Portuguese Colonial War

Portuguese Colonial War
Portuguese Colonial War
Portuguese troops embarking to go to the Colonial War
Date 1961–1974
Location Angola, Portuguese Guinea and Mozambique
Result Independence of all Portuguese colonial possessions after the Carnation Revolution military coup in Lisbon[1][2]
Portugal Portugal

Supported by:
South Africa South Africa
Malawi Malawi
NATO NATO (marginally, with great restrictions)

African independence movements (1961-74):

Mozambique FRELIMO

Supported by:
 Soviet Union
 United States (at times, including JFK era)
 People's Republic of China
Republic of the Congo Congo-Brazzaville
Warsaw Pact (marginally)

Commanders and leaders
Portugal Francisco da Costa Gomes
Portugal António de Spínola
Portugal António Augusto dos Santos (1964–69),
Portugal Kaúlza de Arriaga (1969–74)
Agostinho Neto
Lúcio Lara
Jonas Savimbi
Holden Roberto
Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde:
Amílcar Cabral
Luís Cabral
Aristides Pereira
Mozambique Eduardo Mondlane (1962–69)
Mozambique Filipe Samuel Magaia (1964–66)
Mozambique Samora Moïses Machel (1969–75)
São Tomé and Príncipe:
Manuel Pinto da Costa
65,000 in Angola
32,000 in Guinea-Bissau
51,000 in Mozambique
38,000-53,000 + ? Guerrilla
18,000 in Angola
10,000 in Guinea-Bissau
10-15,000 in Mozambique
Casualties and losses
8,289 dead

15,507 with permanent deficiency (physical or psychological)

50,000 in Angola

~6,000 killed
~4,000 wounded in Guinea-Bissau
>10,000 killed in Mozambique

Civilian casualties:
50,000 killed in Mozambique [4]

The Portuguese Colonial War (Portuguese: Guerra Colonial), 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 1974, when the Portuguese regime was overthrown by a military coup. It was a decisive ideological struggle and armed conflict of the Cold War in African (Portuguese-Africa and surrounding nations) and European (mainland Portugal) scenarios. Unlike other European nations, the Portuguese Estado Novo regime did not leave its African colonies, or the overseas provinces (províncias ultramarinas) as those overseas territories were officially called since 1951, during the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s, various armed independence movements became active in these Portugal-administered territories, namely in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea. During the war, several atrocities were committed by all forces involved in the conflict. The decolonization and independence of several African states after the World War II, the Invasion of Goa by Indian Armed Forces and the Santa Maria hijacking, as well as the achievements of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, were also signs of the so called "Winds of change" supporting and giving context to the emergence of independence movements in Portuguese Africa.

Throughout the war period Portugal faced increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by most of the international community. The combined guerrilla forces of the MPLA, the UNITA, and the FNLA, in Angola, PAIGC in Portuguese Guinea, and FRELIMO in Mozambique, succeeded in their 13-year-long pro-independence rebellion through guerrilla warfare and terrorism, when low-ranking elements of the Portuguese Armed Forces staged a military coup at Lisbon in April 1974.[5][6] The Portuguese Armed Forces' Movimento das Forças Armadas overthrew the Lisbon government in protest of ongoing wars that seemed to have no military end in sight, as well as in rebellion against the new Military Laws that were to be presented next year (Decree Law: Decretos-Leis n.os 353, de 13 de Julho de 1973, e 409, de 20 de Agosto).[7][8][9][10][11] The revolutionary Portuguese government removed its overseas military forces and agreed to a quick handover of power for the nationalistic African guerrillas.

The end of the war after the Carnation Revolution military coup of April 1974 in Lisbon resulted in the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Portuguese citizens[12] plus the military personnel of European, African and mixed ethnicity from the newly-independent African territories to Portugal. Over 1 million people left these former colonies, predominantly Angola and Mozambique, the largest overseas provinces by then.[13][14][15] This migration is regarded as one of the largest peaceful migrations in the world's history.[16] Devastating civil wars followed in Angola and Mozambique, which lasted several decades and claimed millions of lives and refugees.[17] The former colonies faced severe problems after independence. Economic and social recession, Marxist totalitarianism, corruption, poverty, inequality and failed central planning eroded the initial revolutionary fervour.[18][19] A level of social order and economic development comparable to what had existed under Portuguese rule became the goal of the independent territories.[20]

Portugal had been the first European power to establish a colony in Africa when it captured Ceuta in 1415; it became one of the last to leave. The former Portuguese territories in Africa became sovereign states, with Agostinho Neto in Angola, Samora Machel in Mozambique and Luís Cabral in Guinea-Bissau as the heads of state.


Political context

Age of Discovery

When the Portuguese began trading on the west coast of Africa, in the 15th century, they concentrated their energies on Guinea and Angola. Hoping at first for gold, they soon found that slaves were the most valuable commodity available in the region for export. The Islamic Empire was already well established in the African slave trade, for centuries linking it to the Arab slave trade. However, the Portuguese who had conquered the Islamic port of Ceuta in 1415 and several other towns in current day Morocco in a Crusade against Islamic neighbours, managed to successfully establish themselves in the area. But the Portuguese never established much more than a foothold in either place. In Guinea, rival Europeans grabbed much of the trade (mainly slaves) while local African rulers confined the Portuguese to the coast. These rulers then sent enslaved Africans to the Portuguese ports and forts in Africa from where they were exported. Thousands of kilometers down the coast, in Angola, the Portuguese found it even harder to consolidate their early advantage against encroachments by Dutch, British and French rivals. Nevertheless the fortified Portuguese towns of Luanda (established in 1587 with 400 Portuguese settlers) and Benguela (a fort from 1587, a town from 1617) remained almost continuously in Portuguese hands. As in Guinea, the slave trade became the basis of the local economy in Angola - with raids carried ever farther inland to procure captives that were sold by African warriors after one of many interethnic skirmishes was resumed. More than a million men, women and children were shipped from here across the Atlantic. In this region, unlike Guinea, the trade remained largely in Portuguese hands. Nearly all the slaves were destined for Brazil. In Mozambique, reached in the 15th century by Portuguese sailors in order to discover a maritime spice trade route, the Portuguese settled along the coast and made their way into the hinterland as sertanejos (backwoodsmen). These sertanejos lived alongside Swahili traders and even took up service among Shona kings as interpreters and political advisors. One such sertanejo managed to travel through almost all the Shona kingdoms, including the Mutapa Empire's (Mwenemutapa) metropolitan district, between 1512 and 1516.[21] By the 1530s, small groups of Portuguese traders and prospectors penetrated the interior regions seeking gold, where they set up garrisons and trading posts at Sena and Tete on the Zambezi River and tried to gain exclusive control over the gold trade. The Portuguese finally entered into direct relations with the Mwenemutapa in the 1560s.[22] However, it was also in the coastal strip that the Portuguese traders and explorers settled permanently with more success and would establish strongholds safe from their main rivals in East Africa - the Omani Arabs, including those of Zanzibar.

Scramble for Africa and the World Wars

Portugal's colonial claim to the region was recognized by the other European powers during the 1880s, during the Scramble for Africa, and the final boundaries of Portuguese Africa were agreed by negotiation in Europe in 1891. At the time Portugal was in effective control of little more than the coastal strip of both Angola and Mozambique, but important inroads into the interior had been made since the first half of the 19th century. In Angola, construction of a railway from Luanda to Malanje, in the fertile highlands, is started in 1885. Work begins in 1902 on a commercially more significant line from Benguela all the way inland to the Katanga region, aiming to provide access to the sea for the richest mining district of the Belgian Congo. The line reaches the Congo border in 1928. In 1914, both Angola and Mozambique had Portuguese army garrisons of around 2,000 men, African troops led by European officers. With the outbreak of the World War I in 1914, Portugal sent reinforcements to both colonies, because the fighting in the neighbouring German African colonies would probably spill over the borders into its territories. After Germany declared war on Portugal in March 1916 the Portuguese government sent more reinforcements to Mozambique (the South Africans had captured German South West Africa in 1915). These troops supported British, South African and Belgian military operations against German colonial forces in German East Africa. In December 1917, German colonial forces led by Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck invaded Mozambique from German East Africa. Portuguese, British and Belgian forces spent all of 1918 chasing Lettow-Vorbeck and his men across Mozambique, German East Africa and Northern Rhodesia. Portugal sent a total of 40,000 reinforcements to Angola and Mozambique during the World War I. By this time the regime in Portugal has been through two violent transitions, from monarchy to republic in 1910 and then to a military dictatorship after a coup in 1926. The effect of these changes in Angola is a tightening of Portuguese control. In the early years of the expanded and estabilized colony, there was a continuation of the almost endemic warfare between the Portuguese and the various African rulers of the region, as were endemic warfare between the various African rulers. A systematic campaign of conquest and pacification was undertaken by the Portuguese. One by one the local kingdoms were overwhelmed and abolished. By the middle of the 1920s the whole of Angola is under control. There was no longer slavery in Portuguese Africa, but the plantations were worked on a system of paid but forced African labour composed by the large majority of ethnic Africans who did not have resources to pay their taxes and were considered unemployed by the authorities. After the World War II and the first decolonization events, this system gradually fell into disuse. However, paid forced labour, including labour contracts with forced relocation of people, continued in many regions of Portuguese Africa and only would be abolished in 1961.

Post-World War II

Portuguese territories in Africa by the time of the Colonial War.

In the late 1950s, the Portuguese Armed Forces saw themselves confronted with the paradox generated by the dictatorial regime of the Estado Novo that had been in power since 1926: on the one hand, the policy of Portuguese neutrality in World War II placed the Portuguese Armed Forces out of the way of a possible East-West conflict; on the other hand, the regime felt the increased responsibility of keeping Portugal's vast overseas territories under control and protect the populations there. Portugal, a neutral country in the war against Germany (1939–1945) before the foundation of NATO, joined that organization as a founding member in 1949, and was integrated within the military commands of NATO. The NATO focus against the threat of a conventional Soviet attack against Western Europe was to the detriment of military preparations against guerrilla uprisings in Portugal's overseas provinces that were considered essential for the survival of the nation. The integration of Portugal in the Atlantic Alliance would form a military élite that would become essential during the planning and implementation of the operations during the Overseas War. This "NATO generation" would ascend quickly to the highest political positions and military command without having to provide evidence of loyalty to the regime. The Colonial War would establish, in this way, a split between the military structure—heavily influenced by the western powers with democratic governments—and the political power of the regime. Some analysts see the "Botelho Moniz coup" (also known as A Abrilada) against the Portuguese government and backed by the U.S. administration,[23] as the beginning of this rupture, the origin of a lapse on the part of the regime to keep up a unique command center, an armed force prepared for threats of conflict in the colonies. This situation would cause, as would be verified later, a lack of coordination between the three general staffs (Army, Air Force and Navy).

The United States supported the Union of Peoples of Angola (UPA - União dos Povos de Angola), headed by Holden Roberto. With this support, the Congo-Léopoldville-based UPA attacked Portuguese settlers and Africans living in Angola from bases in the Congo.[24] Many of the African farm workers living in northern Angola worked under labour contracts that required seasonal relocation of workers from the desertified Southwest and Bailundo areas of Angola. Photos of Africans killed by the UPA, which included photos of decapitated civilians, men, women and children of both white and black ethnicity, would later be displayed in the UN by Portuguese diplomats.[25] The emergence of labor protests, attacks by newly-organized guerrilla movements, and the Santa Maria hijacking by Henrique Galvão began a path to open warfare in Angola.

According to historical researchers like José Freire Antunes, U.S. President John F. Kennedy[26] sent a message to Salazar advising Portugal to abandon its African colonies shortly after the outbreak of violence in 1961. Instead, after a coup led by pro-U.S. forces failed to depose him, Salazar consolidated power and immediately set to protect the overseas territories by sending reinforcements, setting the stage for continued conflict in Angola. Similar scenarios would play out in other overseas Portuguese territories.

Multiethnic societies, competing ideologies, and armed conflict in Portuguese Africa

By the 1950s, the European mainland Portuguese territory was inhabited by a society that was poorer and had a much higher illiteracy rate than the average Western European societies or those of North America. It was ruled by an authoritarian and conservative right-leaning dictatorship, known as the Estado Novo regime. By this time, the Estado Novo regime ruled both the Portuguese mainland and several centuries-old overseas territories as theoretically co-equal departments. The possessions were Angola, Cape Verde, Macau, Mozambique, Portuguese Guinea, Portuguese India, Portuguese Timor, São João Baptista de Ajudá and São Tomé and Príncipe. In reality, the relation of mainland Portuguese to their overseas possessions was that of colonial administrator to a subservient colony. Political, legislative, administrative, commercial and other institutional relations between the colonies and Portugal-based individuals and organizations were numerous, though migration to, from, and between Portugal and its overseas departments was limited in size, due principally to the long distance and low annual income of the average Portuguese as well that of the indigenous population.

An increasing number of African anti-colonial movements called for total independence of the overseas African territories from Portugal. Some, like the U.S.-backed UPA[27] wanted national self-determination, while others wanted a new form of government based on Marxist principles. Portuguese leaders, including Salazar, attempted to stave off calls for independence by defending a policy of assimilation, multiracialism, and civilising mission, or Lusotropicalism, as a way of integrating Portuguese colonies, and their peoples, more closely with Portugal itself.[28] For the Portuguese ruling regime, the overseas empire was a matter of national interest, to be preserved at all costs. As far back as 1919, a Portugese delegate to the International Labour Conference in Geneva declared: "The assimilation of the so-called inferior races, by cross-breeding, by means of the Christian religion, by the mixing of the most widely divergent elements; freedom of access to the highest offices of state, even in Europe - these are the principles which have always guided Portuguese colonisation in Asia, in Africa, in the Pacific, and previously in America."[29] However, even as late as the 1950s the policy of 'colorblind' access and mixing of races did not extend to all of Portugal's African territories, particularly Mozambique, where in tune with other minority white regimes of the day in southern Africa, the territory was segregated along racial lines. Strict qualification criteria ensured that less than one per cent of black Mozambicans became full Portuguese citizens.[30]

Numerous subsidies were offered by the Estado Novo regime to those Portuguese who agreed to settle in Angola or Mozambique, including a special premium for each Portuguese man who agreed to marry an African woman.[31] Salazar himself was fond of restating the old Portuguese policy maxim that any indigenous resident of Portugal's African territories was in theory eligible to become a member of Portuguese government, even its President. In practice, this never took place, though trained black Africans living in Portugal's overseas African possessions were allowed to occupy positions in a variety of areas including the military, the civil service, the clergy, education, and private business - providing they had the requisite education and technical skills. While access to basic, secondary and technical education remained poor until the 1960s, a few Africans were able to attend schools locally or in some cases in Portugal itself. This resulted in the advancement of certain black Portuguese Africans who would become prominent individuals during the war and its aftermath, including Samora Machel, Mário Pinto de Andrade, Marcelino dos Santos, Eduardo Mondlane, Agostinho Neto, Amílcar Cabral, Jonas Savimbi, Joaquim Chissano, and Graça Machel. Two state-run universities were founded in Portuguese Africa in the 1962 by the Minister of the Overseas Adriano Moreira (the Universidade de Luanda in Angola and the Universidade de Lourenço Marques in Mozambique, awarding a range of degrees from engineering to medicine[32]); however, most of their students came from Portuguese families living in the two territories). Several personalities in Portuguese society, including one of the most idolized sports stars in Portuguese football history, a black football player from Portuguese East Africa named Eusébio, were other examples of efforts towards assimilation and multiracialism in the Post-World War II period.

According to Mozambican historian João Paulo Borges Coelho,[33] the Portuguese colonial army was largely segregated along terms of race and ethnicity until 1960. There were originally three classes of soldier in Portuguese overseas service: commissioned soldiers (whites), overseas soldiers (African assimilados), and native or indigenous Africans (indigenato). These categories were re-named to 1st, 2nd and 3rd class in 1960 - which effectively corresponded to the same categories. Later, after official discrimination based on skin colour was outlawed, some Portuguese commanders such as General António de Spínola began a process of Africanization of Portuguese forces fighting in Africa. In Portuguese Guinea, this included a large increase in African recruitment along with the establishment of all-black military formations such as the Black Militias (Milícias negras) commanded by Major Carlos Fabião and the African Commando Battalion (Batalhão de Comandos Africanos) commanded by General Almeida Bruno.[34] While black African soldiers constituted a mere 18% of the total number of troops fighting in Portugal's African territories in 1961, this percentage would rise dramatically over the next thirteen years, with black soldiers constituting over 50% of all government forces fighting in Africa by April 1974. Coelho noted that perceptions of African soldiers varied a good deal among senior Portuguese commanders during the conflict in Angola, Guinea and Mozambique. General Francisco da Costa Gomes, perhaps the most successful counterinsurgency commander, sought good relations with local civilians and employed African units within the framework of an organized counter-insurgency plan.[35] General António de Spínola, by contrast, appealed for a more political and psycho-social use of African soldiers.[35] On the other hand, General Kaúlza de Arriaga, the most conservative of the three, appears to have doubted the reliability of African forces outside his strict control, while continuing to view African soldiers as inferior to Portuguese troops.[35][36]

Native African troops, although widely deployed were initially employed in subordinate roles as enlisted troops or noncommissioned officers. As the war went on, an increasing number of native Angolans rose to positions of command, though of junior rank. After 500 years of colonial occupation, not only had Portugal failed to produce any native black governor, headmaster, police inspector, or professor, it had also failed to produce a single commander of senior commissioned rank in the overseas Army. Here Portuguese colonial administrators fell victim to their own legacy of discriminatory polices, which largely barred indigenous people from an equal and adequate education until well after the outbreak of the insurgency.[37] With illiteracy rates approaching 99 per cent and almost no African enrollment in secondary schools,[37] few African candidates could qualify for Portugal's officer candidate programs; most African officers obtained their commission as the result of individual competence and valour on the battlefield.

Despite these handicaps, while the overwhelming majority of black or native African soldiers served in the enlisted ranks, an increasing percentage were serving as noncommissioned or commissioned officers by the 1970s, including such officers as Captain (later Lt. Colonel) Marcelino da Mata, a black Portuguese citizen born of Guinean parents who rose to command from a first sergeant in a road engineering unit to a commander in the elite all-African Comandos Africanos, where he eventually became one of the most-decorated soldiers in the Portuguese Army.

After the World War II, as communist and anti-colonial ideologies spread across Africa, many clandestine political movements were established in support of independence using various interpretations of Marxist revolutionary ideology. These new movements seized on anti-Portuguese and anti-colonial sentiment[38] to advocate the complete overthrow of existing governmental structures in Portuguese Africa. These Marxist movements alleged that Portuguese policies and development plans were primarily designed by the ruling authorities for the benefit of the territories' ethnic Portuguese population at the expense of local tribal control, the development of native communities, and the majority of the indigenous population, who suffered both state-sponsored discrimination and enormous social pressure to comply with government policies largely imposed from Lisbon. Many felt they had received too little opportunity or resources to upgrade their skills and improve their economic and social situation to a degree comparable to that of the Europeans. Statistically, Portuguese Africa's white Portuguese population were indeed wealthier and more educated than the indigenous majority.

After conflict erupted between the UPA and MPLA and Portugese military forces, U.S. President John F. Kennedy[26] advised António de Oliveira Salazar (via the US consulate in Portugal) that Portugal should abandon Portugal's African colonies. A failed Portuguese military coup known as the Abrilada, attempted in an effort to overthrow the authoritarian Estado Novo regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, received covert U.S support.[23] In response, Salazar moved to consolidate his power, ordering an immediate military response to the violence occurring in Angola. As the war progressed, Portugal rapidly increased its mobilized forces. Under the Salazar regime, a military draft required all males to serve three years of obligatory military service; many of those called-up to active military duty were deployed to combat zones in Portugal's African overseas provinces. The national service period was increased to four years in 1967, and virtually all conscripts faced a mandatory two-year tour of service in Africa.[39] The existence of the draft and likelihood of combat in African counterinsurgency operations would over time result in a sharp increase in emigration by Portuguese men seeking to avoid such service. By the end of the Portuguese colonial war in 1974, black African participation had become crucial due to declining numbers of recruits available from Portugal itself.[40]

Portuguese-held (green), disputed (yellow) and rebel-held areas (red) in Portuguese-Guinea and other colonies 1970.

While Portuguese forces had all but won the guerrilla war in Angola, and had stalemated FRELIMO in Mozambique, colonial forces were forced on the defensive in Guinea, where PAIGC forces had carved out a large area of the rural countryside under effective insurgent control, using Soviet-supplied AA cannon and ground-to-air missiles to protect their encampments from attack by Portuguese air assets.[41][42] Overall, the increasing success of Portuguese counterinsurgency operations and the inability or unwillingness of guerrilla forces to destroy the economy of Portugal's African territories was seen as a victory for the Portuguese government policies.

The Soviet Union,[43] realising that military success by insurgents in Angola and Mozambique was becoming increasingly remote, shifted much of its military support to the PAIGC in Guinea, while increasing diplomatic efforts to isolate Portugal from the world community.[44] The success of the socialist bloc in isolating Portugal diplomatically extended inside Portugal itself into the armed forces, where younger officers disenchanted with the Estado Novo regime and promotional opportunities began to identify ideologically with those calling for overthrow of the government and the establishment of a state based on Marxist principles.[45]

By early 1974, guerrilla operations in Angola and Mozambique had been reduced to sporadic ambush operations against the Portuguese in the rural countryside areas, far from the main centers of population.[40] The only exception was Portuguese Guinea, where PAIGC guerrilla operations, strongly supported by neighbouring allies like Guinea and Senegal, were largely successful in liberating and securing large areas of Portuguese Guinea. According some historians, Portugal recognized its inability to win the conflict in Guinea at the outset, but was forced to fight on to prevent an independent Guinea from serving as a inspirational model for insurgents in Angola and Mozambique.[46]

Despite continuing attacks by insurgent forces against targets throughout the Portuguese African territories, the economies of both Portuguese Angola and Mozambique had actually improved each year of the conflict, as well as the economy of Portugal proper.[47] Angola enjoyed an unprecedented economic boom during the 1960s, and the Portuguese government built new transportation networks to link the well-developed and highly urbanized coastal strip with the remote inland regions of the territory.[39] The number of ethnic European Portuguese migrants from mainland Portugal (the metrópole) continued to increase as well, though always constituting a small minority of each territory's total population.[48] Nevertheless, the costs of continuing the wars in Africa imposed a heavy burden on Portugal's resources; by the 1970s, the country was spending 40 per cent of its annual budget on the war effort.[39]

The dismissal of General Spínola by Dr. Marcelo Caetano, the last prime minister of Portugal under the Estado Novo regime, over the general's publicly-announced desire to open negotiations with the PAIGC over Portuguese Guinea caused considerable public indignation in Portugal, and created favorable conditions for a military overthrow of the existing regime, which had lost all public support. On 25 April 1974 a military coup organized by left-wing Portuguese military officers - the Armed Forces Movement (MFA), overthrew the Estado Novo regime in what came to be known as the Carnation Revolution in Lisbon, Portugal.[45] The coup resulted in a period of economic collapse and political instability, but received general support from the public in its aim of ending the Portuguese war effort in Africa. Officers suspected of sympathizing with the prior regime, even black officers such as Captain Marcelino da Mata, were imprisoned and tortured, while African soldiers who had served in native Portuguese Army units were forced to petition for Portuguese citizenship or else face deportation to face their former enemies in Angola, Guinea, or Mozambique.

According to Tetteh Hormeku (Programme Officer with Third World Network's Africa Secretariat in Accra; 2008 North-South Institute's Visiting Helleiner Research Fellow), the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974 came as a shock to the United States and other Western powers, as most analysts and the Nixon administration had concluded that Portuguese military success on the battlefield would resolve any political divisions within Portugal concerning the conduct of the war in Portuguese Africa, providing the conditions for US investment there.[49] Most concerned was the apartheid government of South Africa, which launched a deep border incursion operation into Angola to attack guerrilla-controlled areas of the country following the coup.

The combatants


Overseas Province of Angola's coat of arms until 1975.
Portuguese soldiers in Angola.

On 3 January 1961 Angolan peasants in the region of Baixa de Cassanje, Malanje, boycotted the Cotonang Company's cotton fields where they worked, demanding better working conditions and higher wages. Cotonang, a company owned by Portuguese, British and German investors used native Africans to produce an annual cotton crop for export abroad. The uprising, later to become known as the Baixa de Cassanje revolt, was led by two previously unknown Angolans, António Mariano and Kulu-Xingu.[50] During the protests, African workers burned their identification cards and attacked Portuguese traders. The Portuguese Air Force responded to the rebellion by bombing twenty villages in the area, allegedly using napalm in an attack that resulted in some 400 indigenous Angolan deaths.[51][52]

In the Portuguese Overseas Province of Angola, the call for revolution was initially taken up by two insurgent groups, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), and the União das Populações de Angola (UPA), which changed its name to the Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA) in 1962. The MPLA commenced activities in an area of Angola known as the Zona Sublevada do Norte (ZSN or the Rebel Zone of the North), consisting of the provinces of Zaire, Uíge and Cuanza Norte. On February 4, 1961, using arms largely captured from Portuguese soldiers and police[53] 250 MPLA guerrillas attacked the São Paulo fortress prison and police headquarters in Luanda in an attempt to free what it termed 'political prisoners'. The attack was unsuccessful, and no prisoners were released, but seven Portuguese policemen and forty Angolans were killed, mostly MPLA insurgents.[53] Portuguese authorities responded with a sweeping counterinsurgency response in which over 5,000 Angolans were arrested, and a Portuguese mob raided the musseques (shanty towns) of Luanda, killing several dozen Angolans in the process.[54]

On March 15, 1961, the UPA led by Holden Roberto launched an incursion into the Bakongo region of northern Angola with 4,000-5,000 insurgents. The insurgents called for local Bantu farmworkers and villagers to join them, unleashing an orgy of violence and destruction. The insurgents attacked farms, government outposts, and trading centers, killing everyone they encountered. At least 1,000 Portuguese settlers and an unknown number of indigenous Angolans were killed.[55] The violence of the uprising received worldwide press attention and engendered sympathy for the Portuguese, while adversely affecting the international reputation of Roberto and the UPA.[56]

In response, Portuguese Armed Forces instituted a harsh policy of reciprocity by torturing and massacring rebels and protesters. Some Portuguese soldiers decapitated rebels and impaled their heads on stakes, pursuing a policy of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". Much of the initial offensive operations against Angolan UPA and MPLA insurgents was undertaken by four companies of Caçadores Especiais (Special Hunter) troops skilled in light infantry and antiguerrilla tactics, and who were already stationed in Angola at the outbreak of fighting.[57] Individual Portuguese counterinsurgency commanders such as Second Lieutenant Fernando Robles of the 6ª Companhia de Caçadores Especiais became well-known throughout the country for their ruthlessness in hunting down insurgents.[58]

The Portuguese Army steadily pushed the UPA back across the border into Congo-Kinshasha in a brutal counteroffensive that also displaced some 150,000 Bakongo refugees, taking control of Pedra Verde, the UPA's last base in northern Angola, on 20 September 1961.[56] Within the next few weeks Portuguese military forces pushed the MPLA out of Luanda northeast into the Dembos region, where the MPLA established the "1st Military Region". For the moment, the Angolan insurgency had been defeated, but new guerrilla attacks would later break out in other regions of Angola such as Cabinda province, the central plateaus, and eastern and southeastern Angola.

By most accounts, Portugal's counterinsurgency campaign in Angola was the most successful of all its campaigns in the Colonial War.[40] Angola is a large territory, and the long distances from safe havens in neighboring countries supporting the rebel forces made it difficult for the latter to escape detection. The distance from the major Angolan urban centres to the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia were so large that the eastern part of Angola's territory was known by the Portuguese as Terras do Fim do Mundo (the lands of the far side of the world). Another factor was internecine struggles between three competing revolutionary movements - (FNLA, MPLA, and UNITA) - and their guerrilla armies. For most of the conflict, the three rebel groups spent as much time fighting each other as they did fighting the Portuguese. For example, during the 1961 Ferreira Incident, a UPA patrol captured 21 MPLA insurgents as prisoners, then summarily executed them on 9 October, sparking open confrontation between the two insurgent groups. Strategy also played a role, as a successful hearts and minds campaign led by General Costa Gomes helped blunt the influence of the various revolutionary movements. Finally, unlike other overseas possessions, Portuguese Angola was able to receive support from a local ally, in this case South Africa. South African military operations proved to be of significant assistance to Portuguese military forces in Angola, who sometimes referred to their South African counter-insurgent counterparts as primos (cousins).

The campaign in Angola saw the development and initial deployment of several unique counter-insurgency forces:

  • Batalhões de Caçadores Pára-quedistas (Paratrooper Hunter Battalions): employed throughout the conflicts in Africa, were the first forces to arrive in Angola when the war began
  • Comandos (Commandos): born out of the war in Angola, and later used in Guinea and Mozambique
  • Caçadores Especiais (Special Hunters): were in Angola from the start of the conflict in 1961
  • Fiéis (Faithfuls): a force composed by Katanga exiles, black soldiers that opposed the rule of Mobutu
  • Leais (Loyals): a force composed by exiles from Zambia, black soldiers that were against Kenneth Kaunda
  • Grupos Especiais (Special Groups): units of volunteer black soldiers that had commando training; also used in Mozambique
  • Tropas Especiais (Special Troops): the name of Special Forces Groups in Cabinda
  • Flechas (Arrows): a successful indigenous formation of scouts, controlled by the PIDE/DGS, and composed by Bushmen that specialized in tracking, reconnaissance and pseudo-terrorist operations. Also employed in Mozambique, the Flechas inspired the formation of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts.
  • Grupo de Cavalaria Nº1 (1st Cavalry Group): a mounted cavalry unit, armed with the 7,62 mm Espingarda m/961 rifle and the m/961 Walther P-38 pistol, tasked with reconnaissance and patrolling. The 1st was also known as the "Angolan Dragoons" (Dragões de Angola). The Rhodesians would also later develop the concept of horse-mounted counter-insurgency forces, forming the Grey's Scouts.
  • Batalhão de Cavalaria 1927 (1927 Cavalry Battalion): a tank unit equipped with the M5A1 tank. The battalion was used for supporting infantry forces and as a rapid reaction force. Again the Rhodesians would copy this concept forming the Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment.

Portuguese Guinea

Overseas Province of Guinea's coat of arms until 1974.
A PAIGC checkpoint in 1974

In Portuguese Guinea (also simply referred to as Guinea at that time), the Marxist African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) started fighting in January 1963. Its guerrilla fighters attacked the Portuguese headquarters in Tite, located to the south of Bissau, the capital, near the Corubal river. Similar actions quickly spread across the entire colony, requiring a strong response from the Portuguese forces.

The war in Guinea has been termed "Portugal's Vietnam". The PAIGC was well-trained, well-led, and equipped and received substantial support from safe havens in neighbouring countries like Senegal and Guinea-Conakry. The jungles of Guinea and the proximity of the PAIGC's allies near the border proved to be of significant advantage in providing tactical superiority during cross-border attacks and resupply missions for the guerrillas. The conflict in Portuguese Guinea involving the PAIGC guerrillas and the Portuguese Army would prove the most intense and damaging of all conflicts in the Portuguese Colonial War, blocking Portuguese attempts to pacify the disputed territory via new economic and socioeconomic policies that had been applied with some success in Portuguese Angola and Portuguese Mozambique. In 1965 the war spread to the eastern part of Guinea; that same year, the PAIGC carried out attacks in the north of the territory where at the time only the Front for the Liberation and Independence of Guinea (FLING), a minor insurgent group, was active. By this time, the PAIGC had begun to openly receive military support from the Socialist Bloc, mainly from Cuba, and the Soviet Union.

In Guinea, the success of PAIGC guerrilla operations forced Portuguese armed forces on the defensive, and the latter were forced to limit their response to defending territories and cities already held. Unlike Portugal's other African territories, successful small-unit Portuguese counterinsurgency tactics were slow to evolve in Guinea. Defensive operations, where soldiers were dispersed in small numbers to guard critical buildings, farms, or infrastructure were particularly devastating to the regular Portuguese infantry, who became vulnerable to guerrilla attacks outside of populated areas by the forces of the PAIGC. They were also demoralized by the steady growth of PAIGC liberation sympathizers and recruits among the rural population. In a relatively short time, the PAIGC had succeeded in reducing Portuguese military and administrative control of the territory to a relatively small area of Guinea. The scale of this success can be seen in the fact that native Guineans in the 'liberated territories' ceased payment of debts to Portuguese landowners as well as payment of taxes to the colonial administration.[59] The branch stores of the Companhia União Fabril (CUF), Mario Lima Whanon, and Manuel Pinto Brandão companies were seized and inventoried by the PAIGC in the areas they controlled, while the use of Portuguese currency in the areas under guerrilla control was banned.[59] In order to maintain the economy in the liberated territories, the PAIGC was impelled an early stage to establish its own administrative and governmental bureaucracy, which organized agricultural production, educated PAIGC farmworkers on how to protect crops from destruction from aerial attack by the Portuguese Air Force, and opened armazens do povo (people's stores) to supply urgently needed tools and supplies in exchange for agricultural produce.[59]

In 1968, General António de Spínola, the Portuguese general responsible for the Portuguese military operations in Guinea, was appointed as governor. General Spínola began a series of civil and military reforms designed to weaken PAIGC control of the Guinea and rollback insurgent gains. This included a 'hearts and minds' propaganda campaign designed to win the trust of the indigenous population, an effort to eliminate some of the discriminatory practices against native Guineans, a massive construction campaign for public works including new schools, hospital, an improved telecommuncations and road network, and a large increase in recruitment of native Guineans into the Portuguese armed forces serving in Guinea as part of an Africanization strategy.

Until 1960, Portuguese military forces serving in Guinea were composed of units led by white officers, with commissioned soldiers (whites), overseas soldiers (African assimilados), and native or indigenous Africans (indigenato) serving in the enlisted ranks. These discriminatory colour bars to service were eliminated as part of an Africanization policy of General António de Spínola, which called for the integration of indigneous Guinea Africans into Portuguese military forces in Africa. Two special indigenous African counterinsurgency detachments were formed by the Portuguese Armed Forces. The first of these was the African Commandos (Comandos Africanos), consisting of a battalion of commandos composed entirely of black soldiers (including the officers). The second was the African Special Marines (Fuzileiros Especiais Africanos), Marine units entirely composed of black soldiers. The African Special Marines supplemented other Portuguese elite units conducting amphibious operations in the riverine areas of Guinea in an attempt to interdict and destroy guerrilla forces and supplies. General Spinola's Africanization policy also fostered a large increase in indigenous recruitment into the armed forces, culminating the establishment of all-black military formations such as the Black Militias (Milícias negras) commanded by Major Carlos Fabião.[34] By the early 1970s, an increasing percentage of Guineans were serving as noncommissioned or commissioned officers in Portuguese military forces in Africa, including such higher-ranking officers as Captain (later Lt. Colonel) Marcelino da Mata, a black Portuguese citizen born of Guinean parents who rose from a first sergeant in a road engineering unit to a commander in the Comandos Africanos.

During the latter part of the 1960s, military tactical reforms instituted by Gen. Spínola began to improve Portuguese counterinsurgency operations in Guinea. Naval amphibious operations were instituted to overcome some of the mobility problems inherent in the underdeveloped and marshy areas of the territory, utilizing Destacamentos de Fuzileiros Especiais (DFE) (special marine assault detachments) as strike forces. The Fuzileiros Especiais were lightly equipped with folding-stock m/961 (G3) rifles, 37mm rocket launchers, and light machine guns such as the Heckler & Koch HK21 to enhance their mobility in the difficult, swampy terrain.

Portugal commenced Operação Mar Verde or Operation Green Sea on 22 November 1970 in an attempt to overthrow Ahmed Sékou Touré, the leader of the Republic of Guinea and staunch PAIGC ally, to capture the leader of the PAIGC, Amilcar Cabral, and to cut off supply lines to PAIGC insurgents. The operation involved a daring raid on Conakry, a PAIGC safe haven, in which 400 Portuguese Fuzileiros (amphibious assault troops) attacked the city. The attempted coup d'etat failed, though the Portuguese managed to destroy several PAIGC ships and free hundreds of Portuguese POWs at several large POW camps. One immediate result of Operation Green Sea was an escalation in the conflict, with countries such as Algeria and Nigeria now offering support to the PAIGC as well as the Soviet Union, which sent warships to the region (known by NATO as the West Africa Patrol) in a show of force calculated to deter future Portuguese amphibious attacks on the territory of the Republic of Guinea.

Between 1968 and 1972, the Portuguese forces increased their offensive posture, in the form of raids into PAIGC-controlled territory. At this time Portuguese forces also adopted unorthodox means of countering the insurgents, including attacks on the political structure of the nationalist movement. This strategy culminated in the assassination of Amílcar Cabral in January 1973. Nonetheless, the PAIGC continued to increase its strength, and began to heavily press Portuguese defense forces. This became even more apparent after the PAIGC received heavy radar-guided anti-aircraft cannon and other AA munitions provided by the Soviets, including SA-7 shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, all of which seriously impeded Portuguese air operations.[42][60]

After the Carnation Revolution military coup in Lisbon on 25 April 1974, the new revolutionary leaders of Portugal and the PAIGC signed an accord in Algiers, Algeria in which Portugal agreed to remove all troops by the end of October and to officially recognize the Republic of Guinea-Bissau government controlled by the PAIGC, on 26 August 1974 and after a series of diplomatic meetings.[61] Demobilized by the Portuguese authorities and abandoned to their fate, a total of 7,447 black African soldiers who had served in Portuguese native commando forces and militia were summarily executed by the PAIGC after Portuguese forces ceased hostilities.[61][62][63]


Overseas Province of Mozambique's coat of arms until 1975.

The Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique was the last territory to start the war of liberation. Its nationalist movement was led by the Marxist-Leninist Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which carried out the first attack against Portuguese targets on September 24, 1964, in Chai, Cabo Delgado Province. The fighting later spread to Niassa, Tete in central Mozambique. A report from Battalion No. 558 of the Portuguese army makes references to violent actions, also in Cabo Delgado, on August 21, 1964.

On November 16 of the same year, the Portuguese troops suffered their first losses fighting in the north of the territory, in the region of Xilama. By this time, the size of the guerrilla movement had substantially increased; this, along with the low numbers of Portuguese troops and colonists, allowed a steady increase in FRELIMO's strength. It quickly started moving south in the direction of Meponda and Mandimba, linking to Tete with the aid of Malawi.

Until 1967 the FRELIMO showed less interest in Tete region, putting its efforts on the two northernmost districts of Mozambique where the use of landmines became very common. In the region of Niassa, FRELIMO's intention was to create a free corridor to Zambézia. Until April 1970, the military activity of FRELIMO increased steadily, mainly due to the strategic work of Samora Machel in the region of Cabo Delgado. The war in Mozambique saw a great involvement of Rhodesia, supporting the Portuguese troops in operations and even conducting operations independently. By 1973, the territory was mostly under Portuguese control.[64] The Operation "Nó Górdio" (Gordian Knot Operation) - conducted in 1970 and commanded by Portuguese Brigadier General Kaúlza de Arriaga - a conventional-style operation to destroy the guerrilla bases in the north of Mozambique, was the major military operation of the Portuguese Colonial War. A hotly disputed issue, the Gordian Knot Operation was considered by several historians and military strategists as a failure that even worsened the situation for the Portuguese, but according to others, including its main architect,[65] troops, and officials who had participated on both sides of the operation, including high ranked elements from the FRELIMO guerrilla, it was also globally described as a tremendous success of the Portuguese Armed Forces.[66] Arriaga, however, was removed from his powerful military post in Mozambique by Marcelo Caetano shortly before the events in Lisbon that would trigger the end of the war and the independence of the Portuguese territories in Africa. The reason for Arriaga's abrupt fate was an alleged incident with indigenous civilian populations, as well as Portuguese government's suspicion that Arriaga was planning a military coup against Marcelo's administration in order to avoid the rise of leftist influences in Portugal and the loss of the African overseas provinces.

The construction of the Cahora Bassa Dam tied up large numbers of Portuguese troops (near 50% of all the troops in Mozambique) and brought the FRELIMO to the Tete Province, closer to some cities and more populated areas in the south. Still, although the FRELIMO tried to halt and stop the construction of the dam, it was never able to do so. In 1974, the FRELIMO launched mortar attacks against Vila Pery (now Chimoio) an important city and the first (and only) heavy populated area to be hit by the FRELIMO.

In Mozambique special units were also used by the Portuguese Armed Forces:

  • Grupos Especiais (Special Groups): locally-raised counter-insurgency troops similar to those used in Angola
  • Grupos Especiais Pára-Quedistas (Paratrooper Special Groups): units of volunteer black soldiers that were given airborne training
  • Grupos Especiais de Pisteiros de Combate (Combat Tracking Special Groups): special units trained in tracking and locating guerrillas forces
  • Flechas (Arrows), a formation of indigenous scouts and trackers, similar to the one employed in Angola

Major counter-insurgency operations

Role of the Organisation of African Unity

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded May 1963. Its basic principles were co-operation between African nations and solidarity between African peoples. Another important objective of the OAU was an end to all forms of colonialism in Africa. This became the major objective of the organization in its first years and soon OAU pressure led to the situation in the Portuguese colonies being brought up at the UN Security Council.

The OAU established a committee based in Dar es Salaam, with representatives from Ethiopia, Algeria, Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania, Zaire, Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria, to support African liberation movements. The support provided by the committee included military training and weapon supplies.

The OAU also took action in order to promote the international acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile (GRAE), composed by the FNLA. This support was transferred to the MPLA and to its leader, Agostinho Neto in 1967. In November 1972, both movements were recognized by the OAU in order to promote their merger. After 1964, the OAU recognized PAIGC as the legitimate representatives of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde and in 1965 recognised FRELIMO for Mozambique.

Armament and tactics


In 1961 the Portuguese had 79,000 in arms - 58,000 in the Army, 8,500 in the Navy and 12,500 in the Air force (Cann, 1997). These numbers grew quickly. By the end of the conflict in 1974 due to the Carnation Revolution (a military coup in Lisbon), the total in the Portuguese Armed Forces had risen to 217,000.

Prior to their own Colonial War the Portuguese military had studied French and British efforts in Indo-China, Algeria and Malaya (Cann, 1997). Based on their analysis of operations in those theatres and considering their own situation in Africa, the Portuguese military took the unusual decision to restructure their entire armed forces, from top to bottom, for counterinsurgency. This transformation did, however, take seven years to complete and only saw its final form in 1968. By 1974 the counterinsurgency efforts were successful in the Portuguese territories of Angola and Mozambique, but in Portuguese Guinea the local guerrilla was making progresses. As the conflict escalated, the Portuguese authorities developed progressively tougher responses, these included the Gordian Knot Operation and the Operation Green Sea.

When conflict erupted in 1961, Portuguese forces were badly equipped to cope with the demands of a counter-insurgency conflict. It was standard procedure, up to that point, to send the oldest and most obsolete material to the colonies. Thus, initial military operations were conducted using World War II radios, the old m/937 7.92 mm Mauser rifle, and the equally elderly German m/938 7.92 mm (MG-13) Dreyse and Italian 8 mm x 59RB m/938 (Breda M37) machine guns.[67] Much of Portugal's older small arms derived from Germany in various deliveries made mostly before World War II. Later, Portugal would purchase arms and military equipment from France, West Germany, South Africa, and to a lesser extent, from Belgium, Israel, and the USA.

A Portuguese version of Heckler & Koch G3A3 was used as the standard infantry weapon for most of Portugal's forces. It would be produced in large quantities in the Fábrica do Braço de Prata small arms plant.

Within a short time, the Portuguese Army saw the need for a modern selective-fire combat rifle, and in 1961 adopted the 7.62 x 51 mm (7.62mm NATO) caliber Espingarda m/961 (Heckler & Koch G3) as the standard infantry weapon for most of its forces, that would be produced in large quantities in the Fábrica do Braço de Prata, a Portuguese small arms producer.[68] However, quantities of the 7.62 mm NATO FN and German G1 FAL rifle, known as the m/962, were also issued; the FAL was a favored weapon of members serving in elite commando units such as the Caçadores Especiais.[68] At the beginning of the war, the elite airborne units (Caçadores Pára-quedistas) rarely used the m/961, having adopted the ultra-modern 7.62 mm NATO ArmaLite AR-10 (produced by the Netherlands-based arms manufacturer Artillerie Inrichtingen) in 1960.[69][70] In the days before attached grenade launchers became standard, Portuguese paratroopers frequently resorted to the use of ENERGA anti-tank rifle grenades fired from their AR-10 rifles. Some Portuguese-model AR-10s were fitted with A.I.-modified upper receivers in order to mount 3x or 3.6x telescopic sights.[71] These rifles were used by marksmen accompanying small patrols to eliminate individual enemy at extended ranges in open country.[72] After Holland embargoed further sales of the AR-10, the paratroop battalions were issued a collapsible-stock version of the regular m/961 (G3) rifle, also in 7,62 mm NATO caliber.[73]

The powerful recoil and heavy weight of the 7.62mm x 51 NATO cartridge used in Portuguese rifle-caliber arms such as the m/961 limited the amount of ammunition that could be carried as well as accuracy in automatic fire, generally precluding the use of the latter except in emergencies. Instead, most infantryman used their rifles to fire individual shots. While the heavy m/961 and its relatively lengthy barrel were well-suited to patrol operations in open savannah, it tended to put Portuguese infantry at a disadvantage when clearing the low-ceilinged interiors of native buildings or huts, or when moving through thick bush, where ambush by a concealed insurgent with an automatic weapon was always a possibility. In these situations the hand grenade often became a more useful weapon than the rifle.

For the light machine-gun role, the German MG42 in 7,92 mm and later 7,62 mm NATO caliber was used until 1968, when the 7,62 mm m/968 Metralhadora Ligeira became available. Some 9 mm x 19 mm submachine guns, including the Austrian Steyr MP34 m/942, the Portuguese FBP m/948, and the Uzi were also used, mainly by officers, horse-mounted cavalry, reserve and paramilitary units, and security forces.[67]

A Portuguese Air Force Alouette III helicopter deploying paratroopers armed with 7.62mm ArmaLite AR-10 rifles during an assault operation in Angola.

To destroy enemy emplacements, other weapons were employed, including the 37 mm (1.46 in), 60 mm (2.5 in), and 89 mm (3.5 in.) Lança-granadas-foguete (Bazooka), along with several types of recoilless rifles.[73][74] Because of the mobile nature of counterinsurgency operations, heavy support weapons were less frequently used. However, the m/951 12.7 mm (.50 caliber) U.S. M2 Browning heavy machine gun saw service in both ground and vehicle mounts, as well as 60 mm, 81 mm, and later, 120 mm mortars.[74] Artillery and mobile howitzers were used in a few operations.

Mobile ground operations consisted of patrol sweeps by armored car and reconnaissance vehicles. Supply convoys used both armored and unarmored vehicles. Typically, armored vehicles would be placed at the front, center, and tail of a motorized convoy. Several armored cars were used, including the Panhard AML, Panhard EBR, Fox and (in the 70s) the Chaimite.

A Portuguese F-84 being loaded with ordnance in the 1960s, at Luanda Air Base.
The Portuguese Airforce employed Fiat G91 aircraft like this in the Portuguese Colonial War.

Unlike the Vietnam War, Portugal's limited national resources did not allow for widespread use of the helicopter. Only those troops involved in raids (also called golpe de mão (hand blow) in Portuguese) - mainly Commandos and Paratroopers - would deploy by helicopter. Most deployments were either on foot or in vehicles (Berliet and Unimog trucks). The helicopters were reserved for support (in a gunship role) or MEDEVAC. The Alouette III was the most widely-used helicopter, although the Puma was also used with great success. Other aircraft were employed: for air support the T6, the F-86 Sabre and the Fiat G.91 were used; for reconnaissance the Dornier Do 27 was employed. In the transport role, the Portuguese Air Force originally used the Junkers Ju 52, followed by the Nord Noratlas, the C-54 Skymaster, and the C-47 (all of these aircraft were also used for Paratroop drop operations). From 1965, Portugal began to purchase the Fiat G.91 to deploy to its African overseas territories of Mozambique, Guinea and Angola in the close-support role.[75] The first 40 G.91 were purchased second-hand from the Luftwaffe, out of the aircraft that had originally been produced for Greece and which differed from the rest of the Luftwaffe G.91s sufficiently to create maintenance problems. The aircraft replaced the Portuguese F-86 Sabre.

The Portuguese Navy (particularly the Marines, known as Fuzileiros) made extensive use of patrol boats, landing craft, and Zodiac inflatable boats. They were employed especially in Guinea, but also in the Congo River (and other smaller rivers) in Angola and in the Zambezi (and other rivers) in Mozambique. Equipped with standard or collapsible-stock m/961 rifles, grenades, and other gear, they utilized small boats or patrol craft to infiltrate guerrilla positions. In an effort to intercept infiltrators, the Fuzileiros even manned small patrol craft on Lake Malawi. The Navy also used Portuguese civilian cruisers as troop transports, and drafted Portuguese Merchant Navy personnel to man ships carrying troops and material and into the Marines.

Native black warriors were employed in Africa by the Portuguese colonial rulers since the 16th century. Portugal had employed regular native troops (companhias indigenas) in its colonial army since the early nineteenth century. After 1961, with the beginning of the colonial wars in its overseas territories, Portugal began to incorporate black Portuguese Africans into integrated units as part of the war effort in Angola, Portuguese Guinea, and Mozambique, based on concepts of multi-racialism and preservation of the empire. African participation on the Portuguese side of the conflict varied from marginal roles as laborers and informers to participation in highly-trained operational combat units like the Flechas. As the war progressed, use of African counterinsurgency troops increased; on the eve of the military coup of 25 April 1974, black ethnic Africans accounted for more than 50 percent of Portuguese forces fighting the war.

From 1961 to the end of the Colonial War, the paratrooper nurses nicknamed Marias, were women who served the Portuguese armed forces being deployed in Portuguese Africa's dangerous guerrilla-infiltrated combat zones to perform rescue operations.[76][77]

Throughout the war period Portugal had to deal with increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by most of the international community. The later included UN-sponsored sanctions, Non-Aligned Movement-led defamation, and myriad boycotts and protests performed by both foreign and domestic political organizations, like the clandestine Portuguese Communist Party (PCP). Near the end of the conflict, a report by the controversial priest Adrian Hastings, alleging atrocities and war crimes of the Portuguese military, was printed a week before the Portuguese prime minister Marcelo Caetano was due to visit Britain to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance in 1973. Portugal's growing isolation following Hastings's claims has often been cited as a factor that helped to bring about the "carnation revolution" coup in Lisbon which deposed the Caetano regime in 1974, ending the Portuguese African counter-insurgency campaigns and triggering the rapid collapse of the Portuguese Empire.[78]

Guerrilla movements

AK-47 automatic rifles were widely used by the African guerrilla movements.

The armament of the nationalist groups came mainly from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and (especially in Mozambique) China. However, they also used small arms of U.S. manufacture (such as the .45 M1 Thompson submachine gun), along with British, French, and German weapons derived from neighboring countries sympathetic to the rebellion. Later in the war, most guerrillas would use roughly the same Soviet-origin infantry rifles: the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle, the SKS carbine, and most importantly, the AK-47 series of 7.62 mm x 39 mm automatic rifles. Rebel forces also made extensive use of machine guns for ambush and positional defense. The 7.62 mm Degtyarev light machine gun (LMG) was the most widely used LMG, together with the DShK and the SG-43 Goryunov heavy machine guns. Support weapons included mortars, recoilless rifles, and in particular, Soviet-made rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the RPG-2 and RPG-7. Anti-aircraft weapons were also employed, especially by the PAIGC and the FRELIMO. The ZPU-4 AA cannon was the most widely used, but by far the most effective was the Strela 2 missile, first introduced to guerrilla forces in Guinea in 1973 and in Mozambique the following year by Soviet technicians.

The guerrillas' AK-47 and AKM rifles were highly thought of by many Portuguese soldiers, as they were shorter, slightly lighter, and more mobile than the m/961 (G3), while permitting the user to deliver a heavy volume of controlled automatic fire at the close ranges typically encountered in bush warfare.[79] The AK-47's ammunition load was also lighter.[79] The average Angolan or Mozambiquan rebel could easily transport 150 7.62 mm x 39 cartridges (five 30-round magazines) on his person during bush operations, compared to 100 7.62 mm x 51 rounds (five 20-round magazines) typically carried by a Portuguese infantryman on patrol.[79] Though a common misconception holds that Portuguese soldiers used captured AK-47 type weapons, this was only true of a few elite units for special missions. Like U.S. forces in Vietnam, ammunition resupply difficulties and the obvious danger of being mistaken for a guerrilla when firing an enemy weapon generally precluded their use.

Mines were one of the principal weapons used by the insurgents against Portuguese mechanized forces, who typically patrolled the mostly unpaved roads of their territories using motor vehicles and armored scout cars.[80] To counter the mine threat, Portuguese engineers commenced the herculean task of tarring the rural road network.[81] Mine detection was accomplished not only by electronic mine detectors, but also by employing trained soldiers (picadors) walking abreast with long probes to detect nonmetallic road mines. Guerrillas in all the various revolutionary movements used a variety of mines, often combining anti-tank with anti-personnel mines to ambush Portuguese formations with devastating results. A common tactic was to plant large anti-vehicle mines in a roadway bordered by obvious cover, such as an irrigation ditch, then seed the ditch with anti-personnel mines. Detonation of the vehicle mine would cause Portuguese troops to deploy and seek cover in the ditch, where the anti-personnel mines would cause further casualties. If the insurgents planned to confront the Portuguese openly, one or two heavy machine guns would be sited to sweep the ditch and other likely areas of cover. Other mines used included the PMN (Black Widow), TM-46, and POMZ. Even amphibious mines were used such as the PDM, along with numerous home-made antipersonnel wood box mines and other nonmetallic explosive devices. The impact of mining operations, in addition to causing casualties, undermined the mobility of Portuguese forces, while diverting troops and equipment from security and offensive operations to convoy protection and mine clearance missions.

In general, the PAIGC in Guinea was the best armed, trained, and led of all the guerrilla movements. By 1970 it even had candidates training in the Soviet Union, learning to fly MIGs and to operate Soviet-supplied amphibious assault crafts and APCs.

Opposition in Portugal

The government presented as a general consensus that the colonies were a part of the national unity, closer to overseas provinces than to true colonies. The communists were the first party to oppose the official view, since they saw the Portuguese presence in the colonies as an act against the colonies' right to self determination. During its 5th Congress, in 1957, the illegal Portuguese Communist Party (Partido Comunista Português - PCP) was the first political organization to demand the immediate and total independence of the colonies. However, being the only truly organized opposition movement, the PCP had to play two roles. One role was that of a communist party with an anti-colonialist position; the other role was to be a cohesive force drawing together a broad spectrum of opposing parties. Therefore it had to accede to views that didn't reflect its true anticolonial position.

Several opposition figures outside the PCP also had anticolonial opinions, such as the candidates to the fraudulent presidential elections, like Norton de Matos (in 1949), Quintão Meireles (in 1951) and Humberto Delgado (in 1958). The communist candidates had, obviously, the same positions. Among them were Rui Luís Gomes and Arlindo Vicente, the first would not be allowed to participate in the election and the second would support Delgado in 1958.

After the electoral fraud of 1958, Humberto Delgado formed the Independent National Movement (Movimento Nacional Independente - MNI) that, in October 1960, agreed that there was a need to prepare the people in the colonies, before giving them the right of self-determination. Despite this, no detailed policies for achieving this goal were set out.[citation needed]

In 1961, the nº8 of the Military Tribune had as its title "Let's end the war of Angola". The authors were linked to the Patriotic Action Councils (Juntas de Acção Patriótica - JAP), supporters of Humberto Delgado, and responsible for the attack on the barracks of Beja. The Portuguese Front of National Liberation (Frente Portuguesa de Libertação Nacional - FPLN), founded in December 1962, attacked the conciliatory positions. The official feeling of the Portuguese state, despite all this, was the same: Portugal had inalienable and legitimate rights over the colonies and this was what was transmitted through the media and through the state propaganda.

In April 1964, the Directory of Democratic-Social Action (Acção Democrato-Social - ADS) presented a political solution rather than a military one. In agreement with this initiative in 1966, Mário Soares suggested there should be a referendum on the overseas policy Portugal should follow, and that the referendum should be preceded by a national discussion to take place in the six months prior to the referendum.[citation needed]

The end of Salazar's rule in 1968, due to illness, did not prompt any change in the political panorama.[citation needed] The radicalization of the opposition movements started with the younger people who also felt victimized by the continuation of the war.[citation needed]

The universities played a key role in the spread of this position. Several magazines and newspapers were created, such as Cadernos Circunstância, Cadernos Necessários, Tempo e Modo, and Polémica that supported this view. It was in this environment that the Armed Revolutionary Action (Acção Revolucionária Armada - ARA), the armed branch of the Portuguese Communist party created in the late 1960s, and the Revolutionary Brigades (Brigadas Revolucionárias - BR), a left-wing organization, became an important[citation needed] force of resistance against the war, carrying out multiple acts of sabotage and bombing against military targets. The ARA began its military actions in October 1970, keeping them up until August 1972. The major actions were the attack on the Tancos air base that destroyed several helicopters on March 8, 1971, and the attack on the NATO headquarters at Oeiras in October of the same year. The BR, on its side, began armed actions on 7 November 1971, with the sabotage of the NATO base at Pinhal de Armeiro, the last action being carried out 9 April 1974, against the Niassa ship which was preparing to leave Lisboa with troops to be deployed in Guinea. The BR acted even in the colonies, placing a bomb in the Military Command of Bissau on 22 February 1974.

By the early 1970s, the Portuguese Colonial War continued to rage on, consuming fully 40% of Portugal's annual budget.[39] The Portuguese military was overstretched and there was no political solution or end in sight. While the human losses were relatively small, the war as whole had already entered its second decade. The Portuguese ruling regime of Estado Novo faced criticism from the international community and was becoming increasingly isolated. It had a profound impact on Portugal - thousands of young men avoided conscription by emigrating illegally, mainly to France and the US. The war in the Portuguese overseas territories of Africa was increasingly unpopular in Portugal itself as the people got weary of war and balked at its ever-rising expense. Many ethnic Portuguese of the African overseas territories were also increasingly willing to accept independence if their economic status could be preserved. In addition, younger Portuguese military academy graduates resented a program introduced by Marcello Caetano whereby militia officers who completed a brief training program and had served in the overseas territories' defensive campaigns, could be commissioned at the same rank as military academy graduates. Caetano's Portuguese Government had begun the program (which included several other reforms) in order to increase the number of officials employed against the African insurgencies, and at the same time cut down military costs to alleviate an already overburdened government budget. Thus, the group of revolutionary military insurgents started as a military professional class[82] protest of Portuguese Armed Forces captains against a decree law: the Dec. Lei nº 353/73 of 1973, organizing themselves in a loosely-allied group known as the MFA.[9][83]

Faced with government inflexibility over proposed reforms, some Portuguese junior military officers, many from underprivileged backgrounds and increasingly attracted to the Marxist philosophy of their African insurgent opponents,[45] began to move the MFA to the political left.[84] On April 25, 1974, Portuguese military officers of the MFA staged a bloodless military coup that toppled António de Oliveira Salazar's successor Marcelo Caetano, and successfully overthrew the Portuguese regime of Estado Novo. The revolt would later become known as the Carnation Revolution. General Spínola was invited to assume the office of President, but resigned a few weeks later after it became clear that his desire to set up a system of federalized home rule for the African territories was not shared by the rest of the MFA, who wanted an immediate end to the war (achievable only by granting independence to the provinces of Portuguese Africa).[84] The 25 April coup led to a series of temporary governments, marked by a nationalisation of many important areas of the economy.


Portuguese soldier with black Afro-Portuguese little child, a monument to the Portuguese Overseas Territories' Heroes (Heróis do Ultramar), in Coimbra, Portugal.

While the power struggle for control of Portugal's government was occurring in Lisbon, many Portuguese Army units serving in Africa simply ceased field operations, in some cases ignoring orders to continue fighting and withdrawing into barracks, in others negotiating local ceasefire agreements with insurgents.[84]

On 26 August 1974, after a series of diplomatic meetings, Portugal and the PAIGC signed an accord in Algiers, Algeria in which Portugal agreed to remove all troops by the end of October and to officially recognize the Republic of Guinea-Bissau government controlled by the PAIGC.[61]

In June 1975, after a period of eight months under which Mozambique had been administered by a provisional government, representatives of the Portuguese government and FRELIMO signed an agreement to grant independence to Mozambique, with the president of FRELIMO to assume the presidency of the newly independent nation. This was followed the next month by the announcement of the independence of Cape Verde, and the establishment of a new nation, the R Republic of Cape Verde. In Angola, the Alvor Agreement was signed on January 15, 1975, granting Angola independence from Portugal on 11 November 1975. The Alvor Agreement formally ended the war for independence. The agreement, while signed by the MPLA, the FNLA, UNITA, and the Portuguese government, was never signed by the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda or the Eastern Revolt as the other parties had excluded them from the peace negotiations. The coalition government established by the Alvor Agreement soon fell apart as the various nationalist parties each attempted to seize power. Unable to broker a new compromise, in November 1975 Portugal's last African High Commissioner Rosa Coutinho simply hauled down his nation's flag and departed Angola for good.[84]

For a brief time after the coup of 25 April Coup, (May 1974 - November 1975) the country was on the brink of civil war[85] between left-wing hardliners (Vasco Gonçalves, Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho and others) and the moderate forces (Francisco da Costa Gomes, António Ramalho Eanes and others). Moderate elements of the new military government eventually won, preventing Portugal from becoming a communist state.[86]

By 1975, Portugal had converted to a democratic government.[40] The effects of having integrating hundreds of thousands of returning Portuguese from the former African provinces (collectively known as retornados), and political and economic turmoil resulting from the military coup and successive governments would cripple the Portuguese economy for decades to come.[87]

Monument in Lisbon to Portuguese soldiers who died in the Oversaeas War (1961–1975).

Portugal had been the first European power to establish a colony in Africa when it captured Ceuta in 1415 and now it was one of the last to leave. The departure of the Portuguese from Angola and Mozambique increased the isolation of Rhodesia, where white minority rule ended in 1980 when the territory gained international recognition as the Republic of Zimbabwe with Robert Mugabe as the head of government. The former Portuguese territories in Africa became sovereign states with Agostinho Neto (followed in 1979 by José Eduardo dos Santos) in Angola, Samora Machel (followed in 1986 by Joaquim Chissano) in Mozambique and Luís Cabral (followed in 1980 by Nino Vieira) in Guinea-Bissau, as heads of state.

In contrast to some other European colonial possessions, many of the Portuguese living in Portuguese Africa had strong ties to their adopted land, as their ancestors had lived in Africa for generations.[88][89] For these individuals, the prospect of Portugal's imminent departure from its African territories was nearly impossible to comprehend. Nevertheless, most accepted the inevitable, and while an abortive right-wing settler revolt broke out in Mozambique, it quickly died out as Portuguese coup leaders made it clear that the decision to grant independence was irrevocable.[84] Fear of reprisals and impending changes in political and economic status by the Marxist governments of the new African states resulted in the peaceful exodus of over one million Portuguese citizens of European, African and mixed ethnicity from the newly-independent African territories to Portugal, South Africa, and other countries.

The new governments of Angola and Mozambique, faced a severe set of challenges as devastating civil wars broke out in both countries. Lasting several decades, these ongoing conflicts would eventually claim over two million lives and an even greater number of refugees, while destroying much of the infrastructure in both nations.[17][90][91] Resentments over economic difficulties caused by failed government policies, the general disenfranchisement of political opponents, and widespread corruption at the highest levels of government eroded the initial optimism present at independence. These problems were exacerbated by a tendency to consolidate power by directing public anger against ethnic Portuguese and mixed-race Africans,[20] as well as those who had supported the former colonial regime. Many of the local black soldiers that served in the Portuguese Army and who had fought against the insurgents were demobilised by Portuguese authorities and simply left behind in Africa. The most famous infamous reprisal occurred in Guinea-Bissau. Demobilized by the Portuguese authorities and abandoned to their fate, a total of 7,447 black African soldiers who had served in Portuguese native commando forces and militia were summarily executed by the PAIGC after Portuguese forces ceased hostilities.[61] In a statement in the party newspaper Nô Pintcha (In the Vanguard), a spokesman for the PAIGC revealed that many of the ex-Portuguese indigenous African soldiers that were executed after cessation of hostilities were buried in unmarked collective graves in the woods of Cumerá, Portogole, and Mansabá.[63][92]

At the time, most Portuguese citizens, tired of the long war and their isolation from the world community under the Caetano regime, supported the decision to recognize the independence of Portuguese Africa, while accepting the inevitable loss of their former overseas territories. However, controversies over the MFA coup of 25 April 1974 and the decisions made by coup leaders remain to this day. In 2011, one of the chief organizers of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, stated that he would never have participated in the coup if he had known what the country would become after it.[93]

Because the Salazar regime had repressed unfavourable news stories about the colonies and the later wars, many Portuguese remained unaware of the atrocities committed by the colonial regimes and the army. In 2007, a Radiotelevisao Portuguesa documentary made these atrocities public; it was watched by over a million people, a tenth of the population at the time. [94]

Economic consequences of the war

Evolution of the expenditure of the Portuguese state with the military during the war

In Portugal, government budgets increased significantly during the war years. The country's expenditure on the armed forces ballooned since the beginning of the war in 1961. The expenses were divided into ordinary and extraordinary ones; the latter were the main factor in the huge increase in the military budget. The succession of Marcelo Caetano, after Salazar's incapacitation, resulted in steady increases in military spending on the African wars through 1972.[95]

In mainland Portugal, the growth rate of the economy during the war years ranged from 6%-11%, and in post war years 2-3%.[96] This is substantially higher than the vast majority of other European nations. Other indicators like GDP as percentage of Western Europe would indicate that Portugal was rapidly catching up to its European neighbours. In 1960, at the initiation of Salazar's more outward-looking economic policy, Portugal's per capita GDP was only 38 percent of the EC-12 average; by the end of the Salazar period, in 1968, it had risen to 48 percent; and in 1973, on the eve of the revolution, Portugal's per capita GDP had reached 56.4 percent of the EC-12 average. In 1975, the year of maximum revolutionary turmoil, Portugal's per capita GDP declined to 52.3 percent of the EC-12 average. Convergence of real GDP growth toward the EC average occurred as a result of Portugal's economic resurgence since 1985. In 1991 Portugal's GDP per capita climbed to 54.9 percent of the EC average, exceeding by a fraction the level attained just during the worst revolutionary period.[97]

For many decades to come after independence, the economies of the three former Portuguese African territories involved in the war continued to remain problematic due to continuing internecine political conflicts and power struggles as well as inadequate agricultural production caused by disruptive government policies resulting in high birth mortality rates, widespread malnutrition, and disease. By the 21st century, the Human Development Index of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, were among the lowest in the World, while corruption and social inequality soared. After 1974, the deterioration in central planning effectiveness, economic development and growth, security, education and health system efficiency, was rampant. None of the newly-independent ex-Portuguese African states made any significant economic progress in the following decades, and political progress in terms of democratic processes and protection of individual human rights was either minimal or nonexistent. With few exceptions, the new regimes ranked at the bottom of human development and GDP per capita world tables. By 2002, however, the end of the Angolan Civil War, combined with exploitation of the country's highly valuable natural resources, resulted in that country becoming economically successful for the first time in decades.

Films about the War

  • Os Demonios de Alcacer-Quibir (Portugal 1975, director: Jose Fonseca da Costa).
  • La Vitta e Bella (Portugal/Italy/USSR 1979), director: Grigori Naumowitsch Tschuchrai).
  • Sorte que tal Morte (Portugal 1981, director: Joao Matos Silva).
  • Acto dos Feitos da Guine (Portugal 1980, director: Fernando Matos Silva).
  • Gestos & Fragmentos - Ensaio sobre os Militares e o Poder (Portugal 1982, director: Alberto Seixas Santos).
  • Um Adeus Portugues (Portugal 1985, director: Joao Botelho).
  • Era Uma Vez Um Alferes (Portugal 1987, director: Luis Filipe Rocha).
  • Matar Saudades (Portugal 1987, director: Fernando Lopes Vasconcelos)
  • A Idade Maior (Portugal 1990, director: Teresa Villaverde Cabral).
  • "Non", ou A Vã Glória de Mandar (Portugal/France/Spain 1990, director: Manoel de Oliveira).
  • Ao Sul (Portugal 1993, director: Fernando Matos Silva).
  • Capitães de Abril (Captains of april, Portugal 2000, director: Maria de Medeiros).
  • Assalto ao Santa Maria (Assault on the Santa Maria, Portugal 2009, director: Francisco Manso).

Documentaries about the War

  • A Guerra - Colonial - do Ultramar - da Libertação, 1st Season (Portugal 2007, director: Joaquim Furtado, RTP)
  • A Guerra - Colonial - do Ultramar - da Libertação, 2nd Season (Portugal 2009, director: Joaquim Furtado, RTP)

See also


  1. ^ Portugal since 1974, Britannica
  2. ^ Mia Couto, Carnation revolution, Monde Diplomatique
  3. ^ (Portuguese) http://www.guerracolonial.org/index.php?content=324 FNLA - um movimento em permanente letargia, guerracolonial.org
  4. ^ Mid-Range Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century retrieved December 4, 2007
  5. ^ Laidi, Zaki. The Superpowers and Africa: The Constraints of a Rivalry:1960-1990. Chicago: Univ. Of Chicago, 1990.
  6. ^ António Pires Nunes, Angola 1966-74
  7. ^ (Portuguese) Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA). In Infopédia [Em linha]. Porto: Porto Editora, 2003-2009. [Consult. 2009-01-07]. Disponível na www: <URL: http://www.infopedia.pt/$movimento-das-forcas-armadas-(mfa)>.
  8. ^ Movimento das Forças Armadas (1974-1975), Projecto CRiPE- Centro de Estudos em Relações Internacionais, Ciência Política e Estratégia. © José Adelino Maltez. Cópias autorizadas, desde que indicada a origem. Última revisão em: 02-10-2008
  9. ^ a b (Portuguese) A Guerra Colonial na Guine/Bissau (07 de 07), Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho on the Decree Law, RTP 2 television, youtube.com.
  10. ^ (Portuguese) Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA). In Infopédia [Em linha]. Porto: Porto Editora, 2003-2009. [Consult. 2009-01-07]. Disponível na www: <URL: http://www.infopedia.pt/$movimento-das-forcas-armadas-(mfa)>.
  11. ^ João Bravo da Matta, A Guerra do Ultramar, O Diabo, 14th October 2008, pp.22
  12. ^ Portugal Migration, The Encyclopedia of the Nations
  13. ^ Flight from Angola, The Economist (August 16, 1975).
  14. ^ Dismantling the Portuguese Empire, Time Magazine (Monday, July 07, 1975).
  15. ^ Portugal - Emigration, Eric Solsten, ed. Portugal: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993.
  16. ^ António Barreto, Portugal: Um Retrato Social, 2006
  17. ^ a b The Decolonization of Portuguese Africa: Metropolitan Revolution and the Dissolution of Empire by Norrie MacQueen - Mozambique since Independence: Confronting Leviathan by Margaret Hall, Tom Young - Author of Review: Stuart A. Notholt African Affairs, Vol. 97, No. 387 (Apr., 1998), pp. 276-278, JSTOR
  18. ^ Mark D. Tooley, Praying for Marxism in Africa, FrontPageMagazine.com (Friday, March 13, 2009)
  19. ^ Mario de Queiroz, AFRICA-PORTUGAL: Three Decades After Last Colonial Empire Came to an End
  20. ^ a b "Things are going well in Angola. They achieved good progress in their first year of independence. There's been a lot of building and they are developing health facilities. In 1976 they produced 80,000 tons of coffee. Transportation means are also being developed. Currently between 200,000 and 400,000 tons of coffee are still in warehouses. In our talks with [Angolan President Agostinho] Neto we stressed the absolute necessity of achieving a level of economic development comparable to what had existed under [Portuguese] colonialism."; "There is also evidence of black racism in Angola. Some are using the hatred against the colonial masters for negative purposes. There are many mulattos and whites in Angola. Unfortunately, racist feelings are spreading very quickly." [1] Castro's 1977 southern Africa tour: A report to Honecker, CNN
  21. ^ Oliver, page 207
  22. ^ Oliver, page 203
  23. ^ a b (Portuguese) Luís Nuno Rodrigues "Orgulhosamente Sós"? Portugal e os Estados Unidos no início da década de 1960 - At the 22nd Meeting of History teachers of the Centro (region), Caldas da Rainha, April 2004, Instituto de Relações Internacionais (International Relations Institute)
  24. ^ (Portuguese) A«GUERRA» 1º Episódio - "Massacres da UPA" - (Parte 1), A Guerra by Joaquim Furtado
  25. ^ Angola discutida na Assembleia Geral das Nações Unidas, a film of a Portuguese formal protest in the United Nations (March 1961), and an anti-American riot at Lisbon, guerracolonial.org
  26. ^ a b A Guerra De Africa (1961-1974) by José Freire Antunes, Temas e Debates, ISBN 972759039X (972-759-039-X)
  27. ^ The Destruction of a Nation: United States' Policy Towards Angola Since 1945, George Wright, Pluto Press, 1997 - ISBN 074531029X, 9780745310299
  28. ^ Colorblind Colonialism? Lusotropicalismo and Portugal’s 20th. Century Empire. in Africa. Leah Fine. Barnard College Department of History, Spring 2007
  29. ^ Humbaraci, Arslan and Muchnik, Nicole, Portugal's African Wars, New York: Joseph Okpaku Publishing Co., ISBN 0893880728 (1974), pp. 99-100
  30. ^ Rupiya, Martin, Historical context: war and peace in Mozambique, Conciliation Resources (1998), retrieved 29 May 2011
  31. ^ Humbaraci, Arslan and Muchnik, Nicole, Portugal's African Wars, New York: Joseph Okpaku Publishing Co., ISBN 0893880728 (1974), p. 161
  32. ^ (Portuguese) 52. UNIVERSIDADE DE LUANDA
  33. ^ "African Troops in the Portuguese Colonial Army, 1961-1974: Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique
  34. ^ a b Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, p. 340
  35. ^ a b c Coelho, João Paulo Borges, African Troops in the Portuguese Colonial Army, 1961-1974: Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, Portuguese Studies Review 10 (1) (2002), pp. 129-50
  36. ^ Kaúlza de Arriaga (General), Lições de estratégia de curso de altos comandos - 1966/67 (Lessons Of Strategy in the Course of High Command - 1966/67), Vol. 12 (1971): As late as 1971, Kaúlza argued that the Portuguese government should tailor the social and political status progress of black Africans in Angola and Mozambique to the growth of the white settler population, while concluding that "blacks are not highly intelligent, on the contrary, of all peoples of the world they are the least intelligent."
  37. ^ a b Humbaraci, Arslan and Muchnik, Nicole, Portugal's African Wars, New York: Joseph Okpaku Publishing Co., ISBN 0893880728 (1974), pp. 100-102
  38. ^ Independence redux in postsocialist Mozambique, Alice Dinerman
  39. ^ a b c d Abbott, Peter and Rodrigues, Manuel, Modern African Wars 2: Angola and Mozambique 1961-74, Osprey Publishing (1998), p. 34
  40. ^ a b c d Reviewed Work(s): Counterinsurgency in Africa. The Portuguese Way of War 1961–1974 by John P. Cann - A Guerra de África 1961–1974 by José Freire Antunes - Author of Review: Douglas L. Wheeler, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1, Special Issue on Mozambique (Mar., 1998), pp. 240-243, JSTOR
  41. ^ Chilcote, Ronald H., The Struggle for Guinea-Bissau, Indiana University Press: Africa Today (July 1974), pp. 57-61
  42. ^ a b Dos Santos, Manuel, Disparar os Strela, Depoimentos, Quinta-feira, 28 de Maio de 2009, retrieved 26 May 2011
  43. ^ Cambridge Journals N. McQueen, "...strategic boost to the Soviet Union, which could seek naval facilities there after independence", Contemporary European History (1999), 8: 209-230 Cambridge University Press
  44. ^ Cold War CNN Episode 17: Good guys, bad guys, Cuba-Angola letters, 1975 Letter from Raúl Diaz Arguelles to Raúl Castro, August 11, 1975 - "In the course of this conversation, the Angolans complained about the paucity of aid from the socialist camp, and they pointed out that if the socialist camp does not help them, no one will, since they are the most progressive forces [in the country], whereas the imperialists, Mobutu and ... [one word sanitized] are helping the FNLA in every way possible. They also complained that the Soviet Union stopped aiding them in 1972 and that although it is now sending them weapons, the amount of assistance is paltry, given the enormity of the need. In general, he [Neto] wants to portray the situation in Angola as a crucial struggle between the two systems -- Imperialism and Socialism -- in order to receive the assistance of the entire socialist camp. We believe that he is right in this, because at this time the two camps in Angola are well defined, the FNLA and UNITA represent reaction and world imperialism and the Portuguese reactionaries, and the MPLA represents the progressive and nationalist forces...", CNN
  45. ^ a b c Stewart Lloyd-Jones, ISCTE (Lisbon), Portugal's history since 1974, "The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP–Partido Comunista Português), which had courted and infiltrated the MFA from the very first days of the revolution, decided that the time was now right for it to seize the initiative. Much of the radical fervour that was unleashed following Spínola's coup attempt was encouraged by the PCP as part of their own agenda to infiltrate the MFA and steer the revolution in their direction.", Centro de Documentação 25 de Abril, University of Coimbra
  46. ^ NORRIE MACQUEEN, Portugal's First Domino: ‘Pluricontinentalism’ and Colonial War in Guiné-Bissau, 1963–1974, "Portugal's presence in Guiné-Bissau through eleven years of intense guerrilla war was justified by the doctrine of ‘pluricontinentalim’. In this view concession to nationalist pressure in one part of the ‘indivisible state’ would lead inevitably to the collapse of the whole. The defence of Portuguese Guiné, therefore, was the price to be paid for the maintenance of the infinitely more valuable territories of Angola and Mozambique. While the Salazar regime was rigid in its adherence to this doctrine, some movement was detectable under his successor from 1968, Marcelo Caetano. The governor-general in Guiné, General Spínola, was permitted to explore possibilities of negotiation. Politically insecure in the face of residual Salazarist power in the regime, however, Caetano abandoned this approach in 1972. This apparent loss of nerve would contribute to the overthrow of the Caetano government by its own military in 1974.", Contemporary European History (1999), 8: 209-230 Cambridge University Press
  47. ^ Pedro Lains, Instituto de Ciências Sociais (Lisbon University) Catching up to the European core: Portuguese economic growth, 1910-1990
  48. ^ (Portuguese) Testemunhos, Observatório da Emigração
  49. ^ Tetteh Hormeku - Programme Officer with Third World Network's Africa Secretariat in Accra, Third World Resurgence No.89, January 1998, US intervention in Africa: Through Angolan eyes, "Nixon's assumption that Portugal would be able to militarily contain Angolan nationalism and provide the conditions for US investment was unravelled with the 1974 coup in Portugal." Third World Network
  50. ^ George, Edward, The Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1965-1991, New York: Frank Cass Publishing Co., ISBN 0415350158 (2005), p. 9
  51. ^ Wright, George, The Destruction of a Nation: United States' Policy Towards Angola Since 1945, Pluto Press, ISBN 074531029X, 9780745310299 (1997), pp. 5–6
  52. ^ George, Edward, The Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1965-1991, New York: Frank Cass Publishing Co., ISBN 0415350158 (2005) p. 9: Some sources state as many as 7,000 Angolans were killed in the air raids.
  53. ^ a b Humbaraci, Arslan and Muchnik, Nicole, Portugal's African Wars, New York: Joseph Okpaku Publishing Co., ISBN 0893880728 (1974), p. 114
  54. ^ George, Edward, The Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1965-1991, New York: Frank Cass Publishing Co., ISBN 0415350158 (2005) p. 9
  55. ^ Walker, Frederick, A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Giant Sable Antelope of Angola, New York: Grove Press, ISBN 0802140688 (2004), p. 143: Commenting on the incursion, Roberto said, "This time the slaves did not cower. They massacred everything."
  56. ^ a b George, Edward, The Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1965-1991, New York: Frank Cass Publishing Co., ISBN 0415350158 (2005) pp. 9-10
  57. ^ Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 9724611922, pp. 94-97
  58. ^ (Portuguese) A «GUERRA» 3º Episódio - «Violência do lado Português», A Guerra by Joaquim Furtado
  59. ^ a b c Humbaraci, Arslan and Muchnik, Nicole, Portugal's African Wars, New York: Joseph Okpaku Publishing Co., ISBN 0893880728 (1974), pp. 140-144
  60. ^ Chilcote, Ronald H., The Struggle for Guinea-Bissau, Africa Today, July 197), pp. 57-61
  61. ^ a b c d Lloyd-Jones, Stewart, and Costa Pinto, António, The last empire: thirty years of Portuguese decolonization, Portland, OR: Intellect Books, ISBN 1841501093, p. 22
  62. ^ PAIGC, Jornal Nô Pintcha, 29 November 1980: In a statement in the party newspaper Nô Pintcha (In the Vanguard), a spokesman for the PAIGC revealed that many of the ex-Portuguese indigenous African soldiers that were executed after cessation of hostilities were buried in unmarked collective graves in the woods of Cumerá, Portogole, and Mansabá.
  63. ^ a b Munslow, Barry, The 1980 Coup in Guinea-Bissau, Review of African Political Economy, No. 21 (May - Sep., 1981), pp. 109-113
  65. ^ Sucesso, selected texts of Brigadier General Kaúlza de Arriaga on the military success of the Portuguese military
  66. ^ (Portuguese) "De acordo com as afirmações posteriormente produzidas por representantes qualificados da FRELIMO, este juízo da situação militar de Moçambique carecia de fundamento. Segundo esses representantes, a FRELIMO atravessara duas fases críticas: em 1970, estivera à beira do colapso no final da operação "Nó Górdio", devido ao volumoso número de baixas sofridas, e, em 1974, quando do desencadeamento da "Revolução de Abril", atravessava uma fase grave de desmoralização, motivada por dificuldades insuperáveis de recompletamento de efectivos, cansaço e hostilidade das populações, o que os levou a afirmar que a "Revolução de Abril" tinha apanhado a FRELIMO em fase crítica de desequilíbrio e que esta devia exclusivamente ao MFA a sua recuperação.", Arriaga on the book "PAÍS SEM RUMO", by António de Spínola, [2], selected texts by Kaúlza de Arriaga
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  71. ^ Pikula, Sam (Major), The ArmaLite AR-10, p. 79
  72. ^ Pikula, Sam (Major), The ArmaLite AR-10, p. 80
  73. ^ a b Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial (2000), ISBN 972-46-1192-2, pp. 183-184
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  75. ^ Nicolli 2003, p.174
  76. ^ (Portuguese) Enfermeiras Pára-Quesdistas, History Channel
  77. ^ (Portuguese) enfermeiras, Green beret, sapo.pt
  78. ^ Adrian Hastings, The Telegraph (June 26, 2001)
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  • Kaúlza de Arriaga - Published works of the General Kaúlza de Arriaga
  • Becket, Ian et all., A Guerra no Mundo, Guerras e Guerrilhas desde 1945, Lisboa, Verbo, 1983
  • Marques, A. H. de Oliveira, História de Portugal, 6ª ed., Lisboa, Palas Editora, Vol. III, 1981
  • Mattoso, José, História Contemporânea de Portugal, Lisboa, Amigos do Livro, 1985, «Estado Novo», Vol. II e «25 de Abril», vol. único
  • Mattoso, José, História de Portugal, Lisboa, Ediclube, 1993, vols. XIII e XIV
  • Pakenham, Thomas, The Scramble for Africa, Abacus, 1991 ISBN 0-349-10449-2
  • Reis, António, Portugal Contemporâneo, Lisboa, Alfa, Vol. V, 1989;
  • Rosas, Fernando e Brito, J. M. Brandão, Dicionário de História do Estado Novo, Venda Nova, Bertrand Editora, 2 vols. 1996
  • Vários autores, Guerra Colonial, edição do Diário de Notícias
  • Jornal do Exército, Lisboa, Estado-Maior do Exército
  • Cann, John P, Counterinsurgency in Africa: The Portuguese Way of War, 1961-1974, Hailer Publishing, 2005

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