This post is meant to be introductory as i intend to blog much more in future posts about Cape Verdean ethnic roots on the continent as well as its shared ancestral connections with other Afro-diasporeans in the Americas. In fact i’ve just recently created a separate website (www.cvraiz.com) focusing exclusively on specifying the African Ethnic Origins for Cape Verdeans. Here’s the link for it:
The definitions of African subregions as used in slave trade literature tend to vary a lot. To explain what i mean by “Upper Guinean Roots” these maps will be illustrative (also posted under “Maps/Upper Guinea”) Especially the last two ones as Liberia historically wasn’t part of the socalled “Guinea of Cape Verde”, a term used in the 1500’s to refer to the area in between the Senegal river in the north and the Sierra Leone river/peninsula in the south where Cape Verdean based traders were allowed to trade in accordance with Portuguese royal monopoly rights. Liberia being part of the socalled Malaguetta Coast (a.k.a. Pepper Coast or Windward Coast) it was officially off limits for Cape Verdean based traders and rarely visited by them also because of prevailing sea currents and trading winds and a generally low or non-existent supply of slaves at that particular time period (1500’s). I won’t use all that many references for this blog post and the following ones but you can check this overview for my main sources: http://www.cvraiz.com/?page_id=21
The website www.cvraiz.com is meant for a very detailed discussion of the ethnic origins of Cape Verdeans plus displaying background information i’ve collected over the years in my research. On this blog i will keep track of any future updates of the website (via the tag “CVRAIZ.com“) and in addition I will discuss anything placing Cape Verde in a broader Afro-diasporean context. Of course me being Cape Verdean descended it’s natural for me to be interested in this topic. However despite being only a small island nation with a tiny population Cape Verde and its ethnic roots can also be very much relevant for other Afro-descendants trying to trace and identify their African origins. Cape Verde holding an unique position in the history of Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, as it was one of the first major entrepots (together with São Tomé & Principe, another West African island group and former Portuguese colony) for shipping enslaved Africans, almost exclusively from the Upper Guinean region, to the brandnew colonies of especially Spain in the Americas. In fact prior to the discovery of America there was already an expanding slave trade from Cape Verde to other Atlantic island groups (Madeira, Canarias, Azores) as well as to Portugal and Spain. The early history of transatlantic slavery is not generally known by many, an excellent introductionary online essay can be found here: Iberian Roots of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1440–1640.