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The Kingdom of the Kongo appears to have originally been established in the region of Angola.1 from whence it spread to include present day DR Congo and Congo in the North. It established trade routes with the Kingdom of Zimbabwe and the Kingdom of Mutapa and up into West Africa.2 The kingdom of Ndongo in present day Angola, paid tribute to the Kingdom of Kongo.3 The kings of Ndongo were called ngola, from which comes the name Angola.4 5

The Portuguese arrived in 1484.6

The Portuguese supplied many slaves for Brazil from the Angolan ports until it was abolished in Angola in 1836.7 Luanda is the capital city of present day Angola. Ii is a natural port and has been since colonial days. ” During the era of the Atlantic slave trade, Angola was the leading exporter of slaves. From the sixteenth through the middle of the nineteenth centuries, nearly 6 million captives were embarked for the Americas from West Central African ports including Luanda.8 10

The Portuguese left Angola in 1975, the last of the Portuguese wave of independence for African countries.11 The grant of independence was essentially a Portuguese withdrawal from its colonies in the wake of revolution in Portugal. The Carnation Revolution overthrew 48 years of autocratic rule and Portugal’s policy towards its colonies changed, some say, collapsed.1213 Pre-WW2 even labor movements were outlawed in the Portuguese colony, but since the close of that war much of the population began to look toward and organize for independence. “The Angolan War of Independence (1961–1974) began as an uprising against forced cotton cultivation, and it became a multi-faction struggle for the control of Portugal’s overseas province of Angola among three nationalist movements and a separatist movement.”14 A ceasefire was negotiated in 1964 while Portugal sorted out the aftermath of The Carnation Revolution.

Independence came to Angola during, perhaps, the coldest part of the Cold War. So out of the frying pan of European colonialism and into the fire of cold war colonialism, they went.15 A coalition government was formed with the three leading factions in the independence struggle; but as Portugal withdrew, the competing factions grew, securing strategic positions and arming with munitions and supplies offered from both the United States and the Soviet Union. The US supported FNLA massed its militia in the North on the border of Zaire. The MLPA sought dominance in Luanda and received arms shipments from the USSR. The USSR military shipment moved the CIA of the US to provide further covert aid to FNLA and UNITA.16 When an MPLA request to the USSR for ground troops was denied, Cuba stepped up and supplied ground forces. ” Almost 450,000 Cubans served in Angola between 1975 and 1991, according to historian Edward George, not only in the military but also as much-needed doctors, teachers and technicians. “17 “Fidel Castro referred to the ties of blood and history that linked the two nations – a large percentage of the enslaved Africans brought to the island to work on coffee and sugar plantations hailed from Angola. He emphasised that these links placed a burden of debt upon Cubans that they were duty-bound to repay.” 18 MPLA dominated in the struggle and implemented a political and economic systems based upon scientific socialism reliant upon central planning.19

The MLPA abandoned scientific socialism in 1990,20 proclaimed the nation as a social democracy, joined the IMF in 1991, and actively sought foreign investment. Peace among the warring factions was declared in May of that year only to return to war sixteen months later following displeasing election results in September of the following year, 1992. By 2002, Angola had been at war with itself for over 36 of the previous 40 years.21 22


  1. Angola, wikipedia
  2. Angola, wikipedia
  3. Kingdom of Ndongo, wikipedia
  4. Angola, wikipedia
  5. List of Ngolas of Ndongo, wikipedia
  6. “Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão reached the area in 1484. The previous year, the Portuguese had established relations with the Kongo, which stretched at the time from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. The Portuguese established their primary early trading post at Soyo, which is now the northernmost city in Angola apart from the Cabinda exclave. “, Angola, wikipedia
  7. Angola, wikipedia
  8. Luanda, Slave Societies Digital Archive, Vanderbilt Library
  9. ” Within just a few decades of its founding in 1575, Luanda and its hinterlands became increasingly important within the overall slave trade, exporting thousands upon thousands of West Central Africans to the Americas.”Iberian Roots of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1440–1640, http://ap.gilderlehrman.org/ [/efn_mote]

    The Berlin Conference delineated the Portuguese claim in Angola.9 Angola, wikipedia

  10. Portuguese colonies granted independence in the 20th century are Guinea-Bissau, Sept. 24, 1973; Mozambique, June 25, 1975; Cape Verde, July 5, 1975; São Tomé and Principe, July 12, 1975; and, finally, The People’s Republic of Angola, Nov. 11, 1975. Chronological List of African Independence
    , thoughtco.com
  11. African Business Magazine, Timeline; Angola’s Historical Events
  12. The Carnation Revolution, wikipedia
  13. Angolan War of Independence, wikipedia
  14. an ancient idiom indicating movement from a bad situation into a worse situation.
  15. ” An upswing in Soviet arms shipments to the MPLA influenced a decision by the Central Intelligence Agency to likewise provide substantial covert aid to the FNLA and UNITA “, Angola, wikipedia
  16. Ana Naomi de Sousa, Between East and West: The Cold War’s legacy in Africa, Al Jazerra, February 22, 2016
  17. Christabelle Peters, the author of Cuban Identity and the Angolan Experience and a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Warwick. quoted Ibid.
  18. Angola, wikipedia
  19. approximately simultaneous with the dissolution of the Soviet Union
  20. Angola War of Independence (1961-1974) and Angola Civil War “beginning in 1975 and continuing, with interludes, until 2002”
  21. “The 27-year [the Civil War beginning in 1975 following the War for Independence]war can be divided roughly into three periods of major fighting – from 1975 to 1991, 1992 to 1994 and from 1998 to 2002 – with fragile periods of peace.”Angola Civil War, wikipedia