A Rich and Fascinating History

Discovered in 1456 by Portuguese seafarers, the Cape Verde Islands tell a story that weaves its rich African and European influences together.

Recorded history began in the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers stumbled across the collection of 10 islands in 1456 and lay claim to the archipelago. They returned six years later and built Ribeira Grande, which is now known as Cidade Velha – the oldest city on Cape Verde and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Islands were seen as an important base between Africa and the Americas, which left it, and Ribeira Grande in particular, open to frequent attacks from the English, Dutch, French and pirates from around the world. This ultimately led to the capital city being moved in Praia in 1770, where it remains today.

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