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Província Ultramarina de Angola
Overseas Province of Angola
Colony; Overseas territory

 

 

1655–1975
Flag Coat of arms
Portuguese West Africa (Angola and Cabinda)
Capital Luanda
Language(s) Portuguese
Political structure Colony; Overseas territory
Head of state
 - 1640-1656 John IV of Portugal, king
 - 1974-1975 Francisco da Costa Gomes, president
Governor-general
 - 1837-1839 (first) Manuel Bernardo Vidal
 - 1975 (last) Leonel Alexandre Gomes Cardoso
Governor
 - 1589-1591 (first) Luís Serrão
 - 1836- (last) Domingos de Saldanha Oliveira e Daun
Historical era Imperialism
 - Established 1655
 - Fall of Portuguese Empire November 11, 1975
Currency Angolan escudo

Angola (also Portuguese West Africa, Portuguese Angola or the Overseas Province of Angola) is the common name by which the Portuguese Empire's territorial expansion in South-West Africa was known across different periods of time. Angola was the name of the Portuguese overseas colonies and later a Portuguese overseas province on the south-west African coast, which now form the republic of Angola.

Contents

History

The colonial history of Angola lasted from the foundation of Portuguese settlements, forts and ports in the region, its annexation as a colony in 1655, and its renewed statute as an overseas province of Portugal, effective October 20, 1951.

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

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. Full Portuguese administrative control of the interior was not achieved until the beginning of the twentieth century. However, the coastal regions, including fortified Portuguese towns like those of Luanda (established in 1575 with 400 Portuguese settlers) and Benguela (a fort from 1587, a town from 1617) remained almost continuously in Portuguese hands until the independence of Angola in 1975.

In 1884 Britain, which up to that time had steadily refused to acknowledge that Portugal possessed territorial rights north of Ambriz, concluded a treaty recognizing Portuguese sovereignty over both banks of the lower Congo, but the treaty, meeting with opposition in England and 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 the King of Italy in 1905.

Government

In the 20th century, Portuguese Angola was subject to the Estado Novo regime. 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 centralized. 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.

Geography

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 kilometers 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 meters. Angola's two highest peaks were located in these central highlands. They were Moco Mountain (2,620 m) and Meco Mountain (2,538 m).

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.

The capital of the territory was Luanda,[1][2] officially called São Paulo de Luanda. Other cities and towns were:

Topographic map of Angola.

The exclave of Cabinda was to the north.[9]

Economy

Kingdom of Portugal's explorers and settlers, 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; Brazilian ships were the most numerous in the ports of Luanda and Benguela. By this time, Angola, a Portuguese colony, was in fact like a colony of Brazil, paradoxically another Portuguese colony. A strong Brazilian influence was also exercised by the Jesuits in religion and education. 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. In the Planalto (the 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, so that by the beginning of this century the Portuguese had complete control over the entire 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, 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, Angola, on the west coast of Africa. After the dissolution of the Iberian Union in 1640, Portugal would reestablish its authority over the lost territories of the Portuguese Empire.

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. Meanwhile, with the independence of Brazil in 1822, the slave trade was abolished in 1836, and in 1844 Angola's ports were opened to foreign shipping. By 1850, Luanda was one of the greatest and most developed Portuguese cities in the vast Portuguese Empire outside Mainland Portugal, 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. From the 1920s to the 1960s, strong economic growth, abundant natural resources and development of infrastruture, led to the arrival of even more Portuguese settlers from the metropole.

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 Diamang was granted the concession for diamond mining and prospecting in Portuguese Angola. 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. 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.

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.[10]

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 harbous in the region.

Education

Non-urban black African access to educational opportunities was highly limited for most of the colonial period, most were not even able to speak Portuguese and did not have knowledge of the Portuguese culture and history basics.[11] Until the 1950s, educational facilities run by the Portuguese colonial government were largely restricted to the urban areas.[11] Responsibility for educating rural Africans were commissioned by the authorities to several Roman Catholic and Protestant missions based across the vast countryside, which taugh black Africans in Portuguese language and culture.[11] As a consequence, each of the missions established its own school system, although all were subject to ultimate control and support by the Portuguese.[11] In mainland Portugal, the homeland of the colonial authorities which 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 for 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.[11] Primary school attendance was also growing substantially.[11] 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.[11] Most secondary school teachers were ethnically Portuguese, especially in the urban centers.[11] 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.[12] 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 university institution called Estudos Gerais Universitários de Angola was renamed Universidade de Luanda (University of Luanda).

Famous people

References

  1. ^ Angola antes da Guerra, a film of Luanda, Portuguese Angola (before 1975), youtube.com
  2. ^ LuandaAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Luanda, Portuguese Angola (before 1975), youtube.com
  3. ^ BenguelaAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Benguela, Overseas Province of Angola, before 1975.
  4. ^ NovaLisboaAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Nova Lisboa, Overseas Province of Angola, before 1975.
  5. ^ LobitoAnosOuro.wmv, a film of the Lobito in Portuguese Angola, before independence from Portugal.
  6. ^ SáDaBandeiraAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Sá da Bandeira, Overseas Province of Angola, before 1975.
  7. ^ MalanjeAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Malanje, Overseas Province of Angola (before 1975).
  8. ^ Angola-Carmona (Viagem ao Passado)-Kandando Angola, a film of Carmona, Portuguese Angola (before 1975).
  9. ^ CabindaAnosOuro.wmv, a film of Cabinda, Portuguese Angola (before 1975).
  10. ^ Louise Redvers, POVERTY-ANGOLA: NGOs Sceptical of Govt’s Rural Development Plans, [Inter Press Service News Agency] (June 6, 2009)
  11. ^ 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.[1]
  12. ^ (Portuguese) 52. UNIVERSIDADE DE LUANDA

See also

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