Portuguese Colonial War

  • portuguese colonial war
    guerra colonial portuguesa
    part of the decolonisation of africa and the cold war
    guerra colonial portuguesa.jpg
    date1961–1975
    location
    angola, guinea-bissau, and mozambique
    result portuguese military and strategic victory. carnation revolution: end of estado novo regime and subsequent independence of angola, cape verde, guinea bissau, mozambique and são tomé and principe
    territorial
    changes
    portuguese overseas territories in africa become independent.[2]
    belligerents

    portugal portugal

    • mpla
    • fnla
    • unita
    • flec
    • paigc
    • mozambique frelimo
    commanders and leaders
    generally:
    • portugal antónio de oliveira salazar
    • portugal marcelo caetano
    • portugal américo tomás
    angola:
    • portugal francisco da costa gomes
    portuguese guinea:
    • portugal antónio de spínola
    • portugal otelo saraiva de carvalho
    mozambique:
    • portugal antónio augusto dos santos (1964–69)
    • portugal kaúlza de arriaga (1969–74)
    angola:
    • agostinho neto
    • josé eduardo dos santos
    • lúcio lara
    • holden roberto
    • jonas savimbi
    portuguese guinea:
    • amílcar cabral
    • luís cabral
    • joão bernardo vieira
    • domingos ramos
    • pansau na isna
    • francisco mende
    mozambique:
    • mozambique eduardo mondlane (1962–69)
    • mozambique joaquim chissano (1962–75)
    • mozambique filipe samuel magaia (1964–66)
    • mozambique samora machel (1969–75)
    strength

    148,000 european portuguese regular troops

    • 65,000 in angola
    • 32,000 in portuguese guinea
    • 51,000 in mozambique

    40,000–60,000 guerrillas[3][circular reference] +30,000 in angola[3][circular reference]

    • 10,000 in portuguese guinea[3][circular reference]
    • 10–15,000 in mozambique[3][circular reference]
    casualties and losses
    • 8,289 killed[3][circular reference]
    • 15,507 wounded (physical and/or psychological)
    • c. 30,000 total killed in angola[4][circular reference]
    • c. 4,000 wounded in portuguese guinea
    • over 10,000 killed in mozambique
    civilian casualties:
    • 50,000 killed in mozambique[5]

    the portuguese colonial war (portuguese: guerra colonial portuguesa), also known in portugal as the overseas war (guerra do ultramar) or in the former colonies as the war of liberation (guerra de libertação), was fought between portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in portugal's african colonies between 1961 and 1975. the portuguese conservative and authoritarian regime at the time, estado novo, was overthrown by a military coup in 1974, and the change in government brought the conflict to an end. the war was a decisive ideological struggle in lusophone africa, surrounding nations, and mainland portugal.

    the prevalent portuguese and international historical approach considers the portuguese colonial war as was perceived at the time: a single conflict fought in three separate theaters of operations: angola, guinea-bissau and mozambique (sometimes including the 1954 indian annexation of dadra and nagar haveli and 1961 indian annexation of goa) rather than a number of separate conflicts as the emergent african countries aided each other during the war.

    unlike other european nations during the 1950s and 1960s, the portuguese estado novo regime did not withdraw from its african colonies, or the overseas provinces (províncias ultramarinas) as those territories had been officially called since 1951. during the 1960s, various armed independence movements became active: the people's movement for the liberation of angola, national liberation front of angola, national union for the total independence of angola in angola, african party for the independence of guinea and cape verde in portuguese guinea, and the mozambique liberation front in mozambique. during the ensuing conflict, atrocities were committed by all forces involved.[6]

    throughout the period portugal faced increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by the international community. by 1973, the war had become increasingly unpopular due to its length and financial costs, the worsening of diplomatic relations with other united nations members, and the role it had always played as a factor of perpetuation of the entrenched estado novo regime and the non-democratic status quo.

    the end of the war came with the carnation revolution military coup of april 1974. the withdrawal resulted in the exodus of hundreds of thousands of portuguese citizens[7] plus military personnel of european, african and mixed ethnicity from the former portuguese territories and newly independent african nations.[8][9][10] this migration is regarded as one of the largest peaceful migrations in the world's history.[11]

    the former colonies faced severe problems after independence. devastating and violent civil wars followed in angola and mozambique, which lasted several decades, claimed millions of lives, and resulted in large numbers of displaced refugees.[12] economic and social recession, authoritarianism, lack of democracy and other elemental civil and political rights, corruption, poverty, inequality, and failed central planning eroded the initial revolutionary zeal.[13][14][15] a level of social order and economic development comparable to what had existed under portuguese rule, including during the period of the colonial war, became the goal of the independent territories.[16]

    the former portuguese territories in africa became sovereign states, with agostinho neto in angola, samora machel in mozambique, luís cabral in guinea-bissau, manuel pinto da costa in são tomé and príncipe, and aristides pereira in cape verde as the heads of state.

  • political context
  • multiethnic societies, competing ideologies, and armed conflict in portuguese africa
  • the combatants
  • armament and tactics
  • opposition in portugal
  • aftermath
  • economic consequences of the war
  • films about the war
  • documentaries
  • see also
  • references
  • bibliography
  • external links

Portuguese Colonial War
Guerra Colonial Portuguesa
Part of the Decolonisation of Africa and the Cold War
Guerra Colonial Portuguesa.jpg
Date1961–1975
Location
Result Portuguese military and strategic victory. Carnation Revolution: end of Estado Novo regime and subsequent independence of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe
Territorial
changes
Portuguese overseas territories in Africa become independent.[2]
Belligerents

Portugal Portugal

Commanders and leaders
Generally: Angola: Portuguese Guinea: Mozambique: Angola: Portuguese Guinea:
Mozambique:
Strength

148,000 European Portuguese regular troops

  • 65,000 in Angola
  • 32,000 in Portuguese Guinea
  • 51,000 in Mozambique

40,000–60,000 guerrillas[3][circular reference] +30,000 in Angola[3][circular reference]

Casualties and losses
  • c. 30,000 total killed in Angola[4][circular reference]
  • c. 4,000 wounded in Portuguese Guinea
  • over 10,000 killed in Mozambique
Civilian casualties:
  • 50,000 killed in Mozambique[5]

The Portuguese Colonial War (Portuguese: Guerra Colonial Portuguesa), also known in Portugal as the Overseas War (Guerra do Ultramar) or in the former colonies as the War of Liberation (Guerra de Libertação), was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1975. The Portuguese conservative and authoritarian regime at the time, Estado Novo, was overthrown by a military coup in 1974, and the change in government brought the conflict to an end. The war was a decisive ideological struggle in Lusophone Africa, surrounding nations, and mainland Portugal.

The prevalent Portuguese and international historical approach considers the Portuguese Colonial War as was perceived at the time: a single conflict fought in three separate theaters of operations: Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique (sometimes including the 1954 Indian Annexation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and 1961 Indian Annexation of Goa) rather than a number of separate conflicts as the emergent African countries aided each other during the war.

Unlike other European nations during the 1950s and 1960s, the Portuguese Estado Novo regime did not withdraw from its African colonies, or the overseas provinces (províncias ultramarinas) as those territories had been officially called since 1951. During the 1960s, various armed independence movements became active: the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, National Liberation Front of Angola, National Union for the Total Independence of Angola in Angola, African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde in Portuguese Guinea, and the Mozambique Liberation Front in Mozambique. During the ensuing conflict, atrocities were committed by all forces involved.[6]

Throughout the period Portugal faced increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by the international community. By 1973, the war had become increasingly unpopular due to its length and financial costs, the worsening of diplomatic relations with other United Nations members, and the role it had always played as a factor of perpetuation of the entrenched Estado Novo regime and the non-democratic status quo.

The end of the war came with the Carnation Revolution military coup of April 1974. The withdrawal resulted in the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Portuguese citizens[7] plus military personnel of European, African and mixed ethnicity from the former Portuguese territories and newly independent African nations.[8][9][10] This migration is regarded as one of the largest peaceful migrations in the world's history.[11]

The former colonies faced severe problems after independence. Devastating and violent civil wars followed in Angola and Mozambique, which lasted several decades, claimed millions of lives, and resulted in large numbers of displaced refugees.[12] Economic and social recession, authoritarianism, lack of democracy and other elemental civil and political rights, corruption, poverty, inequality, and failed central planning eroded the initial revolutionary zeal.[13][14][15] A level of social order and economic development comparable to what had existed under Portuguese rule, including during the period of the Colonial War, became the goal of the independent territories.[16]

The former Portuguese territories in Africa became sovereign states, with Agostinho Neto in Angola, Samora Machel in Mozambique, Luís Cabral in Guinea-Bissau, Manuel Pinto da Costa in São Tomé and Príncipe, and Aristides Pereira in Cape Verde as the heads of state.