Angola (Including Cabinda)


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Angola (Including Cabinda) is Number 120 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Angola (present-day Republic of Angola) was a Portuguese colony located on the west coast of Africa, first occupied by the Portuguese at the end of the 15th century. Cabinda, a part of Angola, is a small enclave separated from the rest of Angola by a strip of territory north of the Congo River that belonged to the Belgian Congo (and that is today part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and that provided Congo with greater access to the sea. The book contains sections on physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions.  The historical section covers the early Portuguese occupation, relations between the Portuguese and the African kingdoms of Angola and Congo, and the commercial and imperial rivalry in the 16th century between the Portuguese and the Dutch. The competition between these European powers mainly had to do with the Atlantic slave trade, from which Angola suffered greatly. The study notes the unsuccessful attempts by the Portuguese in the 19th century to build a transcontinental empire stretching from Angola in the west to Mozambique in the east. The economic section stresses the great potential agricultural wealth of the colony, but states: “As long as the slave-trade survived, the only Angola product regarded as deserving attention from the commercial point of view was native labour….” Angola was one of the last countries in Africa to achieve independence, which Portugal finally recognized in November 1975, after a long and costly war of independence.

Last updated: February 18, 2015