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    ELEMENTS OF HISTORY

A Recent French research shows that the present territory of Angola, have been inhabited since the lower Palaeolithic era.

The first European settlers came late in the 15th century, in 1482, when the Portuguese navigator Diogo Cão moored at the mouth of the Congo or Zaire river. In his still existing capital city of Mbanza Congo, in the North of Angola, the King of the Congo welcomed the foreign travellers and let them convert him to Christianity, taking the name of Alphonsus I, creating in that way an alliance between both states.

In the course of the 16th century, any after continuous and lengthy games of seduction, intrigue and treason, that new strength was given to the links of dependence of the kingdom of the Congo to the Portuguese Crown. Dependent of the kingdom of the Congo were other minor kingdoms in the South, such as Matamba and Ndongo, whose sovereigns, the Ngola, were to give later its name to Angola.

The resistance of these three kingdoms to colonial penetration was practically crushed in the second half of the 17th century, in the short space of 20 years: the Congo (1665), Ndongo (1671), and Matamba (1681).

In 1700, the Portuguese ruled in Angola over an area of 65,000 sq. km, for no practical purpose but to keep open the slaves routes coming down from the high plains. At that time, in fact, black slaves were the main merchandise dominating the whole activity of trade, as an export to Portugal, Brazil, the West Indies and Central America. At the end of the 18th century, under the leadership of the marquess of Pombal, the all-powerful minister of the king of Portugal, a timid attempt was made to exploit the riches of the country. It foundered due to lack of support and because the very motherland was more interested in the development of Brazil using angolan slaves. Angola thus retained the title of "slave-mine".

The Berlin Conference in 1885 established colonial law and the present frontiers of Angola were drafted by successive treaties between Portugal, Great Britain, France, the free State of the (Belgian) Congo and Germany. For the Angolan population, the abolition of slave trading in 1836 and the formal end of slavery in 1878 did not alter the essentials of the case, as exploatation of the great working masses of Angola went on under the guise of the so-called "contract". That situation was to be aggravated by the colonial policy of the Salazar regime, from the 1930´s onwards.

The struggle for the freedom of Angola initiated at the 1960´s onwards, following by the proclamation of the Independence on Nov. 11, 1975. 

Source: The Future Begins Now Republic of Angola

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