If you are in Cape Verde you will most likely see the name Amílcar Cabral passing by somewhere. For example as a street name, the name of a square or the airport of the island of Sal. But who is Amílcar Cabral? In Cape Verde, Amílcar Lopes Cabral (1924 – 1972) is the father of the country. He lives in the hearts of all Cape Verdeans. He is the most famous fighter for Cape Verde’s independence and is therefore an important part of Cape Verde’s history.
Establishment of PAIGC
Amílcar Cabral was born in 1924 in the country of Guinea-Bissau (Guinea at the time), his parents were from Cape Verde. Amílcar Cabral first studied on the Cape Verde island of Sao Vicente and then continued his studies in Portugal where he trained as an agricultural engineer. After his studies in the 1950s, he founded the resistance movement and political party the Partido Africano da Independênciade Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) together with five equal minded people. His brother Luis Cabral and Aristides Pereira (later the first president of Cape Verde) were also part of it. The resistance movement wanted independence from Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. Both areas were colonized by the Portuguese. And they were inseparable, because many of the slaves brought to Cape Verde came from Guinea-Bissau.
From 1963, resistance to Portuguese colonization started. The military struggle for independence with support from Cuba and the Soviet Union led to the liberation of two thirds of Guinea-Bissau. The Portuguese rulers intensified their military activities and tried to win the battle with repression and reforming. Ultimately, the UN determined that Guinea-Bissau was for the greater past in the hands of the resistance movement and asked for recognition of the victory. In 1972 Amílcar Cabral and his PAIGC set up a parliament in preparation for the independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. To great sadness, Amílcar Cabral was murdered in early 1973 by a former member of his resistance party. It was suspected that an infiltrator of the old Portuguese rulers. Led by his brother Luis Cabral, the PAIGC continued the struggle for independence and in 1973 the UN ordered Portugal to leave the country.
After the Portuguese Carnation Revolution in 1974, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde were recognized. Cape Verde became independent on July 5, 1975. In the first years, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde were still 1 country, but in 1980 both countries split up. Aristides Pereira, fellow resistance fighter of Amílcar Cabral from the very beginning, became the first president of Cape Verde.