Colonial Monuments, Portuguese Commemorations and the Writing of the History of the Colony of Cabo Verde

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This article analyzes the relation between commemorations, colonial monuments and the writing of the history of the colony’s ‘discovery’. Taking as case study the public commemorations and the monuments erected in the colony of Cabo Verde to memorialize the Portuguese ‘discoverers’ of the 15th century, the article scrutinizes how those mnemonic schemes acted in the construction of the public memory of the ‘discovery’ of Cabo Verde islands. On the one hand, it analyzes the management of those schemes in the fixation of the narrative established as official history of ‘discovery’, in a context featured by controversies, uncertainties, omissions and historical lack about that very ‘discovery’. On the other, it critically examines the contradictions, the concoction of facts and the distortions created by the promoters of the commemorations and monuments, as well as the role they played in that process. The article demonstrates how, through the commemorations held and the monuments erected, the promoters of colonial memory distorted the protocols of interpretation of the information on the ‘discovery’ of Cabo Verde present in the Portuguese official documents and how they shaped the public understanding of that fact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalContemporary European History
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Colonial monuments
  • Portuguese colonial commemorations
  • Cabo Verde ‘discovery’
  • Colonial memory
  • Colonialism
  • Writing history
  • Invention of facts
  • Imperialism in Africa
  • Imperial memory


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