Angola

Angola Angola, formerly Portuguese West Africa, is the seventh largest country in Africa. The country can be divided into three major regions: the coastal plain, a transition zone, and the vast inland plateau. Angola has a tropical climate with its vegetation including tropical rain forests, savannas, grasslands, palm trees and even deserts. A great variety of animal life ranging from elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes, and even crocodiles can also be found in this African country (Microsoft 1). Very little is known about the early regions of Angola.

The original inhabitants of present-day Angola were hunters and gatherers.Their descendants, called Bushman by the Europeans, still inhabit portions of southern Africa (Collelo 5). As early as the seventh century AD, the Bantu migrated to Angola and formed a number of important kingdoms. The earliest and most important of these was the Kongo Kingdom, which arose somewhere between the mid-1300s and the mid-1400s. One of the reasons for this kingdoms success was the willingness of the new inhabitants to live together with the natives rather than try to be their overlords (Bender 23). The earliest contract with outsiders occurred when a Portuguese explorer, Diego Cao arrived at the mouth of the Congo river.

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Upon the initial landing, Portugal and Kongo exchanged emissaries, so that each kingdom was able to acquire knowledge of the other (Collelo 7). The leader if Kongo was so impressed with the reports he received about Portugal that he decided to ask the crown for missionaries and educational assistance in exchange for ivory and other goods. The ruler who came to power in 1506 took a Christian name, Afonso (Collelo 10). He looked to Portugal for support in educating his people in Christianity, European science and culture, and even military matters. The Portuguese, however, were more interested in profit from the slave trade rather than in Europeanization of the natives. This difference of interest soon created conflict between Afonso and the Portuguese.The slave trade, greedily aided by local chiefs, gradually undermined the authority of the king, and twenty-five years after Afonso’s death the state succumbed to the onslaught of the Jaga, a belligerent horde of nomads from the east (Microsoft 4).

With Portuguese help, the invaders were finally ousted, but by this time the life had gone out of the ravaged kingdom (July 155). Clearly, turmoil, victimization, and disappointment are themes that have pervaded Angola’s history, especially since the arrival of the Europeans in the fifteenth century (Collelo xxi). In 1576, in effective control of the countryside and facing no organized Kongo opposition, the Portuguese founded the town of Luanda, in effect establishing the colony of Angola (Bender 24). After the Portuguese began reaching the interior, they soon appointed royal governors who tried to impose their ideas and beliefs upon the people (Halladay 82). Many African leaders resisted this foreign rule and the Europeans only managed to establish insecure footholds along the coast (Collelo 9).Kings Alvaro I and II both brought some stability to the falling kingdom by expanding their territory and at the same time keeping the Portuguese at bay. But after the death of Alvaro II, conflicts between the Portuguese and the Kongo soon led to war (July 155).

The Portuguese imposed a peace treaty, but the demands were so harsh that peace was never really achieved. The Battle of Mbwila on October twenty-ninth, 1665, marked the end of the Kongo Kingdom as a unified power. By the eighteenth century, Kongo had been transformed form a unitary state into a number of smaller entities that recognized the king but for all practical purposes were independent (Collelo 11). After the Portuguese defeated many of the Angolan kingdoms, the Dutch soon became interested in the African colonies. Holland soon raided and harassed the Portuguese territories in Angola in hopes of gaining new African territory.The Dutch also gained help form the king of Kongo who welcomed them after the treatment they had received from the Portuguese.

In 1641, the Dutch captures Luanda which forced the Portuguese governor to flee. The Dutch soon cut off the supply of slaves to Brazil in order to weaken their economy. Then four years later, in 1648, the Dutch surrendered to the Brazilians and Angola and other African colonies eventually became Brazil territory.

With Brazil’s returning rule in Angola, the slave trade rapidly increased due to the growing need for workers in the sugar fields (July 156-157).Slaves were obtained by agents, called pombeiros, who roamed the interior, generally following established routes along the rivers. They bought slaves, called pecas (pieces), from local chiefs in exchange for commodities such as cloth and wine (Collelo 15). It is estimated that four million slaves were exported from Angola alone, with only half this number actually surviving the trip to the New World (Collelo 15). Finally, in 1836, the government in Lisbon abolished the slave trade in Portuguese territory, but Angola reacted so violently that it took another decade before action was actually taken to permit slavetraffiking (July 483).

The abolition of the slave trade coincided with increased Portuguese expansion in Angola (Collelo 17).As expansion began, the cost was high to secure the newly acquired territories with military soldiers. The Africans were forced to foot the bill for these military operations with an increase in their hut tax, which now had to be paid with money or goods rather than with slaves (Bender 46). As a result, Africans either refused to pay or fled from the areas controlled by the Portuguese. Therefore, by the end of 1861, the Portuguese did not have the resources to continue expansion and the interior remained in the control of African traders and warriors. Portuguese colonial policies toward civil administration were first formulated in Mozambique, where in the 1890s Antonio Enes, former minister of the colonies, advocated close control and full use of African labor, administrative reorganization, and colonization schemes (Collelo 20).Then between 1907 and 1910, Paiva Couceiro, a former colleague of Enes, became governor general over the colonies. He decided that military officers were needed to bring the colonies under European control.

During this time, new towns sprang up and the construction of roads became a little more advanced; other advancements included the Benguela Railway and the Diamond Company of Angola. The Portuguese, however, were generally unable to provide Angola with adequate development capital or with settlers. Trade had fallen off sharply when the rubber boom ended just before World War I, and the war itself produced only a brief revival of foreign trade.At the end of what is commonly referred to as Portugal’s republican era, the finances of the colony were in serious difficulty (Collelo 21). After the end of the republic, a new one-party system was introduced in Portugal which led to many changes in Angola. One of the most important changes that occurred was the Colonial Act of 1930.

This act brought to Angola new economic policies that were now being used in Portugal. Portugal soon renamed African towns after Portuguese heroes and even replaced the old currency with their own.However, in the 1940s and 1950s, Africans began to create new nationalist groups which included the Popular Liberation Movement of Angola (MLPA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), and the National Union for the Independence of Angola (UNITA). Each of these nationalistic groups claimed to represent the entire population of Angola which, before long, created conflicts between the three concerning politics, competition, and foreign aid (Microsoft 5).

All three had armed forces but none of them achieved much advancement until the revolution in Portugal in 1974. After this revolution on the homefront, Portugal’s colonies began to fall apart. With all of its problems, Portugal finally gave Angola its independence (Collelo 40).With Angola gaining its independence in 1975, the MLPA announced that it would establish a new government and the territory that it gained would be called the People’s Republic of Angola. The FNLA and the UNITA, both followed and declared their own territory as the Democratic People’s Republic of Angola. By January of 1976, with the help of the Soviet Union and Cuba, it had become very clear that the MLPA had dominated as the new military power. The FNLA was now defeated and the United States could no longer offer assistance to UNITA and the FNLA after the Senate passed the Clark Amendment which prohibited all direct and indirect military and paramilitary assistance to ant Angolan group (Collelo 41).

Angola’s economy has suffered severe setbacks since independence (Microsoft 3). After the war of independence and the internal fighting between the nationalists groups, the economy was falling apart.In August of 1976, more than eighty percent of the agricultural plantations had been abandoned by their Portuguese owners; only 284 out of 692 factories continued to operate; more than 30,000 medium-level and high-level managers, technicians, and skilled workers had left the country; and 2,500 enterprises had been closed (seventy five percent of which had been abandoned by their owners). Furthermore, only 8,000 vehicles remained out of 153,000 registered, dozens of bridges had been destroyed, the trading network was disrupted, administrative services did not exist, and files and studies were missing (Collelo 115).

As a result, the government intervened, nationalizing most businesses and farms abandoned by the Portuguese (Collelo 115). Although the government tried to make plans to help the Angolan economy, they usually ended up in failure. Angola is a country that is still upset over the many different chaotic situations that is has experienced.

Over seventy percent of the country is illiterate and without education, the country cannot advance. The MLPA, which is now the major policymaking party in Angola, I believe will soon be overthrown. The MLPA is very domination and doesn’t want opposition; this is quite obvious since they didn’t allow multi-party elections until 1992. A group consisting of the uneducated working class will finally resist the government and take over. I believe that Hegel’s dialectic principle will finally occur in Angola.The struggle between the upper class and lower class will ultimately result in another revolution. History Essays.