Portuguese Angola

Portuguese Angola refers to Angola during the historic period when it was a territory under Portuguese rule in southwestern Africa. In the same context, it is also occasionally referred to as Portuguese West Africa.

Initially ruling along the coast and engaging in military conflicts with the Kingdom of Kongo, in the 18th century Portugal gradually managed to colonise the interior Highlands. However, full control of the entire territory was not achieved until the beginning of the 20th century, when agreements with other European powers during the Scramble for Africa fixed the colony's interior borders. In 1975, Portuguese Angola became the independent People's Republic of Angola.

Province of Angola
State of Angola

Província de Angola
Estado de Angola
Anthem: "Hymno Patriótico" (1808–26)
Patriotic Anthem

"Hino da Carta" (1826–1911)
Hymn of the Charter

"A Portuguesa" (1911–75)
The Portuguese
Portuguese West Africa in 1905–1975 (with modern national borders)
Portuguese West Africa in 1905–1975 (with modern national borders)
StatusColony; Overseas province;
State of the Portuguese Empire
Common languagesPortuguese
Head of state 
• 1575–78
King Sebastian I of Portugal
• 1974–75
President Francisco da Costa Gomes
• 1837–39
Manuel Bernardo Vidal (first)
• 1975
Leonel Alexandre Gomes Cardoso (last)
• 1589–91
Luís Serrão (first)
• 1836–
Domingos de Saldanha Oliveira e Daun (last)
Historical eraImperialism
• Establishment of a coastal settlement
• Fall of the Portuguese Empire
November 11 1975
19701,246,700 km2 (481,400 sq mi)
• 1970
CurrencyAngolan escudo (in the 20th century)
ISO 3166 codeAO
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Kongo
Kingdom of Ndongo
Lunda Empire
People's Republic of Angola
Today part of Angola


The history of Portuguese presence on the territory of contemporary Angola lasted from the arrival of the explorer Diogo Cão in 1484[1] until the decolonization of the territory in November 1975. During these five centuries, several entirely different situations have to be distinguished.


Queen Nzinga 1657
Queen Nzinga in peace negotiations with the Portuguese governor in Luanda, 1657.

When Diogo Cão and other explorers reached the Kongo Kingdom at the end of the 15th century, Angola as such did not exist. Its present territory comprised a number of separate peoples, some organized as kingdoms or tribal federations of varying sizes. The Portuguese were interested in trade, principally in slaves. They therefore maintained a peaceful and mutually profitable relationship with the rulers and nobles of the Kongo Kingdom, whom they Christianised and taught Portuguese, allowing them a share of the benefits from the slave trade. They established small trading posts on the lower Congo, in the area of the present Democratic Republic. A more important trading settlement on the Atlantic coast was erected at Soyo in the territory of the Kongo Kingdom. It is now Angola's northernmost town, apart from the Cabinda exclave.

In 1575, the settlement of Luanda was established on the coast south of the Kongo Kingdom, and in the 17th century the settlement of Benguela, even farther to the south. From 1580 to the 1820s, well over a million people from present-day Angola were exported as slaves to the so-called New World, mainly to Brazil, but also to North America.[2] According to Oliver and Atmore, "for 200 years, the colony of Angola developed essentially as a gigantic slave-trading enterprise".[3] Kingdom of Portugal sailors, explorers, soldiers and merchants had a long-standing policy of conquest and establishment of military and trading outposts in Africa with the conquest of Muslim-ruled Ceuta in 1415 and the establishment of bases in present-day Morocco and the Gulf of Guinea. The Portuguese had Catholic beliefs and their military expeditions included from the very beginning the conversion of foreign peoples.

In the 17th century, conflicting economic interests led to a military confrontation with the Kongo Kingdom. Portugal defeated the Kongo Kingdom in the Battle of Mbwila on October 29, 1665, but suffered a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Kitombo when they tried to invade Kongo in 1670. Control of most of the central highlands was achieved in the 18th century. Further reaching attempts at conquering the interior were undertaken in the 19th century [4] However, full Portuguese administrative control of the entire territory was not achieved until the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1884, the United Kingdom, which up to that time refused to acknowledge that Portugal possessed territorial rights north of Ambriz, concluded a treaty recognising Portuguese sovereignty over both banks of the lower Congo. However, the treaty, meeting with opposition there and in Germany, was not ratified. Agreements concluded with the Congo Free State, the German Empire and France in 1885–1886 fixed the limits of the province, except in the south-east, where the frontier between Barotseland (north-west Rhodesia) and Angola was determined by an Anglo-Portuguese agreement of 1891 and the arbitration award of King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy in 1905.[1]

During the period of Portuguese colonial rule of Angola, cities, towns and trading posts were founded, railways were opened, ports were built, and a Westernised society was being gradually developed, despite the deep traditional tribal heritage in Angola which the minority European rulers were neither willing nor interested in eradicating. Since the 1920s, Portugal's administration showed an increasing interest in developing Angola's economy and social infrastructure.[5]

The beginning of the war

In 1951, the Portuguese Colony of Angola became an overseas province of Portugal. In the late 1950s the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) began to organize strategies and action plans to fight Portuguese rule and the remunerated system which affected many of the native African people from the countryside, who were relocated from their homes and made to perform compulsory work, almost always unskilled hard labour, in an environment of economic boom.[6] organised guerrilla warfare began in 1961, the same year that a law was passed to improve the working conditions of the largely unskilled native workforce, which was demanding more rights. In 1961, the Portuguese Government indeed abolished a number of basic legal provisions which discriminated against black people, like the Estatuto do Indigenato (Decree-Law 43: 893 of September 6, 1961). However, the conflict, conversely known as the Colonial War or the War of Liberation, erupted in the North of the territory when UPA rebels based in Republic of the Congo massacred both white and black civilians in surprise attacks in the countryside. After visiting the United Nations, rebel leader Holden Roberto returned to Kinshasa and organised Bakongo militants.[7]

Portuguese soldiers in Angola

Holden Roberto launched an incursion into Angola on March 15, 1961, leading 4,000 to 5,000 militants. His forces took farms, government outposts, and trading centres, killing everyone they encountered. At least 1,000 whites and an unknown number of blacks were killed.[8] Commenting on the incursion, Roberto said, "this time the slaves did not cower". They massacred everything.[9] The effective military in Angola were composed of approximately 6,500 men: 5,000 black Africans and 1,500 white Europeans sent from Portugal. After these events the Portuguese Government, under the dictatorial Estado Novo regime of António de Oliveira Salazar and later Marcelo Caetano, sent thousands of troops from Europe to perform counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. In 1963 Holden Roberto established the Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile (Portuguese: Governo revolucionário de Angola no exílio, GRAE) in Kinshasa in an attempt to claim on the international scene the sole representation of forces fighting Portuguese rule in Angola. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) also started pro-independence guerrilla operations in 1966. Despite the overall military superiority of the Portuguese Army in the Angolan theatre, the independence guerrilla movements were never fully defeated. However, by 1972, after the Frente Leste, a successful military campaign in the East of Angola, complemented by a pragmatic hearts and minds policy, the military conflict in Angola was effectively won for the Portuguese.

From 1966 to 1970, the pro-independence guerrilla movement MPLA expanded their previously-limited insurgency operations to the East of Angola. This vast countryside area was far away from the main urban centres and close to foreign countries where the guerrillas were able to take shelter. The UNITA, a smaller pro-independence guerrilla organisation established in the East, supported the MPLA. Until 1970, the combined guerrilla forces of MPLA and UNITA in the East Front were successful in pressuring Portuguese Armed Forces (FAP) in the area to the point that the guerrillas were able to cross the Cuanza River and could threaten the territory of Bié, which included an important urban centre in the agricultural, commercial and industrial town of Silva Porto. In 1970, the guerrilla movement decided to reinforce the Eastern Front by relocating troops and armament from the North to the East.

Campaign in the Eastern Front

In 1971, the FAP started a successful counter-insurgency military campaign that expelled the three guerrilla movements operating in the East to beyond the frontiers of Angola. The last guerrillas lost hundreds of soldiers and left tons of equipment behind, disbanding chaotically to neighbouring countries or, in some cases, joining or surrendering to the Portuguese. In order to gain the confidence of the local rural populations, and to create conditions for their permanent and productive settlement in the region, the Portuguese authorities organised massive vaccination campaigns, medical check-ups, and water, sanitation and alimentary infrastructure as a way to better contribute to the economic and social development of the people and dissociate the population from the guerrillas and their influence. On 31 December 1972, the Development Plan of the East (Plano de Desenvolvimento do Leste) included in its first stage, 466 development enterprises (150 were completed and 316 were being built). Nineteen health centres had been built and 26 were being constructed. 51 new schools were operating and 82 were being constructed[10][11]

Portuguese Colonial War

However, the Portuguese authorities were unable to defeat the guerrillas as a whole during the Portuguese Colonial War, particularly in Portuguese Guinea, and suffered heavy casualties in the 13 years of conflict. Throughout the war Portugal faced increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions from most of the international community. The war was becoming even more unpopular in Portuguese society due to its length and costs, the worsening of diplomatic relations with other United Nations members, and the role it played as a factor in the perpetuation of the Estado Novo regime. It was this escalation that would lead directly to the mutiny of members of the FAP in the Carnation Revolution of April 1974 – an event that would lead to the independence of all of the former Portuguese colonies in Africa.

Federated state

In June 1972, the Portuguese National Assembly approved a new version of its Organic Law on Overseas Territories, in order to grant its African overseas territories a wider political autonomy and to tone down the increasing dissent both internally and abroad. It changed Angola's status from an overseas province to an “autonomous state” with authority over some internal affairs, while Portugal was to retain responsibility for defense and foreign relations. However, the intent was by no means to grant Angolan independence, but was instead to "win the hearts and minds" of the Angolans, convincing them to remain permanently a part of an intercontinental Portugal. Renaming Angola (like Mozambique) in 1972 "Estado" (state) was part of an apparent effort to give the Portuguese Empire a sort of federal structure, conferring some degree of autonomy to the "states". In fact, the structural changes and increase in autonomy were extremely limited. The government of the "State of Angola" was the same as the old provincial government, except for some cosmetic changes to personnel and titles. As in Portugal itself, the government of the "State of Angola" was entirely composed of people aligned with the Estado Novo regime's establishment. While these changes were taking place, a few guerrilla nuclei stayed active inside the territory, and continued to campaign outside of Angola against Portuguese rule. The idea of having the independence movements take part in the political structure of the revamped territory's organization was absolutely unthinkable (on both sides).[12]

Carnation Revolution and independence

On April 25, 1974, the Portuguese Government of the Estado Novo regime under Marcelo Caetano, the corporatist and authoritarian regime established by António de Oliveira Salazar that had ruled Portugal since the 1930s, was overthrown in the Carnation Revolution, a military uprising in Lisbon. In May of that year, the Junta de Salvação Nacional (the new revolutionary government of Portugal) proclaimed a truce with the pro-independence African guerrillas in an effort to promote peace talks and independence.[13] The military-led coup returned democracy to Portugal, ending the unpopular Colonial War where hundreds of thousands of Portuguese soldiers had been conscripted into military service, and replacing the authoritarian Estado Novo (New State) regime and its secret police which repressed elemental civil liberties and political freedoms. It started as a professional class[14] protest of Portuguese Armed Forces captains against the 1973 decree law Dec. Lei n.o 353/73.[15][16]

These events prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens, overwhelmingly white but some mestiço (mixed race) or black, from Portugal's African territories, creating hundreds of thousands destitute refugees — the retornados.[17] Angola became a sovereign state on 11 November 1975 in accordance with the Alvor Agreement and the newly independent country was proclaimed the People's Republic of Angola.


Flag of Portuguese West Africa (proposal)
Proposed flag for Portuguese Angola.

In the 20th century, Portuguese Angola was subject to the Estado Novo regime. In 1951, the Portuguese authorities changed the statute of the territory from a colony to an overseas province of Portugal. Legally, the territory was as much a part of Portugal as Lisbon but as an overseas province enjoyed special derogations to account for its distance from Europe. Most members of the government of Angola were from Portugal, but a few were Africans. Nearly all members of the bureaucracy were from Portugal, as most Africans did not have the necessary qualifications to obtain positions.

The government of Angola, as it was in Portugal, was highly centralised. Power was concentrated in the executive branch, and all elections where they occurred were carried out using indirect methods. From the Prime Minister's office in Lisbon, authority extended down to the most remote posts of Angola through a rigid chain of command. The authority of the government of Angola was residual, primarily limited to implementing policies already decided in Europe. In 1967, Angola also sent a number of delegates to the National Assembly in Lisbon.

The highest official in the province was the governor-general, appointed by the Portuguese cabinet on recommendation of the Overseas Minister. The governor-general had both executive and legislative authority. A Government Council advised the governor-general in the running of the province. The functional cabinet consisted of five secretaries appointed by the Overseas Minister on the advice of the governor. A Legislative Council had limited powers and its main activity was approving the provincial budget. Finally, an Economic and Social Council had to be consulted on all draft legislation, and the governor-general had to justify his decision to Lisbon if he ignored its advice.

In 1972, the Portuguese National Assembly changed Angola's status from an overseas province to an “autonomous state” with authority over some internal affairs; Portugal was to retain responsibility for defense and foreign relations. Elections were held in Angola for a legislative assembly in 1973.[13]


Portuguese Angola was a territory covering 1,246,700 km², an area greater than France and Spain put together. It had 5,198 km of terrestrial borders and a coastline with 1,600 km. Its geography was diverse. From the coastal plain, ranging in width from 25 kilometres in the south to 100-200 kilometers in the north, the land rises in stages towards the high inland plateau covering almost two-thirds of the country, with an average altitude of between 1,200 and 1,600 metres. Angola's two highest peaks were located in these central highlands. They were Moco Mountain (2,620 m) and Meco Mountain (2,538 m).

Kwanza River
Kwanza River

Most of Angola's rivers rose in the central mountains. Of the many rivers that drain to the Atlantic Ocean, the Cuanza and Cunene were the most important. Other major streams included the Kwango River, which drains north to the Congo River system, and the Kwando and Cubango Rivers, both of which drain generally southeast to the Okavango Delta. As the land drops from the plateau, many rapids and waterfalls plunge downward in the rivers. Portuguese Angola had no sizable lakes, besides those formed by dams and reservoirs built by the Portuguese administration.

The Portuguese authorities established several national parks and natural reserves across the territory: Bicauri, Cameia, Cangandala, Iona, Mupa, Namibe and Quiçama. Iona was Angola's oldest and largest national park, it was proclaimed as a reserve in 1937 and upgraded to a national park in 1964.

Angola was indeed a territory that underwent a great deal of progress after 1950. The Portuguese government built dams, roads, schools, etc. There was also an economic boom that led to a huge increase of the European population. The white population increased from 44,083 in 1940 to 172,529 in 1960. With around 1,000 immigrants arriving each month. On the eve of the end of the colonial period, the ethnic European residents numbered 400,000 (1974) (excluding enlisted and commissioned soldiers from the mainland) and the mixed race population was at around 100,000 (many were Cape Verdian migrants working in the territory). The total population was around 5.9 million at that time.

Luanda grew from a town of 61,208 with 14.6% of those inhabitants being white in 1940, to a major cosmopolitan city of 475,328 in 1970 with 124,814 Europeans (26.3%) and around 50,000 mixed race inhabitants. Most of the other large cities in Angola had around the same ratio of Europeans at the time, with the exception of Sá da Bandeira (Lubango), Moçâmedes (Namibe) and Porto Alexandre (Tombua) in the south where the white population was more established. All of these cities had European majorities from 50% to 60%.

The capital of the territory was Luanda,[18][19] officially called São Paulo de Luanda. Other cities and towns were:

Angola Topography
Topographic map of Angola.

The exclave of Cabinda was to the north.[27] Portuguese Congo (Cabinda) was established a Portuguese protectorate by the 1885 Treaty of Simulambuco. Sometime during the 1920s, it became incorporated into the larger colony (later the overseas province) of Portuguese Angola. The two colonies had initially been contiguous, but later became geographically separated by a narrow corridor of land, which Portugal ceded to Belgium allowing Belgian Congo access to the Atlantic Ocean. Following the decolonisation of Portuguese Angola with the 1975 Alvor Agreement, the short-lived Republic of Cabinda unilaterally declared its independence. However, Cabinda was soon overpowered and re-annexed by the newly proclaimed People's Republic of Angola and never achieved international recognition.


Portuguese explorers and settlers had founded trading posts and forts along the coast of Africa since the 15th century, and reached the Angolan coast in the 16th century. Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais founded Luanda in 1575 as "São Paulo de Loanda", and the region developed as a slave trade market with the help of local Imbangala and Mbundu peoples who were notable slave hunters. Trade was mostly with the Portuguese colony of Brazil in the New World. Brazilian ships were the most numerous in the ports of Luanda and Benguela. By this time, Angola, a Portuguese colony, was in fact more like a colony of Brazil, another Portuguese colony. A strong Brazilian influence was also exercised by the Jesuits in religion and education.[28]

Acervo Museu do Senado (20187225478)
Mercado de Luanda, Sérgio Telles, 1975

The philosophy of war gradually gave way to the philosophy of trade. The great trade routes and the agreements that made them possible were the driving force for activities between the different areas; warlike states become states ready to produce and to sell.[28] In the Planalto, or high plains, the most important states were those of Bié and Bailundo, the latter being noted for its production of foodstuffs and rubber. The colonial power, Portugal, becoming ever richer and more powerful, would not tolerate the growth of these neighbouring states and subjugated them one by one, enabling Portuguese hegemony over much of the area. During the period of the Iberian Union (1580-1640), Portugal lost influence and power and made new enemies. The Dutch, a major enemy of Castile, invaded many Portuguese overseas possessions, including Luanda. The Dutch ruled Luanda from 1640 to 1648 as Fort Aardenburgh. They were seeking black slaves for use in sugarcane plantations of Northeastern Brazil (Pernambuco, Olinda and Recife), which they had also seized from Portugal. John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen, conquered the Portuguese possessions of Saint George del Mina, Saint Thomas, and Luanda on the west coast of Africa. After the dissolution of the Iberian Union in 1640, Portugal reestablished its authority over the lost territories of the Portuguese Empire.[28]

Pineapple Vendors Huambo Quibala
Pineapple vendors

The Portuguese started to develop townships, trading posts, logging camps, and small processing factories. From 1764 onwards, there was a gradual change from a slave-based society to one based on production for domestic consumption and export. Brazil became independent in 1822 and the slave trade was abolished in 1836. In 1844, Angola's ports were opened to legal foreign shipping. By 1850, Luanda was one of the most developed cities outside Europe in the Portuguese Empire: it was full of trading companies, exporting (together with Benguela) palm and peanut oil, wax, copal, timber, ivory, cotton, coffee, and cocoa, among many other products. Maize, tobacco, dried meat and cassava flour also began to be produced locally. The Angolan bourgeoisie was born.[28] From the 1920s to the 1960s, strong economic growth, abundant natural resources and development of infrastructure, led to the arrival of even more Portuguese settlers from the metropole.[28]

Diamond mining began in 1912, when the first gems were discovered by Portuguese prospectors in a stream of the Lunda region, in the northeast. In 1917 the Companhia de Diamantes de Angola (Diamang) was granted the concession for diamond mining and prospecting in Portuguese Angola. Diamang had exclusive mining and labor procurement rights in a huge concession in Angola and used this monopoly to become the colony's largest commercial operator and also its leading revenue generator. Its wealth was generated by African laborers, many of whom were forcibly recruited to work on the mines with Lunda's aggressive state-company recruitment methods (See also chivalo/shibalo).[29] Work was done with shovels into the 1970s, and as late as 1947, the company saw no benefit to mechanizing its operations, because local labour was so inexpensive.[29] Even the voluntary contract workers, or contratados, were exploited and had to build their own housing and often cheated of their wages. However Diamang, which was exempt from taxes, grew affluent in the 1930s and also realized that in a remote area like Lunda, the supply of workers was not inexhaustible and so the workers there were somewhat better treated than on some of the other mines or on the sugar plantations.

On the whole African laborers performed brutal work in poor conditions for very little pay, and they were frequently cheated of that. The American sociologist Edward Ross visited rural Angola in 1924 on behalf of the Temporary Slavery Commission of the League of Nations and wrote a scathing report describing the labor system as "virtually state serfdom", that did not allow Africans time to produce their food. In addition, when their wages were embezzled, they had no access to the colonial judicial system.[30]

From the mid-1950s until 1974, iron ore was mined in Malanje, Bié, Huambo, and Huíla provinces, and production reached an average of 5.7 million tons per year between 1970 and 1974. Most of the iron ore was shipped to Japan, West Germany, and the United Kingdom, and earned almost US$50 million a year in export revenue. During 1966-67 a major iron ore terminal was built by the Portuguese at Saco, the bay just 12 km North of Moçâmedes (Namibe). The client was the Compania Mineira do Lobito, the Lobito Mining Company, which developed an iron ore mine inland at Cassinga. The construction of the mine installations and a 300 km railway were commissioned to Krupp of Germany and the modern harbour terminal to SETH, a Portuguese company owned by Højgaard & Schultz of Denmark. The small fishing town of Moçâmedes hosted construction workers, foreign engineers and their families for two years. The Ore Terminal was completed on time within one year and the first 250,000 ton ore carrier docked and loaded with ore in 1967.[25][31] The Portuguese discovered petroleum in Angola in 1955. Production began in the Cuanza basin in the 1950s, in the Congo basin in the 1960s, and in the exclave of Cabinda in 1968. The Portuguese government granted operating rights for Block Zero to the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, a subsidiary of ChevronTexaco, in 1955. Oil production surpassed the exportation of coffee as Angola's largest export in 1973.

Olive trees in Namibe provincve, Angola
Olive trees in Namibe province, Angola

By the early 1970s, a variety of crops and livestock were produced in Portuguese Angola. In the north, cassava, coffee, and cotton were grown; in the central highlands, maize was cultivated; and in the south, where rainfall is lowest, cattle herding was prevalent. In addition, there were large plantations run by Portuguese that produced palm oil, sugarcane, bananas, and sisal. These crops were grown by commercial farmers, primarily Portuguese, and by peasant farmers, who sold some of their surplus to local Portuguese traders in exchange for supplies. The commercial farmers were dominant in marketing these crops, however, and enjoyed substantial support from the overseas province's Portuguese government in the form of technical assistance, irrigation facilities, and financial credit. They produced the great majority of the crops that were marketed in Angola's urban centres or exported for several countries.[32]

Fishing in Portuguese Angola was a major and growing industry. In the early 1970s, there were about 700 fishing boats, and the annual catch was more than 300,000 tons. Including the catch of foreign fishing fleets in Angolan waters, the combined annual catch was estimated at over 1 million tons. The Portuguese territory of Angola was a net exporter of fish products, and the ports of Moçâmedes, Luanda and Benguela were among the most important fishing harbours in the region.


Non-urban black African access to educational opportunities was very limited for most of the colonial period, most were not even able to speak Portuguese and did not have knowledge of Portuguese culture and history.[33] Until the 1950s, educational facilities run by the Portuguese colonial government were largely restricted to the urban areas.[33] Responsibility for educating rural Africans were commissioned by the authorities to several Roman Catholic and Protestant missions based across the vast countryside, which taught black Africans in Portuguese language and culture.[33] As a consequence, each of the missions established its own school system, although all were subject to ultimate control and support by the Portuguese.[33]

In mainland Portugal, the homeland of the colonial authorities who ruled in the territory from the 16th century until 1975, by the end of the 19th century the illiteracy rates were at over 80 percent and higher education was reserved for a small percentage of the population. 68.1 percent of mainland Portugal's population was still classified as illiterate by the 1930 census. Mainland Portugal's literacy rate by the 1940s and early 1950s was low by North American and Western European standards at the time. Only in the 1960s did the country make public education available for all children between the ages of six and twelve, and the overseas territories profited from this new educational developments and change in policy at Lisbon.

Starting in the early 1950s, the access to basic, secondary and technical education was expanded and its availability was being increasingly opened to both the African indigenes and the ethnic Portuguese of the territories. Education beyond the primary level became available to an increasing number of black Africans since the 1950s, and the proportion of the age group that went on to secondary school in the early 1970s was an all-time record high enrolment.[33] Primary school attendance was also growing substantially.[33] In general, the quality of teaching at the primary level was acceptable, even with instruction carried on largely by black Africans who sometimes had substandard qualifications.[33] Most secondary school teachers were ethnically Portuguese, especially in the urban centers.[33]

Two state-run university institutions were founded in Portuguese Africa in 1962 by the Portuguese Ministry of the Overseas Provinces headed by Adriano Moreira - the Estudos Gerais Universitários de Angola in Portuguese Angola and the Estudos Gerais Universitários de Moçambique in Portuguese Mozambique - awarding a wide range of degrees from engineering to medicine.[34] In the 1960s, the Portuguese mainland had four public universities, two of them in Lisbon (which compares with the 14 Portuguese public universities today). In 1968, the Estudos Gerais Universitários de Angola was renamed Universidade de Luanda (University of Luanda).


218 Les arènes de Saint-Paul-de-Loanda
Bullfighting in Luanda, 1899

From the 1940s onward, city and town expansion and modernization included the construction of several sports facilities for football, rink hockey, basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics, gymnastics and swimming. Several sports clubs were founded across the entire territory, among them were some of the largest and oldest sports organizations of Angola. Several sportsmen, especially football players, that achieved wide notability in Portuguese sports were from Angola. José Águas, Rui Jordão and Jacinto João were examples of that, and excelled in the Portugal national football team. Since the 1960s, with the latest developments on commercial aviation, the highest ranked football teams of Angola and the other African overseas provinces of Portugal, started to compete in the Taça de Portugal (the Portuguese Cup). Other facilities and organizations for swimming, nautical sports, tennis and wild hunting became widespread. Beginning in the 1950s, motorsport was introduced to Angola. Sport races were organized in cities like Nova Lisboa, Benguela, Sá da Bandeira and Moçâmedes. The International Nova Lisboa 6 Hours sports car race became noted internationally.[35]

Famous people

José Águas
José Águas was born in Luanda in 1930

See also


  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ Joseph C. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988
  3. ^ Medieval Africa, 1250-1800 (pp174) By Roland Anthony Oliver, Anthony Atmore
  4. ^ René Pélissier, Les guerres grises. Résistance et revoltes en Angola (1845-1941), Montamets/Orgeval: self-published, 1977
  5. ^ More Power to the People, 2006.
  6. ^ [1], British Broadcasting Company, January 2008.BBC News
  7. ^ Tvedten, Inge (1997). Angola: Struggle for Peace and Reconstruction. p. 31.
  8. ^ Edgerton, Robert Breckenridge (2002). Africa's Armies: From Honor to Infamy. p. 72.
  9. ^ Walker, John Frederick (2004). A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Giant Sable Antelope of Angola. p. 143.
  10. ^ (in Portuguese) António Pires Nunes, Angola Vitória Militar no Leste
  11. ^ António Pires Nunes, Angola, 1966-74: vitória militar no leste, ISBN 9728563787, 9789728563783, Publisher: Prefácio, 2002
  12. ^ John A. Marcum, The Angolan Revolution, vol. II, Exile Politics and Guerrilla Warfare (1962-1976), Cambridge/Mass. & London, MIT Press, 1978
  13. ^ a b Angola, History, The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press
  14. ^ (in Portuguese) Cronologia: Movimento dos capitães, Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  15. ^ (in Portuguese) Arquivo Electrónico: Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  16. ^ (in Portuguese) A Guerra Colonial na Guine/Bissau (07 de 07), Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho on the Decree Law, RTP 2 television, youtube.com.
  17. ^ Dismantling the Portuguese Empire, Time Magazine (Monday, July 07, 1975) NB: The figures in this source are too high, as the total number of whites in the colonies did not reach 700,000.
  18. ^ Angola antes da Guerra, a film of Luanda, Portuguese Angola (before 1975), youtube.com
  19. ^ LuandaAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Luanda, Portuguese Angola (before 1975), youtube.com
  20. ^ BenguelaAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Benguela, Overseas Province of Angola, before 1975.
  21. ^ NovaLisboaAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Nova Lisboa, Overseas Province of Angola, before 1975.
  22. ^ LobitoAnosOuro.wmv, a film of the Lobito in Portuguese Angola, before independence from Portugal.
  23. ^ SáDaBandeiraAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Sá da Bandeira, Overseas Province of Angola, before 1975.
  24. ^ MalanjeAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Malanje, Overseas Province of Angola (before 1975).
  25. ^ a b (in Portuguese) Angola de outros tempos Moçamedes, Moçâmedes under Portuguese rule before 1975, youtube.com
  26. ^ Angola-Carmona (Viagem ao Passado)-Kandando Angola, a film of Carmona, Portuguese Angola (before 1975).
  27. ^ CabindaAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Cabinda, Portuguese Angola (before 1975).
  28. ^ a b c d e History of Angola, Republic of Angola Embassy in the United Kingdom
  29. ^ a b Todd Cleveland (2015). Diamonds in the Rough: Corporate Paternalism and African Professionalism on the Mines of Colonial Angola, 1917–1975. Ohio University Press. ISBN 0821445219.
  30. ^ Jeremy Ball (2006). ""I escaped in a coffin": Remembering Angolan Forced Labor from the 1940s". Cadernos de Estudos Africanos [Online], 9/10. doi:10.4000/cea.1214. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  31. ^ (in Portuguese) Angola - Moçâmedes, minha terra, eu te vi crescer... (Raul Ferreira Trindade), history of Moçâmedes/Namibe
  32. ^ Louise Redvers, POVERTY-ANGOLA: NGOs Sceptical of Govt’s Rural Development Plans Archived 2010-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, [Inter Press Service News Agency] (June 6, 2009)
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h Warner, Rachel. "Conditions before Independence". A Country Study: Angola (Thomas Collelo, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (February 1989). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.[2]
  34. ^ (in Portuguese) 52. UNIVERSIDADE DE LUANDA
  35. ^ 6h Huambo 1973, Nova Lisboa Internacional Sports Race



  • Gerardo Augusto Pery, ed. (1875). "Angola". Geographia e estatistica geral de Portugal e colonias (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional.
  • Wikisource Baynes, T.S., ed. (1878). "Angola" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (9th ed.). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 45.
  • Esteves Pereira; Guilherme Rodrigues, eds. (1904). "Angola". Portugal: Diccionario Historico... (in Portuguese). 1. Lisbon: Joao Romano Torres. OCLC 865826167 – via HathiTrust.

Coordinates: 2°11′N 102°23′E / 2.183°N 102.383°E

Baixa de Cassanje revolt

The Baixa de Cassanje revolt is considered the first confrontation of the War of Independence in Angola and the Portuguese Colonial War throughout the colonies (then overseas provinces). The uprising began on 3 January 1961 in the region of Baixa do Cassanje, district of Malanje, Portuguese Angola. By the 4 January the Portuguese authorities had successfully suppressed the revolt. 4 January is now Colonial Martyrs Repression Day, a national holiday in Angola.

Battle of Kitombo

The Battle of Kitombo was a military engagement between forces of the BaKongo state of Soyo, formerly a province of the Kingdom of Kongo, and the Portuguese colony of Angola on 18 October 1670. Earlier in the year a Portuguese expeditionary force had invaded Soyo with the intention of ending its independent existence. The Soyo were supported by the Kingdom of Ngoyo, which provided men and equipment, and by the Dutch, who provide guns, light cannon and ammunition. The combined Soyo-Ngoyo force was led by the Prince of Soyo, Paulo da Silva, and the Portuguese by João Soares de Almeida. Both commanders were killed in the battle, which resulted in a decisive victory for Soyo. Few, if any, of the invaders escaped death or capture.

Battle of Mbidizi River

The Battle of Mbidizi River was a military engagement in June 1670 between forces of the County of Soyo and those of the Portuguese colony of Angola during the Kongo Civil War. The engagement was part of a military campaign to break the power of Soyo in the region. The Portuguese won a decisive victory, inflicting heavy casualties and killing the Soyon leader.

Battle of Mbumbi

The Battle of Mbumbi was a military engagement between forces of Portuguese Angola and the Kingdom of Kongo.

Battle of Mufilo

The Battle of Mufilo (Portuguese: combate de Mufilo) was a battle occurring on 27 August 1907, in the southwest of Portuguese Angola, during the Ovambo resistance to Portuguese colonization.

Caetano Alexandre de Almeida e Albuquerque

Caetano Alexandre de Almeida e Albuquerque (15 April 1824 – 8 September 1916) was a Portuguese colonial administrator and a military officer. He was governor general of Cape Verde from 29 March 1869 until 26 February 1876, succeeding José Guedes de Carvalho e Meneses. He was succeeded by Guilherme Quintino Lopes de Macedo. In June 1876, he was appointed governor general of Angola, succeeding José Baptista de Andrade. He was succeeded by Vasco Guedes de Carvalho e Meneses in July 1878. From 3 December 1878 until 10 April 1882 he was governor-general of Portuguese India.The main square of Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, is named Praça Alexandre Albuquerque after him. There is a bronze bust of Albuquerque on the square.

Dutch Loango-Angola

Loango-Angola is the name for the possessions of the Dutch West India Company in contemporary Angola and the Republic of the Congo. Notably, the name refers to the colony that was captured from the Portuguese between 1641 and 1648. Due to the distance between Luanda and Elmina, the capital of the Dutch Gold Coast, a separate administration for "Africa South" was established at Luanda during the period of the Dutch occupation.After Angola was recaptured by the Portuguese in 1648, Dutch trade with Loango-Angola did not stop, however. From about 1670 onward, the Dutch West India Company acquired slaves from the Loango region on a regular basis, and Dutch free traders continued this practice until after 1730.

Fishing in Angola

Fishing in Angola is mainly performed by foreign fleets. Some of the foreign fishing fleets operating in Angolan waters were required by the government to land a portion of their catch at Angolan ports to increase the local supply of fish. Fishing agreements of this kind were reached with several countries, including with Spain, Japan, and Italy.

Francisco Joaquim Ferreira do Amaral

Francisco Joaquim Ferreira do Amaral, GCTE, KCVO (Lisbon, Santa Catarina, 11 June 1843 – 11 August 1923) was a Portuguese naval commander and politician.

Francisco de Vasconcelos da Cunha

Francisco de Vasconcelos da Cunha (c.1590 – c. mid 17th century) was a Portuguese colonial administrator. He was born around 1590, and was governor of Portuguese Cape Verde from 1624 to 1628. He succeeded Manuel Afonso de Guerra who was also the Bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde. He was succeeded by João Pereira Corte-Real. In 1634, he became the captain-general of Portuguese Angola, succeeding Manuel Pereira Coutinho. He was succeeded on 18 October 1639 by Pedro César de Meneses.

German Angolans

German Angolans are the descendants of German settlers in the nation of Angola.

German immigrants to Portuguese Angola started to appear in the mid-19th century. They took part in the founding and initial growth of the coastal city of Moçâmedes in the 1850s.

More German immigrants came to Angola in the 20th century, with about 1,400 immigrating between 1915 and 1930. After Angolan independence and the subsequent civil war that occurred, most German Angolans left the county for Europe, though some families remain, mainly in the town of Calulo, as well as the capital, Luanda.Until 1975 there was a German-language school in Benguela called the Deutsche Schule Benguela.

German campaign in Angola

Before the official declaration of war between Germany and Portugal (March 1916), German and Portuguese troops clashed several times on the border between German South West Africa and Portuguese Angola. The Germans won most of these clashes and were able to occupy the Humbe region of southern Angola until Portuguese control was restored a few days before the British campaign out of South Africa defeated the Germans.

List of colonial governors of Angola

This is a list of European (Portuguese and Dutch) colonial administrators responsible for the territory of Portuguese Angola, an area equivalent to modern-day Republic of Angola.

Manuel Maria Coelho

Antonio Manuel Maria Coelho (1857–1943) was a Portuguese military officer of the Portuguese Army and politician during the period of the Portuguese First Republic. (In January 1891, he had been one of the leading revolutionaries during the Porto republican revolt.) Among other posts, he served as governor of Portuguese Angola and governor of Portuguese Guinea. He became Prime Minister after the Noite Sangrenta (Bloody Night) terrorist assassinations of prominent state figures (including Prime Minister António Granjo) on 19 October 1921. A Freemason (like many of his colleagues), he was co-author, along with João Chagas, of the work História da Revolta do Porto (History of the Porto Revolt).

Paulo Dias de Novais

Paulo Dias de Novais (c. 1510 – 1589), a fidalgo of the Royal Household, was a Portuguese colonizer of Africa in the 16th century and the first Captain-Governor of Portuguese Angola. He was the grandson of the explorer Bartolomeu Dias.

Novais arrived in what is now Angola on 11 February 1575. Attracted by the prospect of the famous silver mines of Cambambe, he founded the settlement of São Paulo de Luanda, near the island of Luanda.

Silvino Silvério Marques

Silvino Silvério Marques (23 March 1918 – 1 October 2013) was a Portuguese colonial administrator and a general of the Portuguese Army. He was governor of Cape Verde from 1958 to 1962, and governor of Angola for two terms: from 1962 to 1966, and in 1974. He was administrator of the National Steel Industry from 1967 to 1970, interim director of Armed Engineers and 2nd Commander of the Military Region of Mozambique from 1971 to January 1973. In May 1974, he was installed by general António de Spínola as governor of Angola, but was removed from office after two months for not giving guarantees to follow instructions from the National Salvation Junta. He was retired into reserve in 1975.He reveived the following decorations:

Officer of the Military Order of Avis of Portugal (14 January 1954)

Commander of the Military Order of Avis of Portugal (27 September 1958)

Grand Officer of the Order of the Colonial Empire (3 November 1963)

Slavery in Angola

Slavery in Angola existed since the late 15th century when Portugal established contacts with the peoples living in what is the Northwest of the present country, and founded several trade posts on the coast. A number of those peoples, like the Imbangala and the Mbundu, were active slave traders for centuries (see African slave trade). In the late 16th century, Kingdom of Portugal's explorers founded the fortified settlement of Luanda, and later on minor trade posts and forts on the Kwanza River as well as on the Atlantic coast southwards until Benguela. The main component of their trading activities consisted in a heavy involvement in the Atlantic slave trade. Slave trafficking was abolished in 1836 by the Portuguese authorities.


The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) (Portuguese: União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) is the second-largest political party in Angola. Founded in 1966, UNITA fought alongside the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the Angolan War for Independence (1961–1975) and then against the MPLA in the ensuing civil war (1975–2002). The war was one of the most prominent Cold War proxy wars, with UNITA receiving military aid from the United States and South Africa while the MPLA received support from the Soviet Union and its allies.UNITA was led by Jonas Savimbi from its foundation until his death in 2002. His successor as president of UNITA is Isaías Samakuva. Following Savimbi's death, UNITA abandoned armed struggle and participated in electoral politics. The party won 51 out of 220 seats in the 2017 parliamentary election.

Vasco Guedes de Carvalho e Meneses

Vasco Guedes de Carvalho e Meneses (5 April 1822 – 1 January 1905) was a Portuguese colonial administrator and a military officer. He was a younger brother of José Guedes de Carvalho e Meneses who was governor of Mozambique and Cape Verde.He was governor general of Mozambique from 24 April 1854 until 26 September 1857. He was governor general of Cape Verde from 22 December 1876 until 7 May 1878, when he became governor of Angola, an office he fulfilled until July 1880. He was governor of Portuguese India from 16 June 1889 until 10 March 1891.He was Commander of the Order of Nossa Senhora da Conceição de Vila Viçosa.

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