Angola: Struggle for Peace and Reconstruction

By Inge Tvedten | Go to book overview
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tors mainly isolated from the national economy. Typically, the agricultural sector, on which the large majority of Africans depended, received only 3 percent of total investment between 1966 and 1970. And production of oil, coffee, diamonds, and iron ore, which represented 73 percent Angola's exports in 1973, was directed toward external markets. By 1973, Angola had become the world's third-largest producer of coffee, with a total output of 19,000 metric tons, and produced 51,000 metric tons of cotton, 50,000 metric tons of rice, and 13,000 metric tons of wheat that same year. Angola also had a considerable output of gem diamonds (2.4 million carats). The country produced over 600,000 metric tons of fish, had developed significant crude oil production of 150,000 barrels per day (b/d), and had a significant manufacturing sector (Economist Intelligence Unit 1987).

Toward the middle of the 1970s, however, the cost of three colonial wars had become too much to bear for Portugal. Around 11,000 Portuguese had died as a direct result of the wars in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau, 30,000 were wounded and hundreds of thousands of people had fled conscription. On April 25, 1974, the Armed Forces Movement overthrew the regime that had ruled Portugal since 1924. It soon became clear that the new Portuguese leaders intended to give Angola its independence. Three hundred thousand of the 340,000 Portuguese left Angola in a hurry, destroying economic installations and tapping Angola for vital manpower as they left.21

In the Alvor Agreement of January 1975, the MPLA, the FNLA, and UNITA agreed to form a transitional government and hold elections before independence in November 1975. As we shall see in the next chapter, however, the independence movements were not able to come to terms with each other, and a new war broke out that was to last uninterrupted for the next sixteen years.

A number of authors have emphasized this point, including Wheeler and Pélissier ( 1971:20), Broadhead ( 1992:9), and Collelo ( 1989:5).
There is a large body of anthropological literature from the preindependence period. See de Areia and Figueiras ( 1982) for a comprehensive bibliography.
This account leans heavily on seven publications on the history of Angola. These are Bender ( 1978), Birmingham ( 1966), Duffy ( 1962), Henderson ( 1979), Miller ( 1983), Vansina ( 1968), and Wheeler and Pélissier ( 1971). A historical dictionary of Angola ( Broadhead 1992) has also been actively used for cross-references. To avoid continuous repetition, references will only be given when information is taken from publications other than those listed above or where additional reading is suggested.
See, e.g., Maret ( 1982) and Birmingham ( 1994).
There are several (partly conflicting) points of view here as well concerning when and whence these migrations took place. See, for example, Oliver ( 1966) and Vansina ( 1984).
Population figures from the precolonial period are, for good reason, difficult to assess with accuracy. The figure of 4 million is taken from Altuna ( 1985).
Dr. Armindo Miranda, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway, personal communication, June 1993.


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