When Did Angola Declare Independence From Portugal?

A park in Luanda, the capital of Angola.
A park in Luanda, the capital of Angola.

The Republic of Angola is the seventh largest country in Africa. It is located in the southern part of the continent. The largest and capital city is Luanda. Angola is among the five countries colonized by the Portuguese which also include Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe. The country’s official language is Portuguese.

Portuguese Colonization Of Angola

The first Portuguese explorers reached Angola in the second half of the 15th century. They established settlements in Soyo in the northern part of the country. In 1575, Paulo Dias de Novais founded what is today Luanda and settled with soldiers and their families. The Portuguese began settling in other parts of the country especially along the Atlantic coast. They engaged in slave trade, shipping thousands of Angolan slaves to Brazil in exchange for Brazilian plantations. The local slave traders provided slaves from the interior and exchanged them for guns and European products.

Although the Portuguese controlled the much of the trade in Angola, their control was limited to major settlement areas. In the 16th century, they seized the control of the entire coastline through treaties and war. The interior parts of Angola proved to be difficult for the Portuguese. Famine and epidemic disease made it near impossible for the Europeans to venture into the interior part of Angola. In the mid-19th-century the slave trade was abolished. However, the local slave traders continued trading slaves with private European contractors forcing the government to engage in constant expeditions along the coast to counter the trade. In the late 1880s, the government in Lisbon entertained the proposals to unite Angola and Mozambique, but the British and Belgian governments opposed the plan.

Civil Disobedience In Angola

In June 1933 the Portuguese government ratified the Portuguese Colonial Act that declared the Portuguese supreme over the native inhabitants of Angola. Even if the locals pursued academic to the Portuguese level, they were to be considered inferior. In 1948 Angolan activists sent a letter to the United Nations seeking protectorate status. The government encouraged migrants from Europe to settle in its territories, and on 11 June 1951, the Portuguese parliament declared Angola would be thereafter be known as Província de Angola (Province of Angola). Separatists began forming parties and launching attacks on the government facilities including physical intimidation of the European settlers in the country.

Angolan War And The declaration Of Independence

In 1961, native Angolans began an uprising against the colonialist philosophy of forced cotton cultivation. The war came to an end when a military coup in Portugal ousted the then-government and stalled all military activities in Africa. The new government immediately began plans to grant Angolan independence. Although the war stopped immediately, it was not until January 1975 that the Portuguese government and the separatist parties signed a peace accord. On 11 November 1975 Angola was granted independence. However, the country soon fell into a civil war that continued until 2002.


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