Colonization In Angola

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Impact of Colonization on the Political Structure of Angola By Harlan Stevens The Portuguese began colonizing Angola in 1575 and the people of Angola were unable to regain their independence for four centuries. During this time, Angola’s lifestyle and political structure was changed dramatically. Even after the Portuguese left Angola, the Portugueses impact continued to shape Angola. Due to the political chaos that ensued after the Portuguese left and gave up their claim on Angola, the nation was convulsed by a violent civil war. The fight to determine Angola’s political future soon became a proxy war, meaning the war involved many countries (US, South Africa, Cuba, and the USSR), and thrusted Angola onto the global stage as a major front…show more content…
Portugal set their first colony, Luanda, in 1575, and a few other coastal cities throughout the century. At first the Portuguese had little impact on politics; the Portuguese merely trades with the two kingdoms (firearms and technology for ivory, slavery, and minerals). From around 1610 to 1640 Portugal was under control of the Spanish. The Dutch took advantage of this and began taking over Portuguese colonies in 1641. None of this affected Ndongo much, they just continued trade like always. In 1648 the Portuguese took control again. Later, “the boundaries of Portuguese Angola were agreed by negotiation in Europe in 1891, these negotiations did not include any Angolans.” One by one each of the local ‘wene’ were overwhelmed and replaced with a European monarchy form of government. By the 1920’s almost the whole of Angola was under Portuguese control. In 1951 Angola was declared a province of Portugal: the Provincia Ultramarina de Angola. Portugal instituted a bureaucracy with the highest official in the province being the governor-general, appointed by the Portuguese. This was direct rule. The governor-general had legislative and executive authority.6 At that time the political structure was not beneficial for Angolans who were kept out of positions of power, and unable to further the development of their own country or its people. For example, in 1960 there was not a single…show more content…
With over a million Angolans killed and their development stunted, Angola’s political structure has been left broken, and their government is now weak and corrupt. The proxy war impacted the nations participating in the global fight between democracy and communism. While the war was a victory for democracy and affected the outcome of the Cold War, the civil war was very damaging to Angola itself. This is why many historians, along with myself, believe that the colonization of Angola was deleterious to Angola’s political structure and development. This can be seen in Angola’s transition from a relatively mighty kingdom, to a kingdom where the people were forced into labor by their settlers, to a country that became a battle field of a proxy war, and finally to a corrupt democracy. Angola’s corrupt government could lead to disastrous consequences such as a rebellion, and cause yet another war. If there was another war Angola’s allies would be drawn into helping them, and that war would affect the whole world. This is a story of a nation like many others. Understanding the story of Angola’s history can help us when looking at many postcolonial nations which are still transitioning

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