand the many historic, socio-economic, geo-political, climatic, and other factors contributing to the emergence of Cape Verdean cultural identity and its expression in the Islands, in diaspora communities in the United States and elsewhere. Many events included in this compilation are causally related. Others are not, and causal relationships should not be inferred. Your comments, suggested additions, modifications, etc., are solicited and should be addressed to Ray Almeida at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Revisions as of March 14, 1997.)
1460 Antonio and Bartolomeo da Noli, Genovese navigators in the service of Portugal, claim the Cape Verde Islands. The Islands were officially described as "uninhabited". However, given the prevailing winds and ocean currents in the region the islands may well have been visited by Moors or Wolof, Serer, or perhaps Lebu fishermen from the Guine Coast. Folklore suggests that the islands may have been visited by Arabs or Phoenicians centuries before the arrival of the Europeans. The Portuguese explorer Jaime Cortesao reported a story that Arabs were known to have visited an island which they referred to as "Aulil" or "Ulil" where they took salt from naturally occurring salinas. Some believe they may have been referring to Ilha do Sal. Whatever the case may have been there was no population sufficiently well established to resist complete penetration by the Portuguese.
1462 King Afonso V of Portugal granted the archipelago to his brother Prince Fernando who later divided the island of Santiago between two land grantees (donatarios). European settlement began at Ribeira Grande ("the great stream") on the leeward side of Santiago Island which offered a reliable fresh water supply and a moderately protected harbor. An assortment of Portuguese exiles and reprieved convicts, Genovese and Flemish adventurers and Sephardic Jews were included among the first European settlers.
1466 Settlers in Cape Verde from the Algarve region of southern Portugal petition the Crown and receive authorization to trade in slaves. In 1469 the first Crown "contract of lease" for buying and trading in slaves is issued. The Royal Warrant of 1472 gives "existing inhabitants" (moradores estantes) of Santiago the privilege of being able to " have slaves, male and female, to work for them, to enable them to live and settle better". Portugal granted the authority to trade anywhere in Western Africa except Arguim, on the Mauritanian coast. The mainland Africans forced into bondage and taken to Cape Verde tended to be Balanta, Papel, Bijago and Mende peoples from the Guine Coast. The only restrictions imposed on the Cape Verdean colonists by the Crown was a duty of 25% on all imports from the Coast and strict adherence to the ancient embargo on the sale of arms, iron, ships, and naval equipment to "heathens".
Many of the early white settlers had been banished to Cape Verde without their families and formed liaisons with slave women, increasing the mulatto population sector. Some of the settlers or their mulatto offspring crossed over to Upper Guinea and formed a class of middlemen (lancados) who would play a pivotal role in expanding the slave trade and in establishing the "place" of Cape Verdeans in economic history of West Africa. Many of these middlemen would marry African women to solidify their social position within various West African societies. Portuguese political and economic interests in the region most often overlapped with those of the lan‡ados.
1469 - Fernando Gomes, a Lisbon merchant, granted exclusive rights over the trade in slaves, gold and other valuables of the Guinea Coast on the condition that he "discover" 100 leagues of the coast and pay a fixed sum to the Crown for each of the five years of this contract. The area of the coast facing Cape Verde was exempt from his domain, along with that near the fortress of Arguim, the first having been allotted to Santiago traders. In 1472, Gomes succeeded in getting the Crown to expand the scope of his individual trading contract by restricting trade by Cape Verdeans only to Cape Verdean products. Partnerships between Cape Verdeans and foreigners were forbidden. This system of would continue until the mid-seventeenth century.
Slaves sold on the Santiago slave market were categorized in three types. In order of ascending sale value, these were bocais [from bocal: ignorant], slaves recently imported who spoke only their native languages; ladinos, slaves of longer residence in Santiago who had learned Kriolu, had been baptized and "taught to work"; and naturais [natural: native-born], those born in Cabo Verde (Carreira 1972: 267 cited in Meintel)
1475-1479 War of the Spanish Succession. Castellan ships pillage Ribeira Grande and carries off many white inhabitants for ransom and blacks to be sold again into slavery.
Historical interpretations and historical accuracy are not always one and the same. Scholarly research has recently been reported by Peter Dickson and commented on by John Hebert, senior specialist in Hispanic bibliography in the Hispanic division, Library of Congress in Washington, DC. (Washington Post, Oct. 12, 1995: C5) which raises serious questions and may eventually compell us to dramatically alter our description of the context of events which led to the "discovery" of America by Christopher Columbus. These recent findings shed new light on the life of Columbus before 1492.
1478 Christopher Columbus married into the most powerful family in Portugal, the Braganza-Norona clan. By 1485 most of the Braganza family (Columbus's in-laws) had fled Portugal for Spain. They plotted to kill Portugal's King Joao but were unsuccessful. The King responded by executing the twelve conspirators, ten of whom were related to Columbus's wife. No evidence has been found to implicate Columbus in the conspiracy.
King Joao refused to finance Columbus's voyage of exploration. Spain's Queen Isabel showed a particular interest in Columbus and agreed to finance his voyages. The mother of Queeen Isabel was Portuguese by birth and of the House of Branganza and distantly related to the wife of Columbus.
The web of European political relationships and the ideological underpinnings of European expansion played a major role in setting the stage for social and economic development in Cape Verde and everywhere else that the European explorers set foot.
In addition to family relationships it is enlightening to examine the "political theology" of Spain, Portugal, England, France and most of Europe's royal courts at that time. Columbus wrote of being "an instrument of God in recovering of Jerusalem.... The royal mission was presented as divine, universal and directed toward uniting the world under a single ruler, who was to recapture Jerusalem from the Moslems, thereby fulfilling history's culmination and end. This vision was put out competitively by Europe's royal courts, but Castile was seen to be implementing it most literally at the time - in instituting the Inquisition, conquering the Muslim KIngdom of Grenada, and, in tandem with sending out Columbus in 1492, expelling the Jews. (Peggy K. Liss, Washington Post Oct. 19, 1995 p. A22).
1479 The Treaty of Alçacovas and later the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) established the territorial domains of Portugal and Spain along a longitudinal line 370 leagues west of Cape Verde.
1483 The first French ships reach Cape Verde.
1492 Christopher Columbus, the Genovese navigator, lands in the Bahamas and claims the "new lands of the western seas" for Spain. In 1498 Columbus stops in Cape Verde for provisions on his third voyage to America. During the same period the expulsion of Jews from Iberia began. Some would eventually migrate to Cape Verde.
1495 Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church is established in Ribeira Grande (Cidade Velha), the first permanent place of Christian worship in sub-Saharan Africa. Later, a seminary, convent and eventually the first cathedral in Africa were built.
1497 Vasco DaGama, the Portuguese navigator, stops in Cape Verde on a voyage of exploration which would take his ships around Africa and on to India.
1502 Santo Domingo, Island of Hispanola, West Indies. The first enslaved Africans arrive in the New World.
1513 Official census records for the population of Vila de Ribeira Grande only fifty years after settlement begin to reflect the shape of Cape Verde's future demography: 162 residents includes 58 "whites," 12 priests, 16 "free blacks," soldiers and Portuguese convicts and approximately 13,000 slaves. Between 1513-1515 a total of 2,966 captives were brought to Santiago by 29 vessels. Many were taken to Portugal, others sold to Spanish ships enroute to the Canaries or the West Indies. 1520 There were twenty-two ordained Luso-African priests in Ribeira Grande, many of whom would be sent to do missionary work in Brazil. 1533 Vila de Ribeira Grande is elevated to the status of a city. A regional diocese based in Cape Verde is established by Papal decree. 1536 Introduction of the Holy Inquisition and the Jesuit religious order in Portugal. Large scale persecution of Jews and "New Christians" begins. In 1538 leading citizens of Cape Verde petitioned the king in a vain attempt to establish the Inquisition in Cape Verde. They charged that some two hundred so-called "New Christians" (Christianized Jew or ladinos) were living with Africans on the Coast in violation of Royal edicts. One motivation for the strong feelings may have been that these traders or "lan‡ados" were successfully competing with Cape Verde-based business interests and were beyond the regulatory hand of the Crown.
1542 French pirates sink two vessels off of Fogo.
1544 French vessels attack Ribeira Grande, Santiago.
1550 A Bishop takes up residence in Cape Verde with jurisdiction for most of West Africa.
1560s John Lovell and later George Fenner, both English privateers, make damaging raids on Ribeira Grande.
1563 The volcano on the Island of Fogo erupts. Between 1563-1995 the volcano has erupted 29 times.
1580-1582 Bishop Brandao describes "a great famine" in Cape Verde in his letters to church officials in Lisbon.
1580-1640 Spanish kings rule Portugal. The people of Sao Felipe on the Island of Fogo refuse to fly the Spanish flag for six years and steadfastly fly the Portuguese colors.
1582 and 1585 Sir Francis Drake, the English privateer, sacks and burns Ribeira Grande. Frequent attacks by English, French, and Dutch pirates were occasions for slaves to runaway to the remote interior regions of Santiago Island where communities of free Africans were formed as early as the mid-16th century. These people became known as badius from the Portuguese word for vagabond or runaway.
1582 The Account of the Islands of Cabo Verde by Francisco Andrade provides evidence of the growth of slave communities in Cape Verde. Andrade reports the combined population of Fogo and Santiago as 13,408 persons by categories. These included 508 "inhabitants" (vezinhos), owning 5,000 slaves and 200 renters owning 1,000 slaves. Settlements in the interior comprised 600 whites and pardos (mixed blood), 400 married free blacks, and 5,000 slaves. Fogo's population was given as 300 renters and 2,000 slaves. Only 12.7 percent of the inhabitants of Santiago and Fogo were free persons.
By mid-16th century the weaving craft became well established in Cape Verde. The indigo-dyed body cloth or pano woven in the Islands became part of the commodities mix in the currency of the slave trade. African weavers who were brought to Cape Verde to establish the "weaving craft industry" were Jalof (Walof), Mandinga, Seninkes, Biafares, Sassos (Susu), Felupes (Fulani), Papeis (Papels), and Banhuns. Antonio Carreira, the distinguished Cape Verdean historian, writes that the best weavers were from the Mnadingo people. The body cloths were woven on horizontal narrow band treadle looms.
1550s-1600s Notwithstanding Royal Portuguese proclamations prescribing severe penalties, Cape Verdean trade with western Africa significantly expanded as mutually advantageous commercial relations are established with African groups associated with the Banyun-Bak, Biafada-Sapi, and Mande networks.
1583 Famine ravages Cape Verde after more than a century of environmental exploitation irreparably damages the fragile ecosystems of the islands.
1596 King Filipe II of Spain orders the construction of fortifications above Vila de Ribeira Grande to defend against pirates.
1598 Dutch ships raid Ribeira Grande, Santiago
1605 - 1611 Famine conditions in Santiago are compounded by smallpox and a plague of blood sucking flies which torments both humans and livestock.
1620 English settlers aboard the ship Mayflower arrive in America and establish the Plymouth Colony.
1620s English codfishers begin to routinely call at Maio and Sal to take on salt before sailing on to the rich fishing grounds off of Newfoundland, Canada. So many English flag vessels came that Vila do Maio became known as Porto Inglez. About 80 vessels per year were engaged in the salt trade.
1623 Authorities in Vila de Ribeira Grade on Santiago petition the Crown not to appoint a Royal Governor for Cape Verde. Lisbon responded that "the people are revolutionary, there are cases of homicide and other crimes, and that the natives which are many would assassinate the whites which are few and become heads of the government and will govern". (Barcelos, Subsidios para a historia de Cabo Verde e Guine, parte 1, p. 228).
1634 Mathias DeSouza described as a mulatto and an indentured servant to Jesuit priests was among a group of six African passengers to land at the colony of St. Mary's, Maryland aboard the Ship Arc. After working off his indenture, DeSouza was a translator for the colonists in their dealings with local Native peoples. Later DeSouza piloted his own ship. In 1642, DeSouza was elected to serve in the Maryland General Assembly. There is sufficient reason to assume that he may have been a Cape Verdean. (Maryland Hall of Records).
1643 Massachusetts Bay colonist Jonathan Winthrop records in his journal that a ship out of Boston carrying boat staves for sale in England made a voyage to the Island of Maio in Cape Verde and there purchased "Africoes" which were then taken to Barbados and sold to purchase molasses for shipment to Boston rum producers. This is the first recorded incidence of the infamous "triangular" Atlantic slave trade.
1652 The capital of Cape Verde is moved from Vila de Ribeira Grande to a more militarily defensible location at Praia.
1654 With the restoration of the Portuguese monarchy and the recovery of the Portuguese empire in Brazil a dramatic reduction in trade between the merchants of Portugal and the Islands followed. Hard currency (gold and silver coin) was drained away. The royal government refused to raise the value of money in circulation. The Royal monopoly system in the slave trade, transportation and produce stifled even the smallest local initiatives. A policy of disinterest and neglect would characterize Portuguese colonialism in Cape Verde for the next three hundred years.
The island of Fogo distinguished itself as the only Portuguese territory that never flew the Castellan flag. As a reward the village of Sao Filipe was give the administrative status of cidade (city) after Portugal regained its throne from Spain in 1640.
1680 Earthquake and volcanic eruptions in Fogo force many people to abandon their homes and relocate on Ilha Brava. The Pico volcano on Fogo (2,829m / 9,281 feet high) has a crater of less than 500m in diameter and 180m deep). The volcano on Fogo would be almost continuously active from the time of Portuguese settlement in the early 1500s to 1760.
1680 The barafula was the unit of exchange in the Cape Verde islands and on the Guinea coast. An ordinary Cape Verdean cloth was known as a barafula; one standard iron bar could be traded for two barafula cloths.
A single goat skin selling for between 160 and 300 reis in the Cape Verdes could be marketed in Boston for the equivalent of 600 reis (Duncan 1972:171 in Meintel).
Three Spanish Capuchin priests in Bissau (1683-86) were ejected in favor of Portuguese Franciscans at the behest of a local Portuguese priest, on the grounds that the Spaniards had not attempted to form commercial ties with local groups but had "only" tried to convert them. (Rodney 1970:143)
1687 (January 23) Decree of the Portuguese Crown prohibits the sale of the Cape Verdean-produced cotton body cloths (panos) to foreigners under penalty of death.
1690 The Governor reported that several years of drought had claimed some 4,000 victims, most of them slaves (Duncan 1972: 235-36).
1693 The cathedral at Ribeira Grande is dedicated. Most of the building's exterior stone work was transported from Portugal as ship's ballast over many decades. The long delay in completing the construction suggests a lack of civic spirit and interest in religious matters. The Bishop of Bahia (Brazil) described the population of Ribeira Grande in 1552 as "richer in money than in virtue". Padre Antonio Vieira, the famous Portuguese literary figure of the era, stopped in Ribeira Grande en route to Brazil. In a sermon in the Cathedral he said that "the local [Afro-Portuguese] priests are as black as coal [azeviche] but they are well behaved, knowledgeable and well versed ...and would be the envy of the priests of our Cathedral [in Portugal]".
It would take the Bishop of Cape Verde until the 1720s before a pastoral visit would be scheduled to the West African coast. It would take until 1975 and the independence of Cape Verde before the Catholic Church would appoint a Cape Verdean to serve as Bishop of Cape Verde.
1700 Governor of Cape Verde complained to the Bishop that marriages had been celebrated between Cape Verdean women and foreign pirates on Sao Nicolau and Santo Antao, despite the fact the "His Majesty does not want foreigners, much less pirates" in the colony. (Barcelos 1900 I:163)
1701 A royal letter directs that slave owners should cease to obstruct marriages between black freemen and slave women, which they had been doing by setting exorbitant prices for women's freedom Carreira 1972:282).
1708 Governor Cranston of Rhode Island reported that 103 vessels had been built in his tiny colony between 1698 and 1708 and in most cases made a slave voyage. Many of these ships stopped in Cape Verde to trade for salt or buy slaves.
1719 Drought and famine in Santiago.
1740s American ships begin to routinely call at Cape Verde for provisions. Before 1750 many crewmen aboard Nantucket whaling ships were Cape Verdeans. An all-male pattern of immigration to America begins.
1747 Crop failure in most of the Islands.
1753 The Provisions of 1753 (revised in 1792) state that it is "illegal for any foreigner of whatsoever Nation to open a house of business on the island, or make any stay or sojourn on it for more than 20 days without a special order from the Government..."
1754 Drought and famine in all of the Islands. High mortality.
1764 Drought and famine. Brava and Boavista suffer the worst of the crisis.
1766-1776 According to Cape Verdean historian Antonio Carreira, the Customs House records of Praia indicate that about 95,000 pieces of Cape Verdean body cloths (panos) were shipped to the Guinea Coast as part of the ongoing trade in slaves during this ten year period alone.
1770 The Lieutenant Captain from Fogo arrives in Brava to restore order following a riot.
1770s The record of the Connecticut Legislature identifies a certain petitioner as "Jonah, a black man native to the Cape Verde Islands". By the mid-18th century a few Cape Verdeans were residing in many Southern New England port towns.
1773 Famine in Fogo following a devastating locust infestation. The population of Fogo drops from 5700 to 4200 inhabitants. Incidents of cannibalism are recorded in official documents. (Antonio Carreira et al).
1774 (September) to 1775 (February) 22,666 people die in the archipelago. Some people are sold into slavery in exchange for food. All of the livestock died in Maio and Brava.
1776 The war of independence begins in the English colonies of America.
1788 (August) The log of the sloop Washington out of Boston records the death of Marcus Lopius, a ship's crewman taken on in Cape Verde. Lopius (Lopes) was killed by Tilamook Indians on the Oregon coast as he attempted to defend Captain Grey from attack. The site of the killing was later named Murderer's Cove. The ship was part of the expedition which "discovered" the Columbia River and opened up the fur trade in that region. This is the first record of an African in the Pacific Northwest region.
1790 Drought and famine in Brava.
1791 More than 800 people die from famine in Santo Antao.
1804 Drought and famine conditions in all of the Islands lasts for two years.
1808 United States officially abolishes the importation of slaves. However, the institution of slavery would continue in the U.S. until President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.
1810 Drought and famine in all of the Islands. High mortality.
1811 (December 27) Many people protest against new taxes enacted to support the militia in Santiago. The leaders of the protest were deported as prisoners to the Governor to Brazil. Barcelos reports that the authorities "did not trust the creole soldiers because on the day of the riot they declared that they would not pull the trigger against the rebellions".
The "lack and total abandonment" of public education was such that by the nineteenth century, very few had any schooling, "including the whites themselves" (Chelmiki and Varnhagen 1841:192; see also Lima 1844, Part 2: 111-12 cited in Meintel).
1816 Volcanic eruption in Fogo.
1816 Samuel Hodges of Stoughton, Massachusetts, and Manuel Antonio Martins of Cape Verde establish a "joint business venture" which involved smuggling American merchandise aboard African vessels to ports up and down the West African coast. In 1818, in response to the volume of American merchant and whaling shipping in Cape Verde, the U.S. government establishes its first consulate and appoints Hodges U.S. Consul.
1822 (January) Rent strike by sharecroppers and tenants against Colonel Domingos Ramos, President of the District of Engenho in the interior of Santiago. The protesters were demanding agrarian reform which would transfer title to those people who actually worked the land.
1823 The Crown is locked in a civil war in Portugal and does not respond to calls for famine relief in Cape Verde. In the same year three ships arrive from the United States carrying emergency supplies donated by American civic and church organizations.
1825-1875 An average of 100 American whaling ships called at Cape Verde each year.
1825 Famine in Santo Antao. Governor Chapuzet uses the profits from the sale of the valuable urzela dye to finance emergency relief for victims. Portuguese Crown responds by removing the Governor from office.
Between 1826 and 1880, 338 American vessels are recorded as having put in to Maio for salt (Carreira 1971:71 in Meintel).
1830 Drought and famine throughout the country. 30,000 people or 42% of the total population die.
1830 Manuel Antonio Martins officially established the village of Santa Maria. Here he bases the first of his salt production businesses. At its peak the company exports 30,000 tons per year. 1831-1834 Half of the population of Fogo die from famine.
1830 Portugal outlaws the buying and selling of slaves.
1832 Charles Darwin, the English scientist, stops in Porto Praia, Cape Verde, on the outward-bound voyage of the HMS Beagle. On his return visit in 1836, Darwin records in his diary, "We found lying there, as commonly is the case, some slaving vessels."
1832-33 Famine in Cape Verde. The ship Charles out of Boston arrived in Cape Verde carrying supplies donated by the people of Boston, Portland, Newburyport, Charlestown and Ipswich. Later that year the ship Citizen passing in Cape Verde also discharged some of its provisions. 30,000 people died from the famine. Santo Antao was the worst affected where 11,000 died out of a population of 26,000.
1835 (March) 225 deportees from Sao Miguel in the Azores stage a protest in Praia against Portuguese authorities. The protesters sail away to Brava to escape authorities.
In the first eighty years of the nineteenth century 2,570 European degredados disembarked on the islands. These included convicted murderers, church robbers, thieves, counterfeiters as well as alcoholics, deserters, vagrants, prostitutes and political and religious offenders. Antonio Carreira reports that 2,487 men and 83 women were landed in Cape Verde as degredados in this period. Note the insignificant number of women. These persons were sentenced to banishment in Cape Verde and were distributed throughout the archipelago to avoid the development of any concentration on Santiago. Eventually, whites helped these degredados from Portugal for reasons of "esprit de couleur". Most eventually rehabilitated themselves and became useful members of Cape Verdean society. Most never returned to Portugal.
1835 (December 26) Slaves from around the island of Santiago converge on Praia and begin attacking people with the announced intention of "killing all white landowners". They called on all "free poor" to join them and together "they would take possession of the island" (Barcelos, parte IV p. 224). A report prepared by the local Judge affirmed that "the slaves intended to obtain their freedom and that for this they determined to kill their Lords and afterwards embark for Guinea". (Barcelos IV, p. 122).
1837 Colonel Honorio Pereira Barreto (1813-1859), a Cape Verdean, is appointed governor of Portuguese Guinea. Baretto proved to be an efficient defender of Portuguese economic interests against the encroachments of French and British traders. The administration of this controversial figure is thought by many to have actually prolonged the slave trade on the Coast.
1842 Records list 87 American merchant ships trading in the Islands as compared to 61 Portuguese and 36 British ships. Between 1851 and 1879, 338 American ships stopped in the Islands to trade for salt.
1842 First commercial printing operation established in Cape Verde.
1843-1859 The anti-slavery Africa Squadron of the U.S. Navy patrols West African coastal waters from its base at Cape Verde. The USS Constitution("Old Ironsides") served with this squadron in Cape Verde. Captain Matthew Perry was the last Commander of the Squadron. Sometime after Perry would command the famous U.S. mission which opened up trade with Japan. Only 19 slavers were every actually charged in court as a result of the 16 year largely symbolic and ineffective operation. Most of those convicted paid light fines and served very short sentences.
1843 Drought and famine in Santo Antao, Santiago, Sao Nicolau and Brava.
1844 During 1844 and the first third of 1845 forty-two American whaling ships, one English, and one French entered Cape Verde to fish. Not one Portuguese flag vessel was recorded. From 1844 to 1891, 166 American whalers were noted (based in Brava or Sao Nicolau), with one French, one English and six other ships with Portuguese names.
1847 Volcanic eruption in Fogo.
1850 Drought and famine in Santo Antao, Sao Vicente, Sao Nicolau, Boavista and Sal.
1852 Volcanic eruption in Fogo.
1853 Drought and famine in Sal and Boavista.
1855 Coal workers in Mindelo, Sao Vicente protest working and wage conditions established by the English businessmen operating the coaling station. Their demands for better working conditions were rejected. At its peak, Mindelo was the 4th largest coaling station in the world. 1859: 167 vessels call at Mindelo. In 1898: 1503 vessels.
1854-1855 A cholera epidemic in Fogo kills more than 800 people. Many of the dead bodies found unburied in local homes were fed to the pigs by authorities. (Antonio Carreira)
1850s Petroleum is discovered in Pennsylvania, providing a cheaper alternative to whale oil. At the same time the South Seas whaling grounds were rapidly becoming depleted and the New Bedford fleet was compelled to begin working the Arctic region. These developments dramatically affected the economics of the whaling industry and eventually led to its collapse by the beginning of the American Civil War. As young white seamen made their way into the military or took more desirable job opportunities onshore, over half of the crew lists would be filled by Cape Verdeans. The net earnings per voyage of foremast hands aboard the Yankee whalers in twenty three voyages made by representative vessels during the years 1836-79 was $30.47.
1850s Manuel Antonio Martins, an affluent Cape Verdean trader and honorary vice consul of the United States, begins to develop a salt extraction business in Pedra de Lume, Ilha do Sal. The natural salina is in the floor of an extinct volcano.
1854-1856 25% of the population of Cape Verde perish in famine. After hearing of the crisis members of the New York Corn Exchange appoint a commission to collect funds and provisions. $5,800. was immediately raised in New York City. Citizens of Alexandria, Va. sent 500 bushels of wheat and the Corn Exchange of Baltimore sent $1,045 to New York. On July 24, 1856 the New Hand arrived in Cape Verde with provisions.
1860 The population of the archipelago is recorded as approximately 90,000.
1809-1861 Historian Curtin estimates that approximately one million slaves were illicitly imported to the Unites States between 1809 and 1861 (1961:13).
1861-1865 Civil War in the United States.
1861 Cape Verdeans were among the crew of the Great Stone Fleet. Old New Bedford and Fairhaven whaling ships heavily laden with stone sailed to Charleston,SC, in a desperate attempt to blockade this important Confederate harbor. Ironically, the action had the unintended effect of dramatically improving navigability in the Charleston harbor!
1862-1867 The population of Santiago Island diminished by 18,000 and by 29,845 in the archipelago.
1865 (Royal Order 169, October 4, 1865) Banco Nacional Ultramarino is chartered and begins making loans collateralized on the security of a mortgages on rural and urban properties. At the end of a very few years the Bank owned most of the properties in Santiago. The social system in Cape Verde begins to dramatically change with the shrinking of the class of wealthy landowners and the growth of a "petty bourgeoisie" due in large measure to the spread of education and later by the influence of emigration to the United States. The returned literate emigrant having acquired economic ease and an awareness of his own social esteem by perseverance and hard work in foreign lands gradually displaced the "county whites" of Cape Verde from their lofty position. Between 1920 and 1940 the Bank foreclosed on many properties and took over direct administration or sold them at auction for a small fraction of their value. Eventually all property values collapsed ushering in the death of the "haute bourgeoisie".
In spite of the tumult of the credit crisis the land tenure system remained. In 1970 there were 52 large property owners in Santiago with 40 or more tenants holding 136 properties leased out - for rent or sharecropping - to a total of 11,876 tenants and 13,076 share croppers.
The "invisible earnings" in the form of immigrant remittances from the United States and elsewhere largely covered the balance of payments deficit.
1867 Eugenio Tavares (1867-1930) is born in Brava. Tavares became the leading composer of Cape Verdean mornas, a champion of Kriolu language and culture and a romanticized figure in Cape Verdean lore. Perhaps his most famous work is "Hora di Bai", the bittersweet "Hour of Leaving" which was traditionally sung at the docks in Brava as people boarded the America-bound schooners.
1869 U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant arbitrates the long dispute between Portugal and England and rules "ownership" of Bolama island on the coast of Guine to Portugal.
1863 Famine throughout the archipelago.
1864 (July- November) Rains come to Cabo Verde. However, lack of seed and tools prevent farmers from taking advantage of the rains. Food aid arrives from Lisbon, Madeira and the colony of Sao Tome. Malaria and influenza kill many. Over a five year period the population of Fogo looses 7000 people. Large scale immigration begins.
1864 (October 6) The bark Susan Jane arrives in New Bedford carrying the first Cape Verdean women to immigrate to the USA, ending a century-old all-male pattern of immigration. Some Cape Verdean scholars look to this date as the beginning of the Cape Verdean "community" in the United States.
1866 The San Jose Seminary is established in Ribeira Brava, Sao Nicolau, to train priests, including Africans from Portuguese Guine. The Seminary becomes the educational center of Cape Verde for the next 75 years.
1865 United States abolishes slavery.
1869 Portugal abolishes slavery. 1870 The population of the archipelago is recorded as approximately 80,000.
1870 The British establish a transatlantic telegraph cable linking Mindelo with their international telecommunications system.
1875-76 Poor rains and crop failures devastate Santiago and Santo Antao.
1879 The administration of the colony of Portuguese Guinea is officially separated from Cape Verde for the first time.
1883 Irregularity of rains bring on a famine. In spite of government aid programs there is a repetition of the high mortality rates of 1864. Fogo suffers more than the other islands.
1884-85 Major European powers convene the Berlin Congress to establish the division of their colonial territories in Africa. The borders drawn on the map of Africa at this Congress remain largely in tact to this day.
1887 Brazil, the principal buyer of salt in Ilha do Sal, imposes a high customs duty on imported salt as a protectionist measure for its own emerging national salt industry. This singular act marks the turning point in the economic history of Ilha do Sal.
1890 Crop failures throughout the country. Famine in Maio and Brava.
1892 Antonio Coelho buys the Nellie May and becomes the first Cape Verdean to own and operate a packet ship between Providence and Cape Verde. Many of the old whaling vessels were bought by Cape Verdeans and put into the Brava Packet Trade. "The round trip was facilitated by a relatively mild wind and current pattern: northwest from Fogo or Brava to the Gulf Stream, then north to New England, east and southeast past the Azores to the northeast trades, then south to home: 35 days to America, 45 days return, with variation in track and time according to the season." (Francis M. Rogers, Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Cambridge, MA. 1980)
1894 First Cape Verdean literary journal, Almanach Loso- Africano, published in Ribeira Grande, Sao Nicolau.
1895 Governor Serpa Pinto officially prohibits popular celebrations on the feast of Santa Cruz in which local villages dressed in costume and irreverently took on the roles of the Governor, Judges, the King and Queen and other leading officials and practiced the ceremonies and African drumming and chanting referred to as "tabanka".
1885 Manuel Ricardo Martins, born in Maio in 1837, established the first Cape Verdean Protestant congregation in the United States. From very humble beginnings the Portuguese Mission of Providence, RI expanded its services to the Fox Point neighborhood to include an industrial school for women, "Americanization" classes for new immigrants, Girl and Boy Scout Troops and many other activities.
1898 Conigo Antonio DaCosta of the Seminary at Sao Nicolau publishes a Cape Verdean Crioulo translation of the sections of the Lusiadas, the epic poem of the heroic age of Portuguese exploration by Luis Camoes.
1900s The textile industry boom in New Bedford creates many job opportunities for immigrant labor. In 1880 there were two mills employing 2,700 workers, and by 1905 there were 15 mills with almost 15,000 workers.
1900-1903 Drought and famine. 11,000 people or 15% of the population perish.
1900 North Carver, Massachusetts. A fist fight erupts into a riot by Cape Verdean cranberry workers. Public expression of labor discontent was rare on the bogs. In 1933 similar dissatisfaction led to a strike.
1902 The beloved poet, Jorge Barbosa (1902-1971) was born in Praia. Barbosa published his first collection of poetry, Aquipelago, even before the formation of the literary movement Claridade.
1903 Marcelino Manoel da Graca (1881-1960), an immigrant from his native Ilha Brava, arrives in New Bedford. In 1919 after working as a cranberry picker and later as a railroad cook, he establishes a small chapel in a wooden shack in West Wareham, Massachusetts and called it the United House of Prayer for All People. While working the railroad he became a charasmatic preacher, and made many claims of miraculous healing. By the time he opened several churches in Charlotte, NC and elsewhere he was known as "Sweet Daddy Grace" to his followers. By the time of his death and internrment in New Bedford, MA., Bishop Grace had established over 350 congregations with followers numbering over three million. His worship services included dynamic preaching from the philosophy of self help was characteristically accompanied by full brass band. During the Great Depression Bishop Grace's soup kitchens were well used my many of America's black communities.
1905 Population of the archipelago recorded as approximately 135,000.
1905 Cape Cod, Massachusetts. There are public discussions about the need to establish segregated public schools to accommodate the growing number of Cape Verdeans who were "planting roots" in Cape Cod following the cranberry harvest. In Marion, Massachusetts, a town directive was issued against further employment of Cape Verdeans in public works. At the Wareham, Massachusetts High School graduation program the commencement address was entitled "Drifting Backwards" in which the valedictorian said she "deplored the influx of cheap labor" and bemoaned the fact that "our poor American girls are obliged to labor side by side (in the cranberry harvest) with these half civilized blacks." Several years later (1917) Belmira Nunes Lopes, a Cape Verdean immigrant, gave the valedictory and spoke on the theme of "The Ideal Town" as one with no prejudice. Lopes went on to be the first woman of color to graduate from Harvard's Radcliffe College. [See Laura Pires Hester, 1995]
1905 The Portuguese Catholic congregation of New Bedford Cape Verdeans begin to express displeasure with treatment which they regarded as racially discriminatory. Cape Verdean community elders in New Bedford organized and petitioned the Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River to establish a Cape Verdean parish. Our Lady of the Assumption Church was established as the first Cape Verdean Catholic Church in the United States.
1906 As early as 1906 Cape Verdeans from Brava begin to migrate to California and found work in the reconstruction following the great San Francisco earthquake. Eventually communities grew in Sacramento, Alameda, and the Napa Valley. Since the 1960s Cape Verdeans have also been moving to Southern California.
1907 Cape Verdean novelist, Manuel Lopes born in Santo Antao. His second novel, Os Flagelados do Vente L'este , (the Flagellated of the East Wind), established him as a central figure in the literary life of Cape Verde. He was a founding member of the journal Claridade.
1910 The Portuguese King is assassinated. The monarchy is overthrown. In 1911 the Portuguese Republic is established.
1910 Population of the archipelago is recorded as approximately 140,000. Malaria and influenza ravage the people.
1910 Workers in the port of Sao Vicente strike for better working conditions and wages.
1910 (November) Rubon Manel, Santiago. Padre Antonio Duarte Da Graca speaks out against the arrest and imprisonment of a small group of women for having illegally harvested wild pulgeira seeds. The collection and export of these soap producing seeds were controlled by government monopoly. The priests protest gradually spread into a revolt by many local people who march with swords and stones and attacked the Cruz Grande prison. Da Graca slogan which resonated with local villagers was "Now there is no black, no white, no rich, no poor...we are all equal!". Militia eventually put down the revolt.
1913 1691 Cape Verdeans legally immigrate to the United States. Almost all of the immigrants from Cape Verde arriving in the USA before 1922 enter through the ports of New Bedford or Providence.
1914 World War I begins in Europe. Portugal declares its neutrality.
1915 Pedro Cardoso publishes the first book of Cape Verdean poetry in Praia, Caboverdeanas.
1915 Fishermen in Sao Vicente stage a strike in protest against new taxes imposed on them.
1916 A total of 1829 legal immigrants from Cape Verde enter the United States.
1917 Cape Verdean Benificente Association founded in New Bedford. The organization would be the first of many mutual aid societies and voluntary groups to be founded by Cape Verdeans in America.
1918 Armistice signed ending World War I.
1918 Theophilus Freitas of Sao Nicolau is captain of the New Bedford whaler Pedro Varela on her last voyage. Other Cape Verdean whaling captains of courage and perseverance include Teofilo Gonsalez (Gon‡alves) of Brava, Luis Oliveira, Jose Senna, Julio Fernandez, and Jose Perry.
1919 The heirs of Manuel Antonio Martins sell the salina and their salt production business to a firm from Bordeaux, France and a new company was established, Societe Salines du Sal. They install a tramway which revolutionized their ability to transport the salt to the port. The 1100m tramway enabled the company to transport 25 tons per hour. The company ceased all exportation in 1985. At its peak, the village of Pedra de Lume was an excellent example of a "factory town". Literally every building, including the general store, the water supply, workers residences and everything else except the church were owned by the foreign company.
1920 A total of 1,506 Cape Verdeans legally immigrate to the United States.
1920 The population of the archipelago recorded at approximately 160,000. There is a dramatic excess of unmarried females on some islands due to immigration patterns. In Brava the ratio of women to men was 188 to 100.
1920 After several failed attempts to re-start the commercial salt business in Santa Maria a Portuguese firm establishes the Compania do Fomento. In 1917 Fomento formed a joint venture with a Belgian firm already doing business in the Congo. This new market played a major role in the economic viability of Santa Maria until the end of the colonial era.
1922-1966 The United States government enacts new laws to restrict the immigration of non-European peoples. Cape Verdean immigration to the U.S. was reduced from a level of about 1500 per year to a mere trickle. These were years of separation within the Cape Verdean extended family. The intimate cultural contact between the American community and the villages of the Cape Verde Islands was dramatically changed as the two communities became isolated from one another. U.S. immigration records list 22,624 legal arrivals from Cape Verde into the Port of New Bedford and Providence between 1860 and 1930.
As a direct result of America's "closed door" policy, Cape Verdeans begin to seek out other countries for immigration. Today there are Cape Verdean communities in Portugal, France, Italy, Sweeden, Norway, Spain, Luxembourg, Brazil, Argentina, Angola, Senegal, Cote D'Ivoire and numerous other countries.
1924 American anthropologist, Albert E. Jenks, publishes a report entitled "New Englanders Who Came From Afric Isles" in which he asserts that the leaders of the Cape Verdean community in New Bedford began to prefer the designation of "Cape Verdean" to describe their ethnicity rather than being classed as Portuguese and as an alternative to being known as "black Portuguese". Since the early 1920s Cape Verdeans in America have been struggling to be recognized as a distinct ethnic group with a specific cultural heritage. (see Halter p. 152 ff).
1926 Portuguese economics professor, Antonio Oliveira Salazar orchestrates a coup d'etat and overthrows the Portuguese government and launches the "New State" fascist regime. From 1928 to 1974 Salazar and later his protege, Marcello Caetano, ruled Portugal backed up by a very repressive state secret police organization, P.I.D.E.
During most of the Salazar regime, tabanka was discouraged, and at times actively suppressed.
1926 Joao Cristiano DaRosa, a Rhode Island Cape Verdean, establishes the first Portuguese-language newspaper in America.
1929 Cape Verdean American lawyer and entrepreneur, Roy Teixeira and Albio and Antonio Macedo join forces to purchase the 300 foot ex-clipper ship Coriolanus, the largest of the Brava packet ships. In later years Teixeira would be legal counsel to many of the Cape Verdean packet ship captains.
1930s During the Great Depression an average of 50% of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Cape Verdean labor force was unemployed. The average period of unemployment was 18 months.
Manuel de Gra‡a born in Brava in 1881, immigrated to Massachusetts as a young boy with his family. Bishop Grace (or "Sweet Daddy Grace" as he was affectionately called by his followers) established an evangelical church, the House of Prayer for All People, which by the 1940s had a membership among African Americans numbering over three million. During the Great Depression Bishop Grace's soup kitchens were well used in many of America's black communities.
1930 The Portuguese firm of J. A. Nacimento establishes a tuna fishing and cannery business in Santa Maria. For most of the 20th century Cape Verde has had several small tuna canneries which in spite of their archaic equipment and technology produce products for domestic and export markets.
1931 Famine in Fogo and Santiago.
1932 The Santiago Society of Norwich, Connecticut, is established.
1933 Manuel Q. "Chief" Lido organizes the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1329 in the Port of Providence, RI. A brother local was formed in New Bedford in 1936. Cape Verdeans still retain effective control of these two labor organizations. Julio J. ("Juli") Alves, Sr. (1917-1980) was elected to lead the union as secretary-treasurer of ILA locals 1413 and 1465 in 1971.
1933 (September) Plymouth and Bristol Counties, Massachusetts. 1500 Cape Verdean cranberry pickers stage a strike for better working conditions, guaranteed employment until the end of the season, and the right to organize. Bog owners bring in private security guards and eventually outside "scab" workers to break the strike. This would be the first agricultural strike in the history of Massachusetts.
1933 Antonio DeJ. Cardozo (1904-1984), an immigrant from Fogo and a onetime cowboy on a Texas ranch, becomes the first student to be granted admission to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Cardozo would become a successful Boston attorney.
1934 The Nantucket Light Ship is struck by a freighter and sinks killing its mostly Cape Verdean American crew. Attorney Alfred J. Gomes (1897-1974) rallies the Cape Verdean community to establish the Seamen's Memorial Fund to provide scholarship assistance. Gomes also organized famine relief campaigns in response to drought in the islands. Many Cape Verdean organizations support both island relief and local educational and cultural issues.
1934 (June 7). Protesters carrying black flags march in the streets of Mindelo, Sao Vicente against the government's lack of response to mounting famine conditions. Under the leadership of Nho Ambrosino, a popular local leader, the protesters sack and loot food warehouses and commercial establishments. The event has been celebrated in Cape Verdean song and art as the "revolution of Captain Ambrosio".
1934 (November 8). Captain Albertino de Senna of the Manta, the last of the New Bedford whaling ships, now a Brava packet sets sail from Providence for Cape Verde. After 107 days the ship was given up for lost. Soon after the schooner Winnepesauke was also lost with all hands.
1936 The Claridade literary movement is founded in Cape Verde and begins its exploration of the sources of Kriolu cultural identity and analysis of the socioeconomic conditions in Cape Verde.
1937 Cape Verdean American Women's Social Club founded in New Bedford. Maria L. Livramento (from Sao Nicolau) started the club in her home and remains active to this day.
1939 Soldiers of the Germany's Third Reich invade Poland and World War II begins in Europe. In spite of its formal neutrality, the Salazar government of Portugal maintains close ties to the fascist regimes of Spain, Italy and Germany throughout the War. The German SS actively cooperate with Portugal and train the Portuguese secret state police.
1939 The government of Benito Mussolini given authorization to build a transit airport on Ilha do Sal to support Italy's expanding contact with South America.
1941-1943 Famine and drought in all of the islands. Fogo looses approximately 7500 people (31% of its population); Sao Nicolau looses 28% of its population.
1940s-1960s A small segment of the rural "badiu" population on the island of Santiago engages in periodic spontaneous revolts in opposition to Portuguese Catholicism and colonial administration.
In the early 1960's the movement took on political significance and its members were labeled as os rebelados [rebels] by the authorities who were quick to sense the incipient communism in some of its precepts; formerly, the adherents of the movement had been called simply increntes [unbelievers].
Among their precepts was a refusal to accept religious rituals performed by priests; performed their own baptisms, weddings and venerated, in particular, a copy of the Bible brought from America some years earlier. Adherents worked the land communally, refused contact with outsiders, and forbade the killing of any living creature. It was their refusal to deal with money, have contact with priests, or allow their homes to be fumigated in an anti-malaria campaign that brought os rebelados to the government's attention. The movements leaders were eventually arrested, brutally interrogated, and finally dispersed among the other islands. (J. Monteiro 1974: 107-8 cited in Meintel 1984: 142)
In the 1960s-1970s the Rebelados spiritually embraced the PAIGC anti-colonialist liberation movement and its founder, Amilcar Cabral. The struggle and the spirit of the Rebelados revolt is celebrated in the poetry of Corsino Fortes and others.
1941 With the advent of World War II the shipping traffic calling at Mindelo slows to 214 vessels ushering in a total economic collapse.
1941-1945 World War II.
1941 Edinburgh, Scotland. Protestant missionaries publish Pedas di Scitura na Crioulo di Djabraba, selections of Holy Scripture in the crioulo of Brava.
1943 (August 23). A group of men from Brava, some born in America, risked a clandestine Atlantic crossing aboard the packet Mathilde and set sail for New England in the middle of World War II. They planned to secure emergency relief supplies and immediately return to Brava. The Mathilde was lost at sea with all hands somewhere near Bermuda.
1945 (October 21), New Bedford Standard Times reports " Nearly 150 German prisoners of war assisted in harvesting the [cranberry] crop this season".
1940s-1950s Luso-African students in Portugal begin to actively network and embrace the strategy of Pan-Africanism and national liberation. At the forefront of this movement of African students were Eduardo Mondlane, founder of Frente de Liberta‡ao de Mo‡ambique (FRELIMO), Amilcar Cabral, founder of the Partido Africano da Independencia da Guine e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) and Agustinho Neto, first president of the Movimento pelo Liberta‡ao de Angola (MPLA).
1946-1948 Famine and drought. Santiago looses 65% of its population. Population of the archipelago drops to 140,000. In 1946 alone 30,000 people or 15% of total population dies.
1946 Cape Verdean Americans returning from military service in World War II established the Cape Verdean American Veterans Association, New Bedford. Over the years the organization has played a central role in advocacy for Cape Verdean recognition within the USA. Cape Verdeans served in all branches of the U.S. war effort in the Pacific and in Europe. Most served in segregated black units. Some of the others with a lighter complexion found themselves assigned by their superiors to white units.
1946 Portuguese Secret Police (P.I.D.E.) establish a prison at Chao Bom, Tarrafal, Santiago Island to incarcerate political dissidents and anticolonialists from Portugal, Cape Verde, Guine and other African colonies. Ironically, Tarrafal prison would be a great breeding ground for post colonial leadership in Lusophone Africa and Portugal. The powerful Cape Verdean morna Seis anos na Tarrafal (Six years in Tarrafal) memorializes the plight of political prisoners and was very effectively used as an organizing tool during the years of the anti-colonial struggle.
1947 Balthazar Lopes DaSilva ( 1907-1989) a founding member of the Claridade Movement, publishes Chiquinho, the first novel by a Cape Verdean author on a Cape Verdean cultural theme. However it would take until 1987 for a novel to be published in the Cape Verdean Kriolu language, Odju d'agua by Manuel Veiga.
1949 (February) Collapse of Assistencia, Praia, Santiago. "Assistencia" was the popular name of the colonial government's soup kitchen and welfare building. The walls of the building were made of round boulders gathered from the beaches and held together with very little cement. On day the building collapsed, crushing hundreds of the city's poorest and most destitute people. The incident has been celebrated in poetry and song as a metaphor for colonial neglect in Cape Verde.
1949 Ilha do Sal airport was completed by the Portuguese following the Italian defeat in World War II. By 1949 the airport is fully operational and has been gradually improved ever since. The airport remains one of the largest employers in the country and the most important source of foreign revenue.
1951 Eruption of the volcano in Fogo.
1956 Jazz saxaphonist, Paul Gonsalves, son of Cape Verdean immigrants, (1920-1974), receives major critical accalim for his improvised solo of Duke Ellington's "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" at the Newport Jazz Festival (captured on Columbia Records). Gonsalves was Ellington's principal soloist for over 25 years. (see Hayden 1993 and Barboza 1992 for additional material of Cape Verdean musicians).
1956 Amilcar Cabral founds the African Party for the Independence of Guine and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Cabral, born in Guine of Cape Verdean immigrant parents, was an agricultural engineer, poet, and Pan Africanist. He led the protracted political and armed struggle for the independence of both Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau.
1957 Baltazar Lopes DaSilva publishes O Dialecto Crioluo de Cabo Verde, spearheading the movement to legitimize and standardize the Kriolu language.
April 3, 1959 Portuguese troops open fire on striking workers at the Pijiguiti Docks in the Port of Bissau, Guinea killing over 50 people. PAIGC initiates the 13 year armed struggle for independence.
1959-1960 Drought. No mortality recorded. Adequate measures taken by the government to guarantee minimal food requirements.
April 1961 At a meeting in Casablanca, leaders of the anti- colonialist movements in all of the Portuguese African colonies act to create the Conference of Nationalists of the Portuguese Colonies (CONCP). The organization enhances dialogue and strategic planning among the African anti-colonialist movements.
1960s Revolutionary poetry movement builds opposition to colonialism. Poets Ovidio Martins, Kaoberdiano Dambara, Corsino Fortes, Onesimo Silveira, Abilo Duarte and many others used their poetry to raise the popular consciousness and public debate about conditions under colonialism and the need for change.
Mid-1960s. Charles Fortes leads a movement to organize a Black Coalition in the State of Rhode Island and forms the Providence Corporation. The group's primary focus was to pressure for entry of minorities into the building trades, increase minority enrollment in area colleges and build solidarity across different segments of the community. Many other Cape Verdean civic action groups would look to the example of Fortes' leadership.
1964 The schooner Ernestina arrives in New Bedford on its last commercial voyage to America.
1967 Belgian inventor and industrialist Georges Vynckier built a small guest house on the beach at Santa Martia, Sal. With investment incentives from government authorities and the assurances of South African Airways to lodge its crews, Vynckier began to build Hotel Morabeza. Throughout the period of sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa, SAA planes would make refueling stops in Sal. At its peak there were almost 40 SAA flights per week in and out of Ilha do Sal. Revenues from these airport services, fuel sales, and hotel fees were a major source of revenue for the country. (In the 1970s, many of the secret talks which led to normalization of relations between South Africa and Angola would be hosted by Cape Verde).
1968 Drought in all of the Islands.
1969 Manuel T. Neves begins publishing a tabloid, the Cape Verdean News, Lynn, Massachusetts.
1969 The Rev. Martin Gomes, a popular New Bedford athlete whose grandparents were immigrants from Sao Nicolau, is the first Cape Verdean American ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.
1970 Riots erupt in New Bedford's West End, a predominantly African American neighborhood, immediately following an unprovoked drive-by shooting of a Cape Verdean American youth by whites. Cape Verdean and African American community leaders and youth broaden political alliances to respond to local crisis. Joaquim A. "Jack" Custodio takes to the radio airwaves and begins a 25 years career as a "talk show" host and critic of government desegregation and human rights efforts. Manuel Costa, Sr., becomes first Cape Verdean to run for city wide office in New Bedford.
1971 Transitional Bilingual Education Act passed by the Massachusetts State Legislature. In 1975, Cape Verdean parents and teachers of immigrant children in the Boston Public Schools organized to petition the Massachusetts House of Representatives to create a Cape Verdean Kriolu language bilingual education program. The Commissioner of Education officially recognizes Cape Verdean Kriolu as a "living language in Massachusetts.
1971 Internationally acclaimed rhythm and blues group of five Cape Verdean American brothers change their stage name from the "Turnpikes" to their family name, "Tavares". In the course of their career they produced 13 hit records and have sold over five million recordings around the world.
1972-1976 Mary Santos Barros, daughter of Sao Nicolau immigrants, serves as a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Education. In 1989 Barros, a steadfast community advocate, is elected to a seat on the New Beford City Council.
1972 Salah Matteos, a Cape Verdean American, travels to Guinea Conakry and meets with PAIGC leadership. Upon his return to America, Matteos established the PAIGC-USA Support Committee and begins organizing in Southern New England communities. In the Fall of 1972 he conducts a regional conference in support of PAIGC in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1973 Judge James J. Bento (1898-1980) retires from the bench of the 4th District Court in Plymouth County (Massachusetts.) Bento was active in Cape Verdean community affairs in the Cape Cod and New Bedford area throughout his life.
January 20, 1973 Amilcar Cabral is assassinated in his Guinea- Conakry headquarters by agents of the colonial government. ("The criticism by opponents of the PAIGC was that it was dominated by Cape Verdeans. The effort to divide Cape Verdeans from Guineans was also an element in the plot to assassinate Amilcar Cabral...". At secret meetings in New York City, New Bedford, Massachusetts and Providence, RI, in 1972 and 1973, PAIGC officials were engaged in building their political support and conducting informational programs. The Cape Verdean diaspora community and individual families were deeply divided at this time over the issue of Cape Verdean identity and support for or opposition to the PAIGC. (see Lobban, Richard in Cape Verde: Crioulo colony to Independent Nation, 1995, notes p. 11-12)
September 24, 1973 PAIGC declares the independence of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. Luis Cabral, brother of the slain Amilcar, is the country's first president.
February 1974 Cape Verdean-American Federation convention in Providence, RI. This landmark meeting drew over 800 representatives from Cape Verdean American communities throughout USA. At the center of conference deliberations were the questions about the political future of the Islands and the cultural identity of Cape Verdeans within American society.
April 25, 1974 Portuguese armed forces overthrow the fascist dictatorship in Lisbon.
1975 (and 1978) adequate rainfall guarantees the harvest in the Islands.
1975 Judge George N. Leighton (Leitao), son of Cape Verdean immigrants, was nominated by President Gerald Ford to serve as U.S. Distict Courct Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Leighton serves on the Federal bench until his retirement in 1987. He was listed by Ebony Magazine as one of the "most influential Black men in America".
January 1975 Raymond A. Almeida, a Cape Verdean American from New Bedford, incorporates Tchuba, the American Committee for Cape Verde, Inc., in Boston. For three years the organization published the Tchuba Newsletter and lobbied state and federal officials to provide assistance to the new Republic of Cape Verde. The organization also worked in support of the Cape Verdean Institute of Solidarity in Praia.
February 22-23, 1975 Attorneys Aguinaldo Veiga, Roy Teixeira (Sr. & Jr.) and Antonio DeJ. Cardoso convene the Juridical Congress of World Cape Verdean Communities at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, and declare independence in exile. These political forces gathered in a desperate attempt to prevent approaching transfer of power by Portugal to the PAIGC. Outside of the Sheraton, pro-independence forces from throughout New England rallied in a demonstration organized by the PAIGC-USA Support Committee. Political divisions within the Cape Verdean- American community were exacerbated by this event. The UCID political party developed out of this Congress.
June 25, 1975 Mocambique assumes its independence under FRELIMO. Samora Machal is the nation's first president.
July 5, 1975. Independence of the Republic of Cape Verde is proclaimed in Praia. Aristides Maria Pereira is elected the nation's first president. Pereira, born in Boavista, worked as a telecommunications administrator in Guinea and a founding member of the Party. He was the Secretary General of the PAIGC after the assassination of Cabral. Pedro Verona Pires, born in Fogo (1934) and a commandant of the armed forces in Guinea, was elected prime minister. The United States joined many governments in according diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Cape Verde on the day of its independence.
A delegation of six Cape Verdean Americans from Tchuba, the American Committee for Cape Verde, Inc. (Boston) attend the independence ceremonies in Praia.
Cape Verde assumes its independence with less than three months essential supplies of food and medicine and a very weak private sector. Unemployment and popular expectations are equally as high. In a very good year Cape Verde can expect to produce only about 20% of the food it requires. The role of immigrant remittances in the national economy takes on a greater importance. By the 1980s almost 25% of the Gross National Product of Cape Verde is derived from immigrant remittances.
Cape Verde sends its first Ambassador to the USA. In 1977, a General Consulate is opened in Boston.
1975 November 11) Angola assumes its independence under the government of the MPLA. Dr. Agustinho Neto is the nation's first president. Many years earlier Neto, a Medical doctor, was held as a political prisoner in Cape Verde by the Portuguese secret police. Many rural Cape Verdeans in Santo Antao and elsewhere have fond memories of Doctor Neto. Neto died in 1979.
1976 President Aristides Pereira of Cape Verde presents the vessel Ernestina to the "people of the United States" on the occasion of the bicentennial of American independence. Built in Essex, Massachusetts in 1894, the restored Ernestina is today berthed in the Port of New Bedford.
In 1976 the schooner Ernestina sailed from Mindelo enroute to Providence. Less than a day out of Cape Verde, the vessel was dismasted and forced to return to Sao Vicente. The historic voyage of re-patriation would have to wait for several years.
1976 Smithsonian Institution invites the Cape Verdean Folkloric Group from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to participate in the African Diaspora program of the Festival of American Folklife on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
1978 Mindelo, Sao Vicente. First conference of International Cape Verdean Communities. PAIGC-USA Support Committee and Tchuba, American Committee for Cape Verde, Inc. were invited to form delegations and participate in the conference. Cape Verdean associations from over 15 nations are represented at the Conference.
1978 Prime Minister Pedro Pires makes his first official visit to New England Cape Verdean communities in Boston, New Bedford and Providence.
1978 Extension School of Harvard University offers a course in Cape Verdean Kriolu.
1978 Cape Verdean immigrant, Alcides Vicente, begins the first regular radio broadcast in the United States in the Cape Verdean language. The program services Rhode Island. A few years later, Romana Ramos Silva joins Vicente to continue the program to the present day. There are Cape Verdean radio and TV programs throughout the southeastern New England region.
1979 Mindelo, Sao Vicente. Colloquium on Crioulo. Under the direction of Manuel Veiga, Dulce Almada Duarte and other Cape Verdean scholar-activists present the first draft of a proposed standardized orthography.
November 1980 Nino Vieira leads a coup d'etat in Guinea-Bissau and overthrows President Luis Cabral. Cabral receives safe passage to Cape Verde.
The schooner Ernestina sails from Sao Vicente to Newport RI and onto Providence and New Bedford. The formal repatriation process for the vessel moves forward. Today the vessel is the centerpiece of the historic Port of New Bedford.
Jan/Feb 1981 Following the split within the PAIGC in Guinea- Bissau, the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) is created in Praia.
1983 First visit of President Aristides Perreira to New England Cape Verdean communities in Boston, New Bedford and Providence. Honorary Doctorate degrees were conferred at Rhode Island College (Providence, RI) and Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT).
1984 (July) Praia. At the invitation of President Pereira, a group of high school graduates and faculty from the Cape Verdean Bilingual Program of Madison Park High School (Roxbury, MA), visit Cape Verde. The visit is organized by Manuel DaLuz Goncalves, Cape Verdean teacher and long time bilingual education activist.
1986 (October 19) Samora Machel, President of Mozambique, is killed when his plane explodes under suspicious circumstances.
1987 In the 1980s Cape Verde "attracted the highest per capita international aid of any West African country.... In 1987, the country received $86 million in aid - equivalent to half of the gross national product, or $246 in aid for each islander. (NY Times Mar. 2, 1989: A15.)
1989 Edward Andrade, a Cape Verdean American, and Joao Rodrigues Pires, a Cape Verdean resident in Praia, establish Cabovideo, a joint business venture producing weekly television programming in the USA and Cape Verde.
1989 Praia. Conference on Literacy and Crioulo. Continued scholarly elaboration of a new orthography for Crioulo and its use in adult literacy.
1990 Prime Minister Pedro Pires formally initiates the political opening or "Abertura", a deliberate strayegy to open up the political process for eventual multi-party elections in Cape Verde.
1990 The World Bank reported that of the 344,350 population in Cape Verde, 45% were under 14 years old and less than 6% were over 65 years old. The infant mortaliy rate of 1,000 live births was 55. Life expectancy at birth was 65 years.
Jan. 13, 1991 First multi-party elections in Cape Verde. Carlos Wahnon Veiga (MpD - Movement for Democracy) elected Prime Minister.
February 17, 1991 Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro, former President of the Cape Verdean Supreme Court, elected President of the Republic.
1993 (November) U.S. Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts makes the first ever official visit by a Member of the U.S. Congress to Cape Verde. Frank's congressional district includes the New Bedford-Wareham area which is home to the largest Cape Verdean American community.
As a result of talks initiated during this visit, a group of private New Bedford commercial fishing industry representatives begin a dialogue with the Cape Verdean government to establish a joint fishing venture in West African waters. In spite of this strong occupational tradition, Cape Verdeans have not been a part of the fishing industry in New Bedford or elsewhere in the USA.
1994 Cesaria Evora, dubbed the "Barefoot Diva" by French music fans wins a prize for selling over 150,000 CDs in France. Her triumph signals the arrival of Cape Verde on the "World Music" scene. (see 1994 World Music (The Rough Guide, pp. 274-281.) In September-October 1995 after signing a contract with Atlantic Records, Cesaria made her first professional concert tour of the USA and Canada.
1995 Eruption of Pico volcano on the Island of Fogo. (April 2-3).
1995 President Mascarenhas of Cape Verde opens the 1995 Festival of American Folklife at the Smithsonian Institution. The Cape Verdean Connection program brings together over 100 musicians and grassroots tradition bearers from Cape Verde and the Cape Verdean-American community. The Festival draws over one million visitors to the National Mall and provides Cape Verdeans with the highest level of visibility they have ever had in the United States.
1995 Cholera epidemic in Cabo Verde. Over 10,000 cases reported. Over 210 deaths attributed to the epidemic by September 1995. Cape Verdean doctors petition their Government to take more aggressive action to fight the epidemic.
1995 (October) Cape Verdean President Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro makes his first official visit to New England Cape Verdean communities. Mascarenhas was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Rhode Island.
1995 (December 17) National elections in Cape Verde. The ruling party MpD (Movement for Democracy) retains power in Cape Verde.
1996 For the first time Cape Verde sends a team to compete in the Olympic Games (Atlanta, Ga).
1996 Cape Verdean Americans successfully organized a grassroots campaign to urge the U.S. government to extend food assistance to Cape Verde for three years beyond the scheduled termination of the program by USAID. As a direct result of these efforts, the U.S. committed an additional $5 million dollars in food aid. In the best of years Cape Verde is seldom able to feed more than 20% of its population from its own agricultural production.
1997 (January 27) Antonio Laurenco Lopes of Juncalinho, Sao Nicolau celebrated his 100th birthday at Our Lady of Assumption Church in New Bedford. Tony Lopes served aboard the whaling schooners William Graber and Claudia. During the 19th and early 20th century many Cape Verdeans made their way to a new life in America as crewmen on the Yankee whalers.
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