Before 1975, Cape Verde was an overseas province of Portugal, having a small Portuguese military garrison that included both Cape Verdean and European Portuguese soldiers.
At the same time, some Cape Verdeans were serving in the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Revolucionarias do Povo, FARP), the military wing of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde that was fighting for the joint independence of Guinea and Cape Verde in the Guinea-Bissau War of Independence. The FARP became the national armed forces of Guinea-Bissau, when its independence was recognized by Portugal in 1974.
The Armed Forces of Cape Verde were created when the country became independent in 1975, being also officially designated the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Revolucionarias do Povo, FARP). The Cape Verdean FARP consisted of two independent branches, the Army (Exército) and the Coast Guard (Guarda Costeira).
In the early 1990s, the designation «FARP» was dropped and the military of Cape Verde started to be designated the Cape Verdean Armed Forces (Forças Armadas Cabo Verdeanas, FACV).
In 2007, the FACV started a major reorganization that included the transformation of the Army into the National Guard (Guarda Nacional).
The Coast Guard (Guarda Costeira) is the branch of the Cape Verdean Armed Forces responsible for the defense and protection of the country's economical interests at the sea under national jurisdiction and for providing air and naval support to land and amphibious operations. It includes:
- Coast Guard Command
- Maritime Security Operations Center (COSMAR)
- Naval Squadron
- Air Squadron.
The Coast Guard is headed by an officer with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. The Naval and Air Squadrons incorporate, respectively, all the vessels and aircraft of the Cape Verdean Armed Forces.