colonial-angola

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The German Ehrhardt 7.5 cm Model 1904, also known as the Schutztruppe 7.5cm Mountain Gun.

A model exclusively deployed by the German colonial troops, the Schutztruppe, hence her name; some captured guns also served with the Portuguese colonial forces in Angola.  

Apparently this model is so rare, only 12 were made, but this particular piece doesn’t show in any official lists, the Nr.2 piece, this one, getting listed as being in the Bloemfontein Law Courts, South Africa, so how a german-made artillery piece that served in Africa during The Great War somehow ended up in Colombia as of 2017 is a mystery, at least to me.

Pictures taken by me at the Museo Militar Colombiano, Bogotá, Colombia. 

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‘Agostinho Neto Speaks’, National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation, New York, 1976.

Agostinho Neto was a leader of the revolutionary struggle against Portuguese colonialism in Angola and the first President of an independent Angola.

How Angola looked like when the white Christian colonizers were still there, and how it looks in the present day.

Remarks of Angolan people who happened to experience each of these time periods: “we’re worse now than in the times of the Portuguese.” 

The Portuguese reached what we now call Angola in 1484, before their arrival, there was no Angolan nation, in other words, the Portuguese didn’t take the territory from the people of Angola, the Portuguese built the country which is now Angola and granted their independence even after winning the Colonial Wars against them (1961-1974), even after the terrorist attacks conducted by the UPA, including beheadings of unarmed men, women and children, against both whites, blacks and half breeds, who lived in Portuguese Angola. 

Portugal was the first modern colonial power to set foot in Africa (1415), the last to leave (1975) and the first to be invited to come back. 

When Portugal conquered Ceuta in Morocco in the 15th century, wasn’t just for trading purposes, nor just for a start point for the Age of Exploration, it was also to combat the Northern Africans who were enslaving Portuguese men and women by the thousands to North Africa, including people from other European kingdoms.

Yes, arabs and blacks owned white slaves as well. When the Portuguese set foot in Morocco for the first time and put their flag in there, was also to stop these attacks from being committed against their nationals and other Europeans.

This is a side of the story that is highly disregarded and just one chapter surrounding this issue.

Raids between Christians and Muslims against each other in the Mediterranean were astoundingly constant and lasted for long periods of time, from previously of the 8th century, to the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Many people were enslaved during the process, including white merchantmen and women from all European nations who happened to make a visit to the Mediterranean during these periods.

QUEEN NZINGA: THE UNCONQUERABLE

“Greatness was born out of the savage oppression of the Africans and out of that oppression it grew like a giant. Just why the Portuguese drew so much blood with the lash from already chained and helpless slaves is beyond all human understanding since, if for no other reason, the victims were “articles of commerce” and the source of the very riches slavers sought. Besides, over half of the captured Blacks died before reaching their destination. Self-interest, then, should have stayed the murderous hands of the slavers. Nothing did, and that fact was one of the reasons that Queen Nzinga said that the real savages in Africa were the whites. They created the conditions that brought her to the fore. The Portuguese were so aggressive in their program for dividing the blacks and keeping them fighting among themselves that they overshot the mark, simply went too far. The system of spreading out over the country into the provinces and allying themselves with the various chiefs has been mentioned more than once. But after 1608 the commander-in-chief of the Portuguese army tightened the noose. This was Bento Cardoso. Under his plan Angola was to be further depopulated by a massive onslaught for slaves through a closely coordinated system in which every chief in the land would be “owned”  By a Portuguese and directly responsible to him for a stated quota of slaves. This would bypass the Angolan King (Of Ndongo) to whom the provincial chiefs paid their taxes in slaves….Chiefs failing to secure the required number of slaves were themselves enslaved. Over a hundred chiefs and other notables were sold into slavery in a single year and another hundred murdered by the Portuguese.The Angolan King, who had been cooperating with the slaves traders, now saw himself being ruined on all fronts, losing his people and his profits. He therefore began to resist the Portuguese

It Paid off. Both the portugese and their Jaga allies were checked, and the war dragged on year after year…. Eventually the pope intervened, insisting that the wholesale slaughter be ended and peace be pursued. The peace conference was held at Luanda (1622). The Black delegation was headed by the country’s ablest and most uncompromising diplomat, Ann Nzinga, not yet queen, but sister of the king - the woman power behind a weak king, and one of the most responsible for inspiring the people to continue war of resistance when every hope was gone, unless she herself had become their last hope. But even before the peace conference began, and at the risk of wrecking it, the governor’s Caucasian arrogance could not be restrained. He had decided on a studied insult at the outset by providing chairs in the conference room only for himself and his councilors, with the idea of forcing the black princess to stand humbly before his noble presence. He remained seated of course, staring haughtily as she entered the room. She took in the situation at a glance with a contemptuous smile, while her attendants moved with a swiftness that seemed to suggest that they had anticipated this stupid behavior by the Portuguese. They quickly rolled out the beautifully designed royal carpet they had brought before Nzinga, after which one of them went down on all fours and expertly formed himself into a “royal throne” upon which the princess sat easily without being a strain on her devoted follower.

Yet she rose at regular intervals, knowing that other attendants were vying for the honor of thus giving to these whites still another defeat. I gather from the different ways this incident is reported that the Western mind is unable to grasp its real meaning. Some historians saw it as a cruel and in-human use of slaves, ignoring the fact that Nzinga’s chief claim to fame was that she was the greatest abolitionist of slavery, that she herself had no slaves and, indeed, had not the slightest need for any. One reason might be be that she was so much loved and even blindly followed by her people that it was believed that all would die, to the last man and woman, following her leadership. Such were the men, not slaves, who gladly formed human couch before the astonished Portuguese for their leader.

She faced the Portuguese governor and spoke as a ruler of the land, and not as a subject of the king of Portugal. She did not recognize the man in the big chair as governor because she did recognize the existence of a Portuguese “colony of Angola.” She only saw before her what her people had seen approaching their shores over a hundred years before - pompous white devils bent on the destruction of the non-white world.

Nzinga became queen in 1623, and went into action at once. Her first major move was to send an ultimatum to the Portuguese authorities demanding the immediate execution of the terms of the treaty, otherwise war would be declared. Nzinga’s greatest act however, probably the one that makes her one of the greatest women in history, was in 1624 when she declared all territory in Angola over which she had control as free country, all slaves reaching it from whatever quarter were forever free, She went further. Since it was clear to her that white power in Africa rested squarely on the use of black troops against black people, she understood the first and only carefully organized effort to undermine and destroy the effective employment and use of black soldiers by whites.The first and only Black leader in history who was ever known to undertake such a task. She had carefully selected groups of her own soldiers to infiltrate the Portuguese black armies, first separating and spreading out individually into Portuguese held territory and allowing themselves to be “induced” by Portuguese recruiting agents to join their forces.

The quiet effective work of Nzinga’s agents among the black troops of Portugal was one of the most glorious, yet unsung, pages in African history. For whole companies rebelled and deserted to the colors of the black queen, taking with them the much needed guns and ammunition which she had been unable to secure except by swiftly moving surprise attacks on enemy units. The Queen’s armies were further strengthen by the runaway slaves who streamed into the only certain haven for the free on the whole continent of Africa. To the Portuguese, Queen Nzinga had passed the last word in unheard of audacity when she was able to influence scores of vassal chiefs to rebel against them and join the cause of their own race.This was too much.This woman had to be destroyed. It had come to that.

The Portuguese captured her stronghold in the Cuanza river in July 1626…With Nzinga’s flight from Angola it appeared that the black menace was over and victory complete. Aidi Kilujani was crowned King Phillip I of Ndongo. But the solidarity of the Blacks remained unbroken, however and their loyalty to Nzinga remained steadfast. She was “just away for a little while,”and would soon return. Any child in the most distant bush could tell you that their Queen was “just away on business.” So who was this Phillip? His name said he was a Portuguese, so he couldn’t be king of Ndongo. All Angolan kings and queens were so African that they couldn’t be tricked out of their own African names. The Queen herself had dropped “Ann” from her name when she discovered that baptizing a Black into Christianity meant surrendering his soul and body not to any Christ, but to the white man. And oral tradition further has it that the people not only rejected “Phillip I,” but made fun of the very idea that he considered himself to be king. Their blind faith in their Queen and the certainty of her return, according to the same oral record, was not really so blind. Those who understood the coded drum messages spread the news that all guerilla attacks which occurred throughout the land were attacks which were personally directed by the queen and that, in fact, she was raising a new army of liberation. Her loyal chiefs and people in Ndongo were to stand by, ready.


In November, 1627, She crossed the borders back into her country at the head of a strong army, made stronger & stronger as her loyal chiefs and wildly cheering people, including her fanatically devoted freed men, flocked to her standard as she swept forward to recapture the Cuanza stronghold held by Phillip I and put him to flight. The Portuguese continued to be amazed at this display of black unity and under a woman’s leadership at that. Black unity was now seen clearly as Black Power, and that meant an unconquerable people. The Portuguese were resolved to break that unity and the power that developed from it. The revolt against them had become general as Nzinga’s victorious forces advanced. The Portuguese retreated to their own strongholds on the coast, giving the “Dutch threat” as an excuse and not the threat of being annihilated by the Queen’s forces.

As there was in fact no immanent Dutch threat, the Portuguese regrouped and strengthened their forces for an all-out war to destroy Nzinga and this time, not to cease fighting until this was done. They began by giving orders and offering a big reward for her capture, dead or alive. Their slave troops, still the backbone of the Portuguese armed forces, were given the special inducements of land and freedom for her capture Realizing that such an all-out attempt to capture her meant that countless thousand of her people would die in her defense,  she outwitted the Portuguese again by slipping out of the country, instructing her lieutenants to spread the word everywhere that she had fled the country and, mistakenly entering the territory of an enemy, had been killed. There was general weeping and mourning throughout Ndong, real weeping and mourning, because the masses believed the story to be true. So did the Portuguese. The only reason for the war having been removed by providence, the Bishop could celebrate a special mass in celebration of this special blessing, and the colony of Angola could at at last be organized.

Then in 1629 the Portuguese stood aghast when Queen Nzinga “burst upon them from the grave ,” sweeping all opposition before her. She brought in her fierce Jaga allies (rivals), apparently wiling to do even this to defeat whites. The Portuguese were completely defeated. She had not only retaken her own country, but had, meanwhile become Queen of Matamba also, having replaced the weak Queen there. Nzinga was now an empress of two countries. She now redoubled her campaign against slavery and the slave trade by making both Ndongo and Matamba havens for all who could escape from the slaver by rebelling otherwise. Chiefs engaged in the traffic in nearby states now stood in fear of her wrath. The Portuguese saw “the writing on the wall.” In order order not to lose every foothold in the area, Lisbon suddenly remembered that it had never carried out the treaty signed with Nzinga in 1622, and declared that Portugal’s wars against her had been unjust! High level embassies were sent to the queen in 1639 in efforts to effect a settlement. Nzinga received them listened to their protestants of eternal friendship, and went ahead with determination in reorganizing both of the kingdoms and undermining colonial rule in areas held by the enemy. That every white man in Africa was an enemy of the Blacks was a matter about which there was no room for debate in her mind.

Even the holy robes of the priests in Angola not only covered their real mission as agents of the empire, but also covered their insatiable lust for the black bodies of their helpless slave girls. She had been forced by the actualities of black-white relations to distrust all whites, along with their tricky treaties.”

“By 1656, tired and weary from four decades of relentless struggles, she signed a treaty that was revised and made acceptable to her. There was seven more years of a busy life for Queen Nzinga - pushing reconstruction, the resettlement of ex-slaves, and undertaking the development of an economy of free men and women that would be able to succeed without the slave trade.

In the heart torn state of national mourning (Queen Nzinga’s death 1663) the  Queen’s council permitted two priests to come in and perform the last rites of the Church. Since the Queen had renounced the catholic religion many years before her passing, and had banned missions from her country as centers of subversion, this appearance of priests at the royal bedside may be explained either as a once a Catholic always a Catholic theory, or as an attempt by Catholic Portugal to give the appearance of final victory on all fronts. In this case it would mean that the most unconquerable of foes, recanting and submissive, had been conquered by their religion in the end. And so it is written in the official documents of Portugal, the written record used by almost all historians of Africa, that Nzinga had returned to the church that had baptized her as “Ann”. Yet she was one of the very first Blacks to see that the Portuguese conquests, the slave trade, and the Church were all inseparably one in the same. The long years of warfare had been equally against all three..The unholy trinity. And she had never surrendered. In 1963, three hundred years after her death, her people, now catholic themselves, did not believe she had returned to the church.”

- Chancellor Williams, THE DESTRUCTION OF BLACK CIVILIZATION.

News published by BBC on the 25th of April, 1974, regarding the Carnation Revolution:

Rebels seize control of Portugal

Army rebels are in control of Portugal tonight after an almost bloodless dawn coup ended nearly 50 years of dictatorship.

Shortly after midnight, tanks rolled into the centre of Lisbon. The Salazar Bridge over the River Tagus was seized and the airport, radio and television centres were taken.

Troops armed with machineguns stormed the barracks where the Prime Minister, Dr Marcello Caetano, and several of his ministers had taken refuge.

The former deputy armed forces minister, General Antoniio de Spinola, received the surrender of the prime minister, who has now fled into exile to the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Restore civil liberties

By sunrise the Movement of the Armed Forces, or MFA, was in control. It issued an immediate proclamation appealing for calm and patriotism.

After almost five decades of dictatorship, it promised to restore civil liberties and hold general elections to a national assembly as soon as possible.

The MFA condemned Portugal’s foreign policy. After 13 years of fighting, it said, Portugal had been unable to achieve peace “between Portuguese of all races and creeds”.

It also called for a clean-up of state-run institutions which had legitimised the abuse of power.

A seven-man junta, led by General Spinola, would oversee the transition period until democracy could be established.

General Spinola and his troops received a hero’s welcome from crowds, who gave them cigarettes, food, newspapers and carnations which were in full bloom at the time.

In one violent outburst, up to six civilians were killed after shots were fired from the headquarters of the police station - and troops responded by storming the building.

The Democratic Elections Commission group, which contested last year’s parliamentary elections against the Government, issued a statement today saying that the group considered as positive “an act which could lead to the overthrow of a regime which for 50 years has oppressed the people of Portugal.”

The majority of Portuguese troops, nearly 140,000 out of 204,000, are posted overseas, propping up Portugal’s tottering colonial empire in Angola, Guinea and Mozambique.

General Spinola was sacked from his job as deputy armed forces minister last month after writing a book, Portugal and the Future, in which he argued that the Portuguese could not win its African wars by military means alone.

He was Governor and Commander in Chief of Portuguese Guinea between 1968 and 1972 and was widely respected for trying to win over the hearts and minds of the local population.

His book was regarded as heretical by the country’s right-wing establishment - in particular his stated claim that Portugal was not defending the West and its civilization by colonising African states.

March 9, 1916 - Germany Declares War on Portugal

Pictured - Portuguese machine gunners in East Africa. Portugal and Germany had been fighting an undeclared war in Africa since 1914.

Portugal remained neutral at the beginning of World War I.  However, the nation increasingly became anxious about the safety of its African colonies, Angola and Mozambique, which bordered Germany’s African holdings, and when German soldiers intruded the two countries became involved in an undeclared colonial border war.  Tensions worsened further due to Germany’s sinking of neutral merchant vessels.  Furthermore, Portugal had become a republic in 1910, after a military revolution and since enacted a liberal constitution, and so it naturally favored the Entente. 

The undeclared conflict finished when Germany declared war on Portugal on March 9, 1916, in response to Portugal siezing German ships at harbor in Lisbon.  The Portuguese government responded by sending soldiers to join Britain’s East Africa Campaign, and began training a Portuguese Expeditionary Corps,(Corpo Expedicionário Português, CEP), of 30,000 soldiers, to be deployed on the Western Front.