Tag Archives: capeverde history

The Chemist: Roberto Duarte Silva

Roberto Duarte Silva 1837-1889

Roberto D. Silva 1837-1889

On the 56th day of 1837, which was Saturday February 25th,  a son was born to Francisco José Duarte and Mathilde da Rosa Silva and they named him Roberto Duarte Silva. By the age of fourteen Roberto started working as an apprentice at an apothecary, a few years after he migrates to the capital of Portugal where he begins working at Azevedo and Son’s Pharmacy [Farmácia Azevedo e Filhos] while attending the School of Pharmacy [Escola de Farmácia].

Roberto Duarte Silva later moves from Lisbon to the Portuguese Colony of Macau and later to the English Colony of Hong Kong in China, where he opened his own Pharmacy. I was unable to find any other information pertaining to the pharmacies that were opened by Roberto Duarte Silva in Hong Kong and Macau. By 1863, he was living in Paris, France, where he worked in several different Pharmacies and received his bachelors’ degree in Organic Chemistry. By 1867, while working in the laboratory of one of his professors and renowned French chemist Charles-Adolphe Wurtz, Roberto Duarte Silva published his first of many works. Roberto Duarte Silva also taught at École des Mines de Paris, Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, and École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrial de la Ville de Paris and one of his many pupils was the acclaimed french chemist Paul Charles Lepierre.

Roberto Duarte Silva’s face graces one of the bank notes

Roberto Duarte Silva later became the President of the Chemistry Society of Paris, also received the Jecker prize from the French Academy of Science and he would also be honored with the Legion of Honor [highest honor bestowed by the French Govt.] by the French Government for his many contributions to Science. He was also Commander of the Order of São Tiago of Portugal [Comendador da Ordem de São Tiago de Portugal].

sepultura_roberto_duarte_silva Tomb of Roberto Duarte Silva

While at his house located on Rue Thenard in Paris, France the renowned Cabo Verdean Chemist Roberto Duarte Silva passed away. The date was February 9th, 1889 a few days before his fifty-third birthday. Roberto Duarte Silva is buried at Petit Parnasse cemetery in Paris, France.



Faria, Luis António, Suzana Abreu, and Américo C. Araújo. Cabo Verde Terra de Morabeza: Uma Viagem Atraves de Sua Historia e Cultura. Valrico: LAF Enterprises, 2012.

A Semana http://asemana.publ.cv/spip.php?article73551&ak=1


Esquina do Tempo: Magazine Cultural Online – http://brito-semedo.blogs.sapo.cv/58374.html



Stamp Captain Ambrosio Lopes

The story of the Black Flag Rebellion had its inception on the last island to be permanently settled on the archipelago of Cape Verde due to it is very dry climate. The island is blessed with a great natural harbor, the bay of Porto Grande [big port]. In 1795 the first settlement was founded by settlers from the island of Fogo, they named their settlement Aldeia de Nossa Senhora da Luz; which is the current location of Pracinha da Igreja.

In 1819, Governor António Pusich resettled people from Santo Antão in order to help the village grow into a town. He also changed the name of the town to Vila Leopoldina, in honor of Maria Leopoldina the Queen of Portugal and Empress of Brazil also the Archduchess of Austria and wife of King Pedro IV.

In 1838 the name of the town was changed again to its current name of Mindelo. The Marquês of Sá da Bandeira conducted the change, in order to honor the Landing of Mindelo and the Braves of Mindelo [in Northern Portugal], who were led by Dom Pedro IV on his way to victory in the Portuguese Civil War.

Throughout the decades prior to the Black Flag Rebellion there had been multiple protests. One such protest took place in 1855 when the coal workers in Mindelo, Sao Vicente protest working and wage conditions established by the English businessmen operating the coaling station. The workers demands for better working conditions were rejected.[I]

There were two more protests prior to the “Black Flag Rebellion,” in 1910 Workers in the port of Sao Vicente strike for better working conditions and wages and in 1915 Fishermen in Sao Vicente stage a strike in protest against new taxes imposed on them.[II]

By the 1930s the world was enthralled in a severe economic crisis that lasted from 1929 to the middle of the 1940s and Cape Verde especially the Island of S. Vicente could not escape the effects of the Great Depression.

In 1932, Wilson Sons a coal company reduced its workweek to 4 ½ days a week and other companies were forced to layoff workers and these workers would spend days, weeks if not years without work.

On June 7th 1934, a multitude made up of men, women and children ran through the streets of Mindelo yelling and screaming hunger and misery while flying a black bed sheet as their flag. The multitude wanted to force the local authorities to solicit the Colonial Government to intervene and rescue the unemployed population.[III]

The protest had began near the door of an outspoken and well respected local carpenter named Abrósio Lopes “Nhô Ambrôze,” it is believed that Nhô Ambrôze was able to galvanize the multitude into believing that it was about time that they marched through the streets in order to bring their concerns to the authorities and so they marched from Ribeira Bote to Praça da Republica (Pracinha da Igreja) where the City Hall for the city of Mindelo was located.[IV]

According to local newspapers around 2pm some of the protesters made their way into the Alfândega [Customs] and looted some of the warehouses where a great number of food supplies were being stored.[V] The local military garrison was brought in to stop the protestors from looting the warehouses and bring peace and calm back to the city. There were lines of women, men and children carrying bags, cans and other objects taken from Alfândega.

Protesters evicted from Customs, began to assail the various warehouses of the major firms. At various points, the military opened fire, and there were two wounded, a man and a woman, and one dead, a 12 years old boy, who was wounded with a bayonet during an assault on warehouses that belonged to the firm Alfredo Miranda.[VI]

The demonstration and civic activism resulted in one dead, two injured, as discussed above, arrests and penalties for the most committed in the demonstration to be carried out on the islands of Boa Vista and Sal, and the deportation of Nho Ambrôze to Angola. For having sympathized with the people during the riots, the traders were assessed a 3% value tax on all goods that was traded on the markets of Sāo Vicente.[VII]

Although the results of Black Flag Rebellion were not what Nhô Ambrôze was looking for, these early protests and civic activism were to become the cornerstones of the most monumental civic activism of all the fight for Independence led by Amilcar Cabral and the other Cape Verdean Patriots.


By: Gerson Sérgio Monteiro

[I] “CHRONOLOGICAL REFERENCES: CABO VERDE/CAPE VERDEAN AMERICAN.” Chronology. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2014. <http://www1.umassd.edu/specialprograms/caboverde/cvchrono.html&gt;.

[II] “CHRONOLOGICAL REFERENCES: CABO VERDE/CAPE VERDEAN AMERICAN.” Chronology. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2014. <http://www1.umassd.edu/specialprograms/caboverde/cvchrono.html&gt;.

[III] Faria, Luis António, Suzana Abreu, and Américo C. Araújo. Cabo Verde Terra de Morabeza: Uma Viagem Atraves de Sua Historia e Cultura Valrico: LAF Enterprises, 2012. Pg.176.

[IV] “Esquina Do Tempo.” Revolta De Nhô Ambrôze –. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Feb. 2014. <http://brito-semedo.blogs.sapo.cv/14219.html&gt;.

[V] Lobban, Richard Andrew, and Marlene Lopes. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cape Verde. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow P, 1995.XXXVIII.

[VI] Faria, Luis António, Suzana Abreu, and Américo C. Araújo. Cabo Verde Terra de Morabeza: Uma Viagem Atraves de Sua Historia e Cultura Valrico: LAF Enterprises, 2012. Pg.176.

[VII] Faria, Luis António, Suzana Abreu, and Américo C. Araújo. Cabo Verde Terra de Morabeza: Uma Viagem Atraves de Sua Historia e Cultura Valrico: LAF Enterprises, 2012. Pg.176.

Fogo’s Rebellion of 1581

On August 4, 1578, while in a battle in Morocco, King Sebastian dies in battle without an heir. His death and lack of an heir will lead to a crisis for the Portuguese monarchy, the late king’s elderly granduncle Cardinal Henry is crowned King of Portugal.

On January 31, 1580 the elder King Henry I [Cardinal Henry] also die. At this time Portugal becomes worried about be able to maintain their independence and they begin a search for a king. In the end there would be two competitors for the throne of Portugal. One was Philip II of Spain, who on his mother’s side was the grandson of King Manuel I [King of Portugal from 1495 to 1521] and on that basis claims the Portuguese crown. The other was António, Prior of Crato, the illegitimate son of one of the younger sons of Manuel I.

Manuel would be crowned King of Portugal but this would last for only 33 days, until the invasion of Portugal by Spain in 1580 thus making King Philip II of Spain the new king of Portugal. He would be known as King Philip I of Portugal. Portugal became an autonomous state under the rule of the Spanish from 1580 to 1640.

But what does this have to do with Cape Verde one might ask. The answer is an interesting one, in 1581 began a short-lived revolt against Spanish rule of Portugal on the Island of Fogo. The residents of Fogo refused to accept Philip’s authority.

During Fogo’s rebellion against King Philip II of Spain as a Portuguese king in 1580s, one of the ringleaders was Garcia Alvares Baraça. Another leading rebel in 1582 was Baraça brother, Alvaro Gonçalves. Two of the five ringleaders were positively identified as New Christians [Cristãos Novos or Jews forced to convert to Christianity], and therefore the rebellion led by this group may have been related to Philip II/I’s known patronage of the Inquisition.

In 1654, the Island of Fogo receives its reward for being loyal to the Portuguese monarchy. After Portugal regained its throne from Spain in 1640, the village of São Filipe was given the administrative status of city and would be known as Cidade de São Filipe [City of São Filipe].

By Gerson Sergio Monteiro


ImageDuring the War of the Spanish Succession [1701-1714] which was fought between the European powers, including a divided Spain, over who had the right to succeed Charles II as the King of Spain. The Portuguese had sided with the English during the War of Spanish Succession and in retaliation the French sent a Navy fleet to Cape Verde to attack and sack the islands.[1]

During this conflict, a sea voyage was taken by French Navy Captain Jacques Cassard in 1712 this would be known as the Cassard Expedition. Departing from the port of Toulon [France] with a fleet of eight ships, 3,000 seamen and 1,200 soldiers. This is the fleet that on the 4th of May of 1712 he disembarked his soldiers at Praia Negra, Vila da Praia, Santiago [located in the bay of the city of Praia]. The French arrested the Captain-General and spread throughout the island of Santiago pillaging and burning the homes and the farms of the citizens of the villages and the city of Ribeira Grande [Cidade Velha][2].

The French soldiers arrested women and children and used them as hostages to keep the male residents from retaliating, while they continued burning and pillaging the city of Ribeira Grande and stole everything from slaves, gold, silver and also church chalices and even church bells. After sacking and pillaging Praia and Ribeira Grande, the French turned their attention to Santo Antão [1712][3]; with these successful attacks the French briefly wrangled control of Cape Verde from the Portuguese.

This attack by the French Corsair Jacques Cassard on Ribeira Grande led to the decline of the city and prompted the residents to move the capital to the Praia Plateau, which was easier to defend.

In 1798, the French return and attack the island of Brava in their unsuccessful effort to dislodge the Portuguese influence there and on the coast.[4]Image

[1] Stanhope, Philip Henry, C. Walker, J. Walker, Saint James, John Murray, A. Spottiswoode, and R. Spottiswoode. History of the War of the Succession in Spain. London: John Murray …, 1832. Pg.36. Print.

[2] Carreira, António. Cabo Verde, Formaçao E Extinçao De Uma Sociedade Escravocrata. S.l.: Centro De Estudos Da Guiné Portuguesa, 1972. Pg. 337-338. Print.

[3] Carreira, António. Cabo Verde, Formaçao E Extinçao De Uma Sociedade Escravocrata. S.l.: Centro De Estudos Da Guiné Portuguesa, 1972. Pg. 338 Print.

[4] Lobban, Richard Andrew, and Marlene Lopes. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cape Verde. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1995. Pg. XXX.  Print.