Colonial Angola

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Colonial Angola

Thesis Statement

Since its independence in 1975, Angola has seen a bloody civil war and incompetent, ruthless leadership, and accumulation of wealth and natural resources in the hands of the elite. However, with the end of the civil war and democratization, chances of economic prosperity have increased.


Angola remained a Portuguese colony since the capture of several territories in 1655 until October 20, 1951, when it was designated as an overseas province. However, it was only in 1886, that the Portuguese government decided to officially incorporate Angola as a colony. Slowly and steadily, the Portuguese began to set up townships, logging camps, trading posts and processing factories of small nature. However, form 1764, there was a marked change to more of a domestic production and export-based society, from being a purely slave-based society in the early years. A few years after the independence of Brazil in 1822, the trading of slaves was disbanded in 1836, while foreign shipping was allowed to take place on the ports of Angola in 1844. Luanda had become one of the most developed and important cities under Portuguese control around 1850, housing a number of trading companies, involved in the export of items such as peanut and palm oil, wax, timber, ivory, cotton, and cocoa, among others. Other items such as tobacco, maize, cassava flour and dried meat were also produced locally, facilitating self-reliance, and resulting in the birth of the Angolan bourgeoisie. More Portuguese settlers came to Angola between1920 and 1960, in order to benefit from solid economic growth, which resulted from an abundance of natural resources and infrastructure development. Moreover, such economic growth attracted investment, and meant more jobs for the people.

Being one of the bigger and more populous nations in the African continent, Angola is a country rich in natural resources and has a huge potential to become an economic powerhouse within Africa. However, such abundance of natural resources and oil reserves has not proved to be beneficial to the people of this great country, mainly because of accumulation of wealth and resources in the hands of a few people. The effects of the country's economic growth have not trickled down to the masses, mainly due to the fact that the control over the nation's wealth has been in the hands of the ruling elite, which serve to remind ordinary Angolans of Portuguese colonialists, with the exception of the color of the skin, of course.


Since the days of colonialism, the structure of Angola's political economy has remained the same; based mainly on the exportation of a few commodities to the international market. It is also important to understand that the state structure accompanying this political economy has retained its basic structure, during colonialism and afterwards. The sole beneficiaries from the country's political economy happen to be the small ruling class, who are well entrenched and lead the country ruthlessly. In an attempt to legitimize itself, the state has come up with sophisticated methods such as multiparty democracy and a market economy to reproduce ...
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