Angola is one of the largest and potentially one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, but its people came to independence after suffering from Portugal one of the longest and most debilitating of all forms of European colonialism. Geographically Angola serves as a transit route for mineral exports from, to the east, landlocked Zambia, and, to the north, Zaire, which has very limited access to the Atlantic through a shipping channel within Angolan territorial waters. Angola had its first Portuguese colonial settlement in 1575 (independence came 400 years later), but for centuries was mainly of interest to Portugal as a source of slaves, or as a dumping ground for exiled criminals.1 Portugal conducted military campaigns at the end of the nineteenth century and in the early decades of the twentieth century to establish effective occupation, developed a railway system serving coastal ports and began a largely unsuccessful programme of free white rural settlement.2 Diamond extraction, initiated in 1913, became of commercial importance after 1920, and petroleum extraction, beginning at low level in 1956, had by 1973 overtaken coffee as the main source of foreign revenue.
KeywordsCentral Committee Plenary Session Military Commander Political Prisoner National Liberation
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