Community of Portuguese language countries

   The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Comunidade dos Paises de Língua Portuguesa, CPLP) was founded at a meeting of presidents and other leaders of the Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) countries at Belém, Portugal, 17 July 1996. That meeting, a constituent summit, brought together leaders of the seven countries whose official language is Portuguese: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea- Bissau, Cape Verdes, São Tomé, and Príncipe. Belém, this cultural summit's venue, held a symbolic, historical significance for the conferees since they met only a short distance from the historic Tower of Belém and from the embarkation point of Vasco da Gama's 1497-99 voyage, which pioneered an all-water route from Portugal to India.
   The Community of Portuguese Language Countries did not experience an easy birth. Despite earlier postponements, the July 1996 Summit was successful, but some key issues divided the membership. Several members, most notably, Brazil, showed scant interest in the project. Further, while the language question—the common use of Portuguese—was intended to be a unifying element, sometimes language issues were divisive. For example, West African CPLP member Guinea-Bissau has joined a Francophone (French-speaking) community in West Africa, and the use of Portuguese is giving way there to that of French. Also, a more important CPLP member, Mozambique, has effectively joined The Commonwealth, an Anglophone community, since its principal neighbors in southern Africa are Anglophone. Unlike the cited Francophone and Anglophone communities, however, the CPLP has an official center or headquarters (in Lisbon), as well as a budget and constituent bureaucratic organs.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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