Cascon Case ANG: Angolan Independence 1961-74

Angola map (35722 bytes)

Status Quo Side: Portugal

Non-Status Quo Side: Indigenous rebel groups

Region: Africa

Conflict Type: Colonial

Issues in Dispute: Independence

Maps:  [UTexas Angola maps]

Phase 1: 1920s

The indigenous African population far outnumbered the colonial elite but was excluded from the electorate and subjected both to Christian proselytizing and repressive labor policy.

Phase 2: 1950s

Anti-colonial sentiment spreading throughout Africa was reflected in mounting opposition in Angola (and Portugal) to Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. The Portuguese expanded their military presence as their policies toward their African colonies attracted international attention and UN disapproval. The first of three competing indigenous nationalist forces, the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola), mobilized in 1956 under Dr. Antonio Agostinho Neto.

Phase 3: 2/3/1961

Riots occurred in the capital, Luanda, followed by a series of violent upheavals in which two other exile groups took part: the FNLA (Front for the Liberation of Angola) under Holden Roberto, and UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) under Dr. Jonas Savimbi. The dissidents, hampered by competition between them, were no match for an efficient and ruthless regime. The UN proved powerless, given the unwillingness of Portugal's NATO allies --the US and the UK -- to bring pressure. Some major legal and social reforms accompanied the repression.

Phase 4: 10/1961

Sporadic clashes continued to occur between supporters of the three exile groups. A military coup in Portugal in April 1974 led to dissolution of the empire. Fighting between rival nationalist groups resulted in Portugal granting independence to the Angolan people rather than any organization.

Settled: 11/11/1974

The MPLA declared itself the government of Angola. [see ACW]

Copyright 1999 Lincoln P. Bloomfield and Allen Moulton