Mindelo, Cape Verde
May 21, 2023
On Sunday morning, May 21, we docked in Mindelo, the port city of the island of Sao Vincente. It is known for its carnival traditions, first originating from Portugal. Later cultural influences came from Brazil. Mindelo, home to 93% of the island’s population is often considered to be the cultural capital of the Cape Verde archipelago.
Mindelo, which is now essentially a fishing village, was founded by Portugal in 1793. Cape Verde formally achieved its independence from Portugal in 1975. After 15 years of one party rule Cape Verde became a multi-party democracy in 1990. It has made considerable progress since then. For instance, the think tank Freedom House gives Cape Verde its highest ranking in its Freedom in the World survey.
Cape Verde is a high scoring country for Freedom of the Press. The Heritage Foundation ranked it the 47th freest country in the world and the 2nd out of 47 in Africa. To put that in perspective: it’s a little worse than Peru (44) and better than Spain (51).
Cape Verde is also doing better economically than many other African countries with a per capita a bit above $7,700. That is much higher than Sao Tome, Mozambique, Senegal, Madagascar and Togo, for instance.
Mary Anne and I took a shuttle into the town to take a look around. It was quite pleasant. There were plenty of boats of all shapes and sizes tied up in the harbor; the city was clean and the European influence on the architecture was more than obvious. While wandering around the city we stopped in a local cafe and had some delicious coffee and then headed back to the ship. Cape Verde was an interesting place to visit and we’ll see how it stacks up compared to Tenerife and the Canary Islands.