The escudo is the official currency of the Republic of Cape Verde since 1914, when it replaced the Cape Verdean real. The Banco Nacional Ultramarino introduced the first notes in denominations of 4, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos, followed by the 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 escudos in 1921. In 1945, a new series was issued, omitting the 1 and 5 denominations, and introducing the 500 escudos note. The 1, 5 and 10 escudos notes were replaced by coin between 1945 and 1953. After the independence in 1975, notes were issued in denominations of 100, 500 and 1000 escudos, followed by 200 and 2500 in 1989. In 2014, the Banco de Cabo Verde introduced a new banknotes series in denominations of 200, 1000, and 2000 escudos, followed by 500 and 5000 escudos in 2015.
The 500 Cape Verdean escudos note front design features Jorge Vera-Cruz Barbosa (1902 – 1971), who was a Cape Verdean poet, writer and one of the founders of the literary journal Claridade (“Clarity”) in 1936. An open book with the lettering, 500 BCV, stylized lettering with the word “Claridade”, and a background with the writing of Jorge complete the design of this side of the note. The reverse note side illustrates Verses from Barbosa’s poem “Casebre”, a stylized design with characters representing the poem, the Poilão Dam in the municipality of Santa Cruz, located on the island of Santiago, where Jorge Barbosa was born, a stamp in the shape of a pen writing in an inkwell and the denomination. The lettering in the note is in the Portuguese language. This note is part of the 2014 series, and its color is green, red and purple.
Text: Banco De Cabo Verde, O Governador, O Administrador, Quinhentos Escudos, Jorge Barbosa, Claridade, Banco De Cabo Verde, A Lei Pune O Contrafactor, Quinhentos Escudos, 5 de Julho de 2014, Foi a estiagem, E o silêncio depois…Nem sinal de planta, nem restos de árvore, no cenário ressequido da planície, Foi a estiagem que passou, Tão silenciosa a tragédia das secas nestas ilhas! Nem gritos nem alarme — somente o jeito passivo de morrer! (Casebre de Jorge Barbosa), 500.