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Population

Population

Nationality: Noun and adjective-- Cape Verdean(s) .
Population (2009 forecast): 506,000.
Annual population growth rate (2008 est.): 1.41%.
Ethnic groups: Creole (mixed African and Portuguese) 71%, African 28%, European 1%.
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant.
Languages: Portuguese (official); Cape Verdean Creole (national).
Education: Literacy (2008)--77%.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2008)--24.8/1,000. Life expectancy (2008)--72.5 yrs

The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited until the Portuguese discovered the islands in 1456. Enslaved Africans were brought to the islands to work on Portuguese plantations. They were joined by entrepreneurs and refugees fleeing religious persecution in Europe , leading to a rich cultural and ethnic mix. The influence of African culture is most pronounced on the island of Santiago , where a little less than half the population resides. Sparse rain and few natural resources historically have induced Cape Verdeans to emigrate. It is believed that of the more than 1 million individuals of Cape Verdean ancestry, fewer than half actually live on the islands. Some 500,000 people of Cape Verdean ancestry live in the United States , mainly in New England . Portugal , Netherlands , Italy , France , Senegal , and Sao Tome and Principe also have large communities.

The official language is Portuguese, but Cape Verdeans also speak Cape Verdean Creole--which is based on archaic Portuguese but influenced by African and European languages. Cape Verde has a rich tradition of Cape Verdean Creole literature and music.


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