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Cape Verde was uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived in 1460 and made the islands part of the Portuguese empire. Due to its location off the coast of Africa, Cape Verde became an important watering station, then sugar cane plantation site, and later a major center of the slave trade.
In 1975, the islands achieved independence, partly due to the efforts of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). After independence, the PAIGC attempted to unite Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau into one nation, the PAIGC controlling both governments, but a coup in the latter nation in 1980 ended these plans.
Sources: Wikipedia and CIA World Factbook
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