Amílcar Lopes Cabral , (born September 12, 1924, Bafatá, Portuguese Guinea [now Guinea-Bissau]—died January 20, 1973, Conakry, Guinea), agronomist, nationalist leader, and founder and secretary-general of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde; PAIGC), who helped lead Guinea-Bissau to independence. He was a leading African thinker of the 20th century.
After receiving his early education in Cape Verde, Cabral pursued university studies in Lisbon, where he helped to found the Centro de Estudos Africanos, an association of Lusophone African students that included future Angolan president Agostinho Neto. While in Lisbon, Cabral and some of his fellow African students developed political theories regarding colonialism and liberation. After graduating in 1950, Cabral was employed by the Portuguese colonial authorities as an agronomist. In the early 1950s he traveled widely in Portuguese Guinea in order to conduct a survey of the land and its resources, which provided him with the opportunity to interact with people from various cultures who lived in the colony. During that time Cabral also continued to contemplate national liberation for colonies in Africa. In September 1956 he and five associates—including a brother, Luís, and Aristides Pereira—formed the PAIGC, and in December of that year he cofounded a liberation movement in Angola with Neto.
Cabral rapidly emerged as the leader of the PAIGC. The group organized early political resistance to colonial power in the form of workers’ strikes—calling for better wages and improved conditions. However, the Pidjiguiti Massacre in August 1959, when the Portuguese fired on demonstrators during a dockworkers’ strike, demonstrated to the PAIGC that a different approach was needed. Resistance activity was subsequently shifted to the countryside and was altered to make use of guerrilla-style tactics.
Beginning in 1963, Cabral took his party into an open war for the independence of Portuguese