Author Marcel Gomes Balla has written an extraordinary book on the history, culture and people of Cabo Verde, a country consisting of 10 islands in the central Atlantic Ocean located off the coast of West Africa. The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context provides information that has long been ignored by traditional historians. In a Q&A with MANA, Mr. Balla gives us background information on his book.
Q. How long did it take for you to do research on the subject of Cabo Verde?
A. 3 years.
Q. What prompted you to write this book?
A. I decided to write this book because as a Cape Verdean American, I found it impossible to learn about this history in school, therefore it was virtually impossible to find my true identity as a human being. I received a Euro-centric education and had no idea about the contributions of Cape Verdeans or others to the development of American society. This problem has plagued Cape Verdeans throughout history and has caused a lot of insecurity because Cape Verdeans are unable to properly identify themselves. A major problem was the fact that Cape Verdeans evolved as a new ethnic and culture group that did not exist before 1460 and now there is a strong need to properly identify ourselves so that we can maintain our historical uniqueness and bring dignity to our worldwide community.
Q. Why is Cabo Verde also called Cape Verde?
A. Cabo Verde was discovered in 1460 by Portugal and thus, it has a Portuguese name given by the Portuguese. Cape Verde is the English translation; however, the government of Cabo Verde has recently requested all nations to respect the name as being Cabo Verde because the English spelling has created a lot of confusion. On 24 October 2013, it was announced at the United Nations that the official name should no longer be translated into other languages. Instead of "Cape Verde," the designation "Republic of Cabo Verde" is to be used (or simply Cabo Verde).* In a diplomatic note sent on November 27, 2013, the Embassy of Cape Verde requested that the United States Government change the name of the country from "Cape Verde" to "Cabo Verde." The U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved the change on December 9, 2013. *Ref: http://www.state.gov/p/af/ci/cv/
Q. Is this your first book?
A. No. I have completed about a dozen books about Cabo Verde and they will be promoted once a good marketing plan is ready.
Q. Are you working on another book? If so, what is it about?
A. Yes. It is a book about Columbus that I believe is the most detailed book ever written about him in Portugal and Cabo Verde before he departs Portugal for Spain with his discovery project. Based on my analysis of historical documents and events, I am convinced that Cape Verdeans could have sailed on the discovery voyage of 1492 and strongly believe that at least one Cape Verdean made that voyage. The book is about 400 pages and will have many documents and references to explain the history of Columbus in Cabo Verde and Africa that should be essential to anyone who truly wants to learn the truth about Columbus before he discovered the New World. I believe that this phase of history is the most important as regards to the Discovery Age, but it is has been extremely difficult to research this history. I have had to travel to several countries and consult with several key historians in order to develop my conclusions.
Q. What do you want readers to learn after reading your book, The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context?
A. I want people to fully understand the role that Cabo Verde played in the discovery and subsequent development of America and the Western Hemisphere, especially the contributions that made a major impact on the emergence of the United States as the most powerful nation on earth. It is essential to understand that the Americas were developed by a multi-ethnic society that developed a new culture and civilization that is linked directly to Cabo Verde. This story must be told if we expect to bring dignity and respect to millions of Americans who have become marginalized due to lack of information about their past contributions to American society. One of the key issues is the direct connection between Hispanics and Afro-Americans that definitely represents the missing pages of history for both groups. However, this story also represents the missing pages of history for the Portuguese, the Italians and virtually all Americans including Native Americans and anyone who arrived after 1492 in the Americas.
For more information about The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context, click HERE.