Registration on ForeignAffairs. Click Here to Register Now. The first European power to arrive in black Africa is now the last to depart. The April coup in Lisbon, one of those rare instances in history when a change in government reverses a vital national policy, has led to the end of centuries of Portuguese colonization. Such a rapid shift in policy, resulting in the promise of independence for Mozambique on June 25 and Angola on November II of this year, was bound to fundamentally change the character of African politics. This decolonization in the south, together with the Ethiopian revolution, the new power of the oil-producing states, and the tragedy of the Sahel drought in the north, have made a historic time for Africa.
The conflict is usually approached as a branch or a theater of the wider Portuguese Overseas War , which also included the independence wars of Guinea-Bissau and of Mozambique. It was a guerrilla war in which the Portuguese armed and security forces waged a counter-insurgency campaign against armed groups mostly dispersed across sparsely populated areas of the vast Angolan countryside. In the end, the Portuguese achieved overall military victory, and before the Carnation Revolution in Portugal most of Angola's territory was under Portuguese control. In Angola, after the Portuguese had stopped the war, an armed conflict broke out among the nationalist movements. Other expeditions followed, and close relations were soon established between the two kingdoms. The Portuguese brought firearms, many other technological advances, and a new religion, Christianity. In return, the King of the Congo offered slaves, ivory and minerals. Novais occupied a strip of land with a hundred families of colonists and four hundred soldiers, and established a fortified settlement.
After a successful military coup in Portugal that toppled a long-standing authoritarian regime on April 25, , the new rulers in Lisbon sought to divest the country of its costly colonial empire. The impending independence of one of those colonies, Angola , led to the Angolan civil war that grew into a Cold War competition. The Angola crisis of — ultimately contributed to straining relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Three main military movements had been fighting for Angolan independence since the s. Following the Portuguese coup, these three revolutionaries met with representatives of the new Portuguese Government in January and signed the Alvor Agreement that granted Angolan independence and provided for a three-way power sharing government. However, trust quickly broke down among the three groups, and the country descended into civil war as each vied for sole power. The crisis in Angola developed into a Cold War battleground as the superpowers and their allies delivered military assistance to their preferred clients. China, also, sent military instructors to train the FNLA.
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