webAfriqa / Library / History

Patrick Chabal
Amílcar Cabral: revolutionary leadership and people's war

Cambridge; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1983. xiii, 272 p.

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I. — Colonial rule in Guinea and Cape Verde

The characteristics of Portuguese colonial rule are best understood through an analysis of the Portuguese state 1. The overthrow of the first Portuguese Republic in 1926, only ten years after its creation, led to the establishment of a fascist regime, the Estado Novo, under the leadership of António de Oliveira Salazar. Portugal, once a powerful colonial power, was now an isolated and underdeveloped European nation. Political repression and nationalist fervour were substituted for representative democracy. The colonial empire became the pride and raison d'être of a ruling elite unwilling to accept the economic and political changes which the rest of Europe was undergoing after the second World War 2. The refusal to decolonise became the symbol of the regime's deterrrunation to succeed where all other colonial powers had ‘failed’. Although the colonial wars had disastrous consequences for Portuguese society as a whole, the government refused ever to consider negotiations with the African nationalists 3. In April 1974, the prospect of military defeat in Africa led the Portuguese armed forces to overthrow Caetano and to restore democracy.

Salazar's 1930 Colonial Act had drawn up the principles of modern Portuguese colonial rule and these principles remained in force until 1974 despite superficial changes in colonial legislation in the sixties. Direct rule, centralisation and a balanced budget were the mainstay of his colonial policies. Although colonial ideology emphasised a policy of assimilation similar to that of the French, the nature of the Portuguese indigénat (native legislation), the lack of education and the requirements for the status of assimilado virtually precluded the application of the policy. In order to become assimilated, the indigénat had to be 18 years old and to speak Portuguese correctly. He had to earn a sufficient income for himself and his family and to produce two testimonies of good character. He must have attained a sufficient level of education. He was required to submit a birth certificate, a certificate of residence, a certificate of good health, and a declaration of loyalty; and to have paid the appropriate taxes and fees. The wife and children of the applicant could only acquire assimilado status if they spoke Portuguese and showed good character 4. Table 1 shows the number and percentage of assimilados ascertamed m the 1950 census.

Table 1. Percentage of ‘assimilados’ in the total populations of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea
  Assimilados Total population Percentage
Angola 30,089 4,006,598 0.74
Mozambique 25,149 5,646,957 0.44
Guinea 1,478 502,457 0.39

The failure of assimilation, the emphasis on the specific nature of Portuguese colonial rule, the isolation of Portugal, and the general absence of information on lusophone Africa, delayed the development of African nationalism and restricted its opportuni ties to appeal to the outside world. Throughout the fifties, Portuguese colonial rule remained rigid and centralised. Portuguese colonial administrators continued to view their fun ction primarily in terms of law and order at a time when French and British colonies were experiencing a substantial measure of political and social emancipation. The colonial myth that “the Africans in their colonies would rather be Portuguese than free” eventually forced the nationalists to launch wars of national liberation.


Physical features and socio-economic characteristics

Portuguese Guinea, as it was defined by the 1886 agreement between France and Portugal, is a small territory of some 32,000 square kilometres (14,000 square miles) wedged between the former French colonies of Senegal to the north and Guinée to the east and south 5. The territory can be roughly divided into two distinct geographical areas. Along the coast, the land is deeply inde nted by estuaries and rivers and bordered by mangroves and swamp forests. The coast is dotted with small islands, the most important of which form the Bijagos Archipelago. In the interior and to the east, the land is covered by savanna and forests. In the southernmost region of the country there are fairly dense rain forests. Nowhere does elevation exceed 950 feet. Meandering rivers and wide estuaries allow navigation deep into the country.
The main ethnic groups are the Muslim Fulas (Peuls or Fulanis) in the north and north-east who are related to the Fulas of Guinée; the largely Islamised Mandingas and Manjacas who live in the northern and central areas and who also have their counterparts across the border; and the “animist Sudanese Negroes” (Balantes, Pepels, Brames, etc.) who occupy the centre of the country and the coastal areas.

The sociopolitical structure of the ‘Negro-Sudanese’ groups has been broadly described as stateless, egalitarian and decentralised. Each village is under the leadership of a village council or council of elders; land is held communally and worked by families who retain the bulk of their production.

Table 2. Population of the main ethnic groups in Guinea
  1950 1970
Balante 160,296 250,000
Fulas 108,402 100,000
Manjacas 71,712 140,000
Mandingas 63,750 80,000
Papels 36,341 50,000
Brames 16,300 35,000
Bijagos 10,332 15,000

Fula society, on the other hand, already showed distinct signs of social and economic stratification when the Portuguese took control of the area. There existed a relatively developed form of state structure and chiefs exercised considerable economic powers. They owned large tracts of land, received tributes in kind and had access to much of the agricultural production. Society was divided into three main strata: the chiefs and the aristocratic class, the artisans and tradesmen, and the peasants and slaves. Islam conferred upon the chiefs considerable spiritual and religious prerogatives.

The Manjacas and Mandingas, although largely Islamised, were far less stratified than the Fulas and exhibited a certain number of similarities in their sociopolitical structures with the Balantes and Pepels whom they had slowly pushed towards the coast. They had maintained the traditional age groups, but a system of chieftaincy was already developing when the Portuguese assumed control; economic structures and social hierarchies were beginning to resemble those of the Fulas 6. Although the different ethnic groups in Guinea speak a variety of languages, Portuguese rule led to the development of a creole as a lingua franca which is now widely spoken all over the country.

The total population of the territory has been estimated to have increased as follows: 1950, 502,457; 1960, 521,336; 1979, 777,214 7

The population of the main ethnic groups is difficult to assess but was reported as in table 2.8. The 1950 census noted that 63.5 per cent of the population was animist, 35.6 per cent Muslim and only 0.86 per cent Catholic despite the fact that the Catholic missions had been given a monopoly over indigenous education. In 1950, the urban population of Guinea was extremely small, as shown by the numbers of inhabitants:

Bissau 17,255
Bolama 3,075
Bafata 3,570
Farim 2,764
Bissora 2,192
Teixeira Pinto 1,311
Nova Lamego 1,265 9

The 1953 agricultural survey carried out by Cabral himself gave a detailed picture of agriculture in the colony. Only about 12 per cent (410,800 hectares) of the total area of the country was under cultivation — in the following proportion for the main ethnic groups: Balantes, 30 per cent; Fulas, 28.6 per cent; Mandingas, 15.7 per cent; and Manjacas, 12.6 per cent.

Table 3. Ethnic distribution of crop output in Guinea
  Balantes Manjacas Fulas Mandingas Pepels
Rice 61 12.06 7.06 6.9 5.01
Dry Rice 12.08 21.88 19.9
Groundnuts 17.92 7.58 43.61 22.71

The main crops in 1953 were rice, 25.82 per cent of the total cultivated area; groundnuts, 21.78 per cent; maize , 15.95 per cent; and sorghum, 10.87 per cent. Food crops occupied 70.32 per cent of cultivated land and export crops (mostly groundnuts), 21.78 per cent. Table 3 gives the ethnic distribution of crop output, in percentages of the total 10. The Fulas produced over half of the total amount of maize and sorghum; the Mandingas and Balantes the rest.

By the fifties, Guinea's agriculture was thus divided in two. Along the coast, the Balantes and their neighbours grew the bulk of Guinea's rice (and only some groundnuts and maize). Inland, groundnuts, dry rice, maize and sorghum were the main crops. The basic food staple in Guinea is rice, and to a much lesser extent maize and sorghum 11.

Until the beginning of the war of independence (1963), Guinea was self-sufficient in food.

The bulk of groundnut production was exported. Total rice production in 1953 was estimated at around 100,000 metric tons per annum 12.


Until 1879, Portuguese Guinea was under the administration of the colonial government of Cape Verde. Cape Verde had always been the more important of the two colonies and Portuguese penetration inside Guinea had been minimal, though a string of forts and towns had been established along the coast and on the main rivers. Following the end of the slave trade, for which Guinea had been intensively exploited, the mainland territory was neglected by the Portuguese who saw little economic value in the swampy and disease-ridden colony.

After the 1886 agreement with France, delineating the boundaries of Guinea, the Portuguese undertook to gain control over their territory. The ‘pacification campaign’ which followed showed how little of Guinea the Portuguese had in fact previously occupied. The protracted, often fierce and bloody battles of this campaign were not completed until the late 1930s.
Major military operations had to be launched to subdue the Manjacas and Felupes (1878-80), the Fulas and Beafadas (1880-82), the Balantes (1883-85), the Pepels (1886-90), the Fulas of Gabu (1893) , the Oinkas (1897), the Bijagos (1902), the Manjacas of Churo (1904-6), the Mandingas of Churos (1914), and the Pepels (1915). According to a 1915 Brazilian report, the Portuguese in Bissau were living ‘behind the defence of their town walls, and no-one could go safely into the interior. Bissau was really a camp … outside which they feared the vengeance of the “fearsome Pepels” and even those who were able to go on trading missions had to pay for the Pepels' chiefs permission 13. Cabral has noted that the animist ethnic groups of the coastal areas (Balantes, Pepels, etc.) resisted the imposition of colonial rule with the greatest determination and courage whereas the Fula chiefs were more rapidly willing to compromise and collaborate with the Portuguese. The last resistance, that of the Bijagos, was crushed in 1936 14.

Table 4. The ‘civilised’ population of Guinea
1940 1950
  Total Men Women Total Men Women
Whites 1.419 899 520 2,263 1,424 839
Mestiços 2,200 1,102 1,098 4,568 2,245 2.323
Negroes 2,190 1,063 1,127 1,478 821 657
Indians 10 8 2 11 11

Guinea was eventually controlled by the Portuguese but it was never effectively occupied or settled by them. The white population always remained minimal and there never was any serious attempt to acquire large tracts of land or to establish white settlements. In 1928 there were 983 whites in Guinea; in 1950 only 2,263. In 1945, land concessions to Europeans did not exceed 300 square kilometres and landholding 1,000 square kilometresless than 4 per cent of the total area 15. This is in sharp contrast to the pattern in Angola and Mozambique where massive land alienation took place and where white settlement on a large scale became government policy. Guinea was not economically attractive to the Portuguese and the government never sought to invest or to attract foreign investment into the colony. The European population was composed of officials (civil servants and armed forces) , traders who benefited from the government policy of compulsory groundnut production, and a number of shopkeepers (many of them Lebanese). The number of civilizados in Guinea barely increased in the forties and fifties and in any case remained extremely small. Civilizados included all whites and mestiços (people of mixed blood) and those Africans who had acquired civilizado, later assimilado, status. The official figures are shown in table 4 16. While the number of mestifos grew in the forties, the number of African civilizados actually declined over the decade. There could have been no clearer indication that Portugal's policy of assimilation was not being seriously pursued.

Colonial administration and policies

Until 1963, the Governor of Guinea (usually a military officer) ruled alone, seeking or ignoring the advice of a nominated consultative body, the Conselho de Governo. He had unrestrained executive powers and, until 1963, complete legislative authority on all matters concerning the indigenous population 17. He administered finances, levied taxes and was directly responsible for law and order. Following the 1961-63 colonial reforms, a Legislative Council was introduced in Guinea and Cape Verde. It was composed of 11 members, a majority of whom were elected by traditional authorities and Europeans and only a minority by the electorate as a whole. The electoral reforms, however, had not introduced universal suffrage — which indeed did not even exist in Portugal — and the number of Africans able to meet the literacy and tax requirements was exceedingly small. In 1973 the number of registered voters was still only 7,834 18. The Legislative Council was renamed the Legislative Assembly in 1972, and its total membership was increased to 17, five of whom were to be elected by ‘universal’ suffrage. The Consello de Governo was renamed Junta Consultativa Provincial and five of its members were now elected by ‘various administrative authorities, cultural and professional corporations’ 19. The introduction of these elected bodies made no real difference since the Governor's decisions were always automatically approved. Quite clearly, then , the Africans in Guinea had little say in the government of the colony until independence. The establishment of a Legislative Council was essentially designed to forestall international criticism and placate the United Nations. It was not, as had been the case in British or French colonies, a means of developing African political participation and of preparing the country for self-government.

Guinea was divided administratively into twelve districts (9 conselhos, and 3 circunscrições). In the conselhos, the eligible voters were supposed to have some representation in the local council. In practice, however, the highly centralised national administrative structure was replicated at the local level, with the chefe de posto (district officer) acting on behalf of the governor. The posto was the smallest administrative unit and the chefe de posto, a Portuguese official, worked in collaboration with traditional or appointed chiefs known as regedores. These African collaborators were in principle appointed after consultation with the local population. In fact they were selected among those most willing to work with and for the colonial authority, and only rarely (except in Fula areas) because they were the traditional or accepted authorities. The chefe de posto had absolute power including judicial authority over all matters concerning the indigenous population. His prime responsibilities, however, were the maintenance of order and the collection of taxes. Until the 1962 reforms he was entitled to conscript forced labour. Although forced labour occurred on a massive scale in Angola and Mozambique, where it was widely used for the private sector, in Guinea its use was essentially confined to the construction and maintenance of roadways , bridges, and other public works. Forced labour remained limited because of Guinea's modest infrastructure. Since 1940 responsibility for the education of Africans lay with the Catholic Church. Salazar reversed the first Republic's polic] of providing public primary education to Africans. As a result, an agreement was signed with the Vatican in 1940, granting permission for the Church to take charge of the education of the indigenas. Only assimilados had access to state education. The reduction in the number of assimilados between 1940 (2.190) and 1950 (1.478) makes it clear that very few Africans benefited from such public education. Since the main requirement for assimilation was literacy in Portuguese it can readily be seen that Catholic education had little success. This is not surprising. The record of colonial education in Guinea was appalling by any standard. Educational statistics are particularly difficult to inte rpret, particularly after Portugal was admitted to the UN in 1955, when the Portuguese were eager to demonstrate the adequacy of colomal education in Guinea. After the war began in 1963, Portuguese statistics cannot be considered reliable since they were used in propaganda against the nationalists' claims. Da Mota's statistics, reproduced here, are generally recognised as the most accurate: in 1951-52 there were 11 official primary schools with 27 teachers and 735 pupils; and one secondary school in Bissau (founded in 1949) with 78 students. Only 4 per cent of the province's revenues were allocated to education. Missionary education in 1950-51 consisted of 10 schools of ensino primário oficial (full cycle) with 935 pupils; and 45 schools of ensino primário rudimentar (shorter cycle) with 1,044 pupils 20. Hence, in 1950-51 there were only 1,979 African children receiving some form of primary schooling. By contrast, da Mota reports that there were an estimated 436 Koranic schools with over 5,000 pupils. The 1954-55 official statistics give the same number of official primary schools as da Mota gives, but include 120 missionary schools with 7,181 pupils 21. Following the first year of the war (1963-64), official figures show that the number of offici al schools had increased to 57 with 2,058 pupils while the number of missionary schools had fallen to 96 (9,355 pupils) 22.

Even the most generous interpretation of the Portuguese statistics shows clearly that, until the war, only a very small proportion of Guinean children had access to primary education. Virtually no African had received secondary education which was in fact, if not in principle, restricted to whites and assimilados. Cabral reports that only 14 Guineans, some of whom were of Cape Verdean origin, ever gained access to higher education 23. While the figure cannot be confirmed , the order of magnitude is probably correct. As Rudebeck has pointed out, the official figures for education expenditures in other West African countries indicate that even the French colony with the worst record (Upper Volta) spent more than twice as much on education as Guinea did 24. The fact that close to 99 per cent of the Guinean population was considered illiterate in the sixties should therefore come as no surprise. Ten years earlier 99.7 per cent of the Guinean population was estimated to be illiterate and, despite the literacy requirements, 45.1 per cent of the assimilado population was similarly assessed 25. Health conditions were very poor in Guinea and colonial rule did little to improve the lives of the indigenas. In 1953, there were only two hospitals, 18 doctors , 71 nurses and 23 auxiliary nurses, concentrated in two urban centres (Bissau and Bolama). In 1960 the Portuguese claimed to have four hospitals and six rural health centres, 17 rural maternity posts and 51 first-aid posts, 25 doctors, 26 nurses and 73 auxiliaries. Post-1960 Portuguese statistics must again be reviewed with some suspicion. And as Rudebeck has indicated, health expenditure per capita was lower than in other West African countries 26.

Table 5. Agricultural production in Guinea, 1953
  Area Production
  hectares percentage (tonnes)
Rice 124 ,765 25.86 90,247
Dry Rice 28.265 5.86 10,030
Sorghum 52,906 10.97 17,834
Maize (black) 79,906 15.95 23.968
Maize (Brazil) 24,809 5.15 7,994
Fonio 33,438 6.94 9,717
Maniac 14,814 3.07 24,171
Beans 11,993 2.49 2,111
Groundnuts 105,018 21.78 63,975
Sesame 1,228 0.26 411

Colonial economy

In the economic field the Portuguese sought to develop the production of export crops, particularly groundnuts, by means of monetary taxation. The Estado Novo's colonial policies closed Guinea to foreign business and investments, and the large Portuguese company, Companhia Uniao Fabril (CUF), had a de facto monopoly on trade and shipping. In 1949 Guinea's agricultural products were virtually all sent to Portugal which in turn supplied the colony with its imports. This pattern of colonial trade was maintained, and even consolidated, during the fifties and sixties.

Guinea's economy was, and remains, entirely agricultural. The distribution of agricultural production in 1953 is summarised in table 5 27. In 1953, groundnuts constituted 70 per cent of the total exports; coconuts, palm oil, some beef, and in some years rice, made up the rest. The colony's balance of external trade declined sharply from a rough equilibrium in 1950 to a situation in 1960 where the value of imports was almost double that of exports.

The colonial policy of maximising the production of export crops was (according to Cabral) in the interests neither of African villagers nor of Guinean agriculture as a whole.

The author's research in the various regions of the country shows that the production of rice is more profitable for the African farmer than that of groundnuts because of the low price that the latter fetch on the market. It can even be shown that … groundnut production revenues are not sufficient to remunerate the labour of those members of a family who produce the crop. This is the main contradiction in Guinean agriculture today: the colonial authorities encourage and develop the productton of a crop which is not profitable enough to provide the peasants with the income required for the payment of taxes 28.

Table 6. Proportion of industry, agriculture, commerce and services in the Guinean GNP
  1953 1962
Manufacturing industries 1.8 1.2
Agriculture, forestry, fishing 22.7 17.9
Commerce (wholesale & retail) 29.7 29.3
Services 33.7 38.0

Guinean agriculture deteriorated because of the intensive production for export and the consequent failure to diversify crops. Much of the agricultural land became exhausted as it was not allowed to lie fallow as often and for as long as it should have been. Despite these problems, however, Guinea on the eve of the war (1963) was easily self-sufficient in food and the population did not suffer from starvation, as it did in Cape Verde. But the war, as is the case with all wars of national liberation, was to have a disastrous effect on Guinean agriculture. Although the PAIGC always managed to produce enough to feed the population under its control (about 50 per cent of the total) the Portuguese failed to do so. By 1968, they had to import 3,800 metric tons of rice and by 1974, 30,600 metric tons, the latter being at least 60 per cent of the food requirements of the population they still controlled 29.

Industrial development under Portuguese colonial rule was virtually non-existent. A few rice and groundnut hulling plants, some workshops and a handful of oil-producing factories and saw mills were set up in the fifties and sixties. The first genuine industrial plant was a groundnut-oil factory completed in 1959; the second a beer and soft drink plant assembled in 1974 primarily to supply the Portuguese armed forces. Communications and transport remained rudimentary. There was no railway. And onl y a mere 3,000 kilometres of roads, of which not more than 2,000 were all-weather, had been built before the war. Bissau, the only port in the country, was equipped to receive a single medium-size cargo ship at a time and there was only one all-weather airport. During the war, of course, road and airstrip construction was accelerated dramatically. The relative importance of industry, agriculture , commerce and services in the Guinean GNP, as shown in table 6, is illuminating 30. Although colonial rule obviously affected the lives of the various ethnic groups in Guinea, it brought remarkably little socio-economic change to the colony. To a large degree the Portuguese were content to claim ownership of the territory, to administer it at the lowest possible cost and to seek whatever commercial advantage could be derived from its agriculture. Portuguese achievements in Guinea compared unfavourably with those of France in the neighbouring and largely similar territories of Senegal and Guinee.

Guinea was the smallest and most backward of Portugal's mainland colonies. Colonial rule did not reach far beyond the confines of the cities and even these were few and small. The impact of the colonial economy was minimal. Unlike Angola and Mozambique, Guinea had no white settlement, no large-scale land alienation, minimal forced labour, no displacement of rural population, no acute impoverishment of the countryside and virtually no rural proletarianisation. There were, in short, none of the hallowed ‘objective preconditions’ widely deemed to be the prerequisites for popular political activity. In addition, there was little nationalist sentiment, even though local resistance to ‘pacification’ had been strong. Even more than in most of the rest of West Africa, allegiances were ethnic and religious, or at most regional in character. Colonial rule, or the opposition to it, had brought no sense of national unity. Few observers, therefore, would have lent much credence to the feasibi lity of an armed struggle in Guinea. Yet it was within this context that the PAIGC emerged and posed the most successful political and military challenge to Portuguese colonial rule.

Cape Verde

The Cape Verde islands lie about 350 miles west of the coast of Senegal. The archipelago consists of ten islands and five islets with a total area of 4,033 square kilometres (1,307 square miles). When the Portuguese first set foot on the islands in 1462 they were not permanently inhabited. The first European settlers arrived shortly afterwards and the islands were then slowly populated by African slaves brought from the Guinean coast. In 1582 the population of the large islands of Fogo and Sao Tiago was reported as having 1,608 whites, 400 freed slaves and 13,700 slaves. Slavery remained at the root of Cape Verdean society and economy until the nineteenth century. The archipelago specialised in manufacturing ‘country cloths’ and also served as an important staging post and depot during the slave trade.

The Portuguese settlers were not only interested in the import of their own labour force , but they also regarded the re-export of slaves as a priority. Clothes, dyes, hides and livestock were exported to Europe and to the New World, but the Cape Verdeans concentrated on exchanging most of their own products to the mainland for slaves to be sold to Europe and the Americas 31.

As a result, around 70 per cent of the population of Cape Verde is now of mixed descent except on the main island of São Tiago where the majority is African. The 1970 census gave a total population of 272,071 and by 1976 it was estimated to be 306,046. In 1970 the population of São Tiago was 129,358; Santo Antão, 44,916; Sao Vicente, 31,462; and Fogo, 29,592. The administrative capital, Praia, is on São Tiago while the economtc capital, Mindelo, is on São Vicente. The whites have rarely made up more than 4 per cent of the population. The language spoken is a form of Portuguese creole related to but not identical with that which is used on the mainland. Unlike Guinea, however, the immense majority of the population of the archipelago is Catholic.

The geography of the island has been the ingle most important factor in the development of the archipelago's society and economy. Most of the island are of volcanic origin and have been heavily eroded. They are located in the semi-arid Sahelian belt and suffer from a chronic shortage of rainfall which , over the centuries, has been the cause of catastrophic droughts and famines. In the twent ieth century alone it has been estimated that droughts have led to the death of over half of the population 32, and over the past fifteen years the archipelago has been experiencing its worst drought since 1892. At the end of 1977, the ninth year of total drought, conditions were more severe in Cape Verde than in any other Sahelian country 33. Emigration has been one of the few ways to survive and there are today more Cape Verdeans living abroad (in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Senegal, Portugal, and in the rest of Europe) than at home.

Agriculture has always been extremely precarious on the islands. The Portuguese were forced to import increasing amounts of food over the years as erosion and lack of water continually reduced the area of agricultural land and the output per acre. They failed to bring about the technical and social improvements which would have prevented the decline of Cape Verdean agriculture. As a result, wasteful traditional agriculture techniques were maintained. Social and economic inequalities in the countryside further aggravated the poverty of the large majority of the population. Today, about 100,000 people depend on agriculture for their living, but only five percent of food consumption is covered by local resources. About 54 percent of farms are under one hectare while less than 3 percent are over 5 hectares. Four out of five agricultural workers are share-croppers. Food crops are maize, beans, cassava and sweet potatoes, supplemented wherever soils, terrain and rainfall permit with bananas, vegetables, sugar cane , fruits, etc. 34

In short , at the end of 500 years of colonial rule, Cape Verdean agriculture was severely underdeveloped and the population of the islands largely destitute. Although physical and climatic conditions were not favourable in Cape Verde, there was much that the Portuguese could have done to prevent the loss of the vegetation, to reduce soil erosion and to increase the water resources of the islands. Some form of land reform would also have helped to alleviate poverty and to increase agricultural production. But the Portuguese made no se rious attempt to meet the archipelago's growing crisis of subsistence.

Historically, the links between Cape Verde and Guinea have been relatively close since the bulk of the islands' population has come from the mainland. In addition , both colonies were under the control of the same colonial government until 1879. Over the centuries, however, and especially since 1879, Cape Verde has become more closely tied to Portugal. It has deve loped a culture and a folklore which are neither entirely African nor really Portuguese. To the Portuguese, Cape Verde was a privileged colony, which Portuguese politicians often used as evidence that their ‘non-racial’ policy of assimilation worked 35. In 1914, when the Native Status Act defined Portugal's African population as indigenous, the Cape Verdeans were granted the full status of Portuguese citizenship, much as the inhabitants of the four communes of Senegal were made French. This legal status was maintained by the Salazar regime and as a result Cape Verdeans were automatically considered assimilados. This was a considerable privilege within the framework of the Portuguese empire. In particular, it meant that Cape Verdeans had access to public education and, in theory at least, held the same social and political rights as Portuguese citizens.

Table 7. Education in Cape Verde, 1953 and 1964
  1953 1964
Primary schooling 6,167 18,150
Secondary schooling 653 1,076
Technical schooling 193 734

Although it is true that such a status allowed many Cape Verdeans to migrate to Portugal and elsewhere (assimilados had freedom of movement), it had little effect in the archipelago itself. The colonial government and administration were run along the same lines as in Guinea. The same reforms were carried out in the sixties with no more concessions to political participation and nationalist politics than on the mainland. However, a greater proportion of Cape Verdeans did receive some education, as official figures show (table 7) 36. In addition the quality of education on the islands was higher since it was available in state and not missionary schools.

As a result, a number of educated Cape Verdeans were eligible to fill the lower echelons of the colonial civil service in Cape Verde and in the other colonies — particularly in Guinea. This sometimes led to resentment at and envy of the Cape Verdean community in the other Portuguese colonies. It is important to note, however, that in fact relatively few educated Cape Verdeans were able to take advantage of this privilege. The vast majority of the archipelago's population were too poor to send their children to the schools which they were entitled to attend. Child labour remained indispensable to most families. In any case, there were never enough schools, and those there were were unevenly distributed between the islands. In 1975 it was estimated that over 75 per cent of the population was illiterate 37.

Although after 1879 contacts between Cape Verde and Guinea became less frequent , the PAIGC sought to restore the historical ties which had existed between the two colonies. The Cape Verdean cultural renaissance which took place in the 1940s led to a rediscovery of the islands' African roots. Cabral and the other early PAIGC leaders who worked and lived in Guinea came to view themselves as Africans. The party which they created was specifically built around the policy of unity between Cape Verde and Guinea. Thus the question of the links between the two became, and has remained, of key importance for the nationalists. Much of the PAIGC's history can only be understood through reference to this issue.

1. Michel Frochot, L'empire colonial portugais. Organisation constitutionnelle, politique et administrative (Lisbon: Editions SPN, 1942); James Duffy, Portugal in Africa (Harmondsworth: Penguin African Library, 1962); David Abshire & Michael Samuels, Portuguese Africa. A Handbook (London: Pall Mall Press, 1969); Bruno da Ponte, The Last to Leave. Portuguese Colonialism in Africa (London: International Defence and Aid Fund, 1974).
2. Among Salazar's many statements on Portuguese colonialism, see Le Portugal et la campagne anti·colonialiste (Lisbon: Secretária nacional da informação, 1960); Declaração sóbre política ultramarina (Lisbon: Secretária nacional da informação, 1963); The Road for the Future (Lisbon: Secretária nacional da informação, 1963).
3. On the justification of Portuguese colonial rule, see Richard Pattee, Portugal na Africa contemporânea (Coimbra, 1959); João Themido, Portugal e o anti-colonialismo: aspectos politícos do problema (Lisbon: Junta de investigaes do ultramar, 1960); Adriano Moreira, A Policy of Integration (Lisbon: Agência geral do ultramar, 1961). Marcello Caetano, who succeeded Salazar, continued to uphold the same principles as his predecessor. See Portugal Belongs to Us All. We All Go To Make Portugal (Lisbon; Secretária de estado da informação e turismo, 27 September 1970).
4. Duffy, Portugal in Africa, p. 165 (source for table I : p. 10); Cabral, ‘Les lois portugaises de domination coloniale’, in Unité et lutte I (Paris; F. Maspero, 1975), p. 109.
5. See A. Teixeira da Mota, Guiné portuguesa I (Lisbon: Agência geral do ultramar, 1954); Basil Davidson, The Liberation of Guiné (Harmondsworth: Penguin African Library, 1969), pp. 46-9; Cabral, ‘Brève analyse de la structure sociale de la Guinée “portugaise”’, in Unité et lutte I (Paris: F. Maspero, 1975), pp. 139-49.
6. See Gérard Chaliand, Guinée ‘portugaise’ et Cap Vert en lutte pour leur indépendance (Paris: F. Maspero, 1964), pp. 17-26; Cabral, ‘Le peuple de la Guinée “portugaise” devant l'ONU’, part 1.
7. Sources: for 1950, da Mota, Guiné portuguesa I, p. 184; for 1960, Anuário estatístico, II. Provincias ultramarinas, 1969 (Lisbon: Instituto nacional de estatístico, 1971), p. 11 ; for 1979, Nô Pintcha, 23 June 1979.
8. Sources: for 1950, da Mota, Guiné portuguesa I, pp. 184-5; for 1970, Guinée et Cap Vert. Libération des colonies portugaises (Algiers: CONCP, 1970), p. 10. The unexplained drop for the Fulas in the PAIGC document could reflect the fact that the nationalists had little support in the Fula areas.
9. Da Mota, Guiné portuguesa I, p. 184; Guiné portuguesa II, p. 673.
10. Cabral, ‘Recenseamento agrícola da Guiné: estimativa em 1953’, Boletim cultural da Guiné portuguesa, 11, 43 (July 1956), pp. 7-243; ‘Le recensement agricole de la Guinée’, in Unité et lutte I, pp. 40-4.
11. Cabral, ‘L'agriculture de la Guinée, ses caractéristiques et ses problèmes fondamentaux’, Agros, 42, 4 (1959).
12. Cabral, ‘L'agriculture de la Guinee’, in Unité et lutte I , p. 62.
13. Details about the campaigns and quote in Davidson, Liberation of Guiné, p. 23.
14. Archibald Lyall , Black and White Make Brown. An A ccount of a Journey to the Cape Verde Islands and Portuguese Guinea (London: Heinemann, 1938) is a description of the two colonies in the early part of the twentieth century.
15. Da Mota, Guiné portuguesa II, pp. 61, 49-50.
16. Ibid., p. 62.
17. Cabral, ‘Les lois portugaises’, in Unité et lutte I, pp. 106-38; Frochot, L'empire colonial portugais; Statut politico-administratif de la province de Guinée (Lisbon, 22 November 1963) and ‘Loi organique des provinces d'outre-mer’ (Law 5/72) (Lisbon, June 1972).
18. Marchés tropicaux, 6 April 1973.
19. Statut politico-administratif (1972), article 19.
20. Da Mota, Guiné portuguesa II, pp. 109-10.
21. Figures quoted in Luiz de Sena & Marie Laure Lambert, L'éducation en République de Guinée-Bissau: situation et perspectives, 1977 (Paris: IRFED, 1977), p 103. In view of da Mota's 1950-51 figures, these official figures must be regarded with some scepticism.
22. Ibid. See later figures in Terceiro plano de fomento para 1968-1973, Guiné (Lisbon: Presidencia do conselho, 1968), p. 79.
23. Jean Claude Andreini & Marie Laure Lambert, La Guinée-Bissau d'Amílcar Cabral à la reconstruction nationale (Paris: Editions L'Harmattan, 1978), p. 132. Davidson writes: ‘By 1960 a total of eleven Africans from Guinea had acquired graduate status.’ Liberation of Guiné, p. 28.
24. Rudebeck, A Study of Political Mobilization, p. 36.
25. World Survey of Education; II. Primary Education (Paris: UNESCO, 1958), p. 885.
26. Rudebeck, A Study of Political Mobilization, p. 39.
27. Cabral, ‘L'agriculture de la Guinée, ses caractéristiques et ses problèmes fondamentaux’, in Unité et lutte I , p. 62.
28. Ibid., p. 65.
29. Andreini & Lambert, La Guinée-Bissau, p. 76.
30. Source: Terceiro Plano de fomento para 1968-1973, Guiné, p. 7.
31. Walter Rodney, A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, 1545- 1800 (Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 72.
32. Cabral, ‘On the situation of starvation in the Cape Verde Islands’ (Conakry, 14 April 1971), pp. 1-2; Antonio Carreira, Cabo Verde. Classes sociais, estructura familial, migrações (Lisbon: Ulmeiro, 1977), p. 10, reports 83,877 deaths due to starvation between 1903 and 1948.
33. Marchés tropicaux et méditerranéens, 2 December 1977.
34. René Pelissier, ‘Physical and social geography’, in Africa South of the Sahara 1978-1979 (London: Europa Publications, 1978), p. 240.
35. See, for example, Almerindo Lessa & Jacques Ruffié, Seroantropologia dos Ilhas de Cabo Verde (Lisbon: Junta de investigações do ultramar, n.d.).
36. Source: Terceiro Plano de fomento para 1968-1973, Cabo Verde, pp. 68 ff.
37. Colin Legum (ed.), Africa Contemporary Record, 1975-1976 (London: Rex Collings, 1976), p. B683.

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