The islands of Cape Verde were discovered in the 15th century by the Portuguese and soon became an assembly point for slaves being transported to the Americas.
Cape Verde was governed as a single entity along with Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau), but became a separate colony in 1879. In 1951 Cape Verde became an Portuguese overseas province, and in 1961 the inhabitants were all granted Portuguese citizenship.
The Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC, African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) was formed in the 50s to fight Portuguese rule and after years of guerrilla warfare, independence was granted on 5 July 1975 under a one-party system.
Cape Verde's first president, Aristides Pereira, wanted to form a federation with Guinea-Bissau but this was brought to an end by an attempted coup. A new ruling party, the Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde (PAICV, African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde) was formed in 1981.
Multi-party democracy came to Cape Verde in 1990, and in 1991 Pereira and the PAICV were defeated by the Movimento para a Democracia (MPD, Movement for Democracy). António Mascarenhas Monteiro remained the MPD president of Cape Verde for ten years before power was returned to the PAICV under Pedro Pires.