Portuguese West Africa

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Angola (also Portuguese West Africa, Portuguese Angola or the Overseas Province of Angola) is the common name by which the territorial expansion of the Portuguese Empire by colonialism in South-West Africa was known across different periods of time. Angola was the name of the Portuguese overseas colonies and later a Portuguese overseas province on the south-west African coast, which now form the Republic of Angola.

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History

The colonial history of Angola lasted from the foundation of Portuguese settlements, forts and ports in the region, its annexation as a colony in 1655, and its renewed statute as an overseas province of Portugal, effective October 20, 1951.

Between 1580 to the 1820s well over a million people from current-day Angola were exported as slaves to the so-called New World, mainly to Brazil which demanded the most part of black African slaves from Angola, but also to North America where slaves were also usual workforce supply.[1] Kingdom of Portugal sailors, explorers, soldiers and merchants had historically began a process of conquest and establishment of military and trading outposts in Africa with the conquest of Muslim-ruled Ceuta in 1415 and the establishment of bases in current-day Morrocco and the Gulf of Guinea. The Portuguese had catholic beliefs and their exploratory and military expeditions included from the very beginning evangelization and sometimes forced conversion of foreign peoples. Local African societies were varied, mostly relying on agriculture and trade. Those societies included centuries long practices such as slavery among black peoples, local traditional animist beliefs and practices, and a multiplicity of ethnicities, political and social organizations which varied from region to region. One of the most powerful societies in the region was that of the Kongo Kingdom.

Portugal defeated the Kongo Kingdom in the Battle of Mbwila on October 29, 1665, but suffered a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Kitombo when they tried to invade Kongo in 1670. Full Portuguese administrative control of the interior was not achieved until the beginning of the 20th century. However, the coastal regions, including fortified Portuguese towns like those of Luanda (established in 1575 with 400 Portuguese settlers) and Benguela (a fort from 1587, a town from 1617) remained almost continuously in Portuguese hands until the independence of Angola in 1975.

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