Angola, as Many of the African Countries Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2586 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

Angola, as many of the African countries was the result of colonial pressures up to its declaration of independence from Portugal in 1975. The United Nations recognized this event a year later; however, to this day, Angola can hardly be considered a success story in terms of colonial positive results such as India for instance. The tumultuous history and background are still a presence in the Angolan society and government. The lack of efficiency from the government determined civil wars, periods of social and political unrest. These in turn affected the society at large and the gap that exists to this day between the government and the society.

In order to determine the way in which the two polls of the Angolan structure differ in their beliefs on the future of the country, it is important to underline the main historical events which led to the current situation in the state. The paper takes into account the perspectives of the Angolan society and of the government in pre-colonial, colonial, and post colonial times. This approach aims to underline the similarities and differences between the two points-of-view under analysis.

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The declaration of independence from Portugal did not represent the expression of a popular desire as it was not considered to be a unitary movement. In this sense, the Angolan independence represented a power exercise between three paramilitary forces which, one by one, created a certain internal and external support to assist them in their struggle for power, after taking over from the Portuguese colonialists. After the over-through of the Portuguese government, the three rebel factions were strongly supported by the United States, South Africa, Congo as well as certain socialist states, which eventually became the actors of one of the most important civil wars in Africa.

Term Paper on Angola, as Many of the African Countries Assignment

The civil war in Angola had as main participants the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, the first out of the three factions which controlled the capital city of Luanda and UNITA, supported by South Africa. The term "supported" however is relative taking into account the fact that in the end, the civil war resulted in South Africa invading Angola. Eventually, the intervention of the United Nations led to the signing of the Lusaka Protocol which announced the demilitarization of the UNITA forces and the establishment of a clear cut balance between the Luanda government and the paramilitary forces.

The Lusaka Protocol had as main purpose the establishment of the needed balance between the government and the social society which was split among the supporters of the paramilitary forces. Eventually the military part was the most important because the Lusaka Protocol had to ensure the integration of the paramilitary forces inside the Angolan army

. Despite the goodwill, the aim was not fully attained and the society remained split between the paramilitary factions.

The role of the present paper is not to analyze the civil war in Angola, although it is considered to be the longest civil war in the history of the United Nations. However, the civil war marked the end of an era, of the colonial era, and the beginning of the post colonial era. The result was visible in numerous Security Council resolutions which pointed out, at least in 2002 that over four million people were displaced out of their homes and territories and the government is unable to control the UNITA forces, leaving the society in disarray

The environment created by the civil war was the result of the clash between the pre-colonial and the colonial systems of government and submission and determined by the social conscience of the community during the centuries of pre-colonial and colonial existence.

The historical experiments of the exploration periods of the 15th and 16th century proved that civilizations have a different sense about one another. In this sense, in the pre-colonial period the mission done by Cavazzi in Angola, during the 15th century resulted in one of the first books to be written on the region and the continent. "An Historical Description of Three Kingdoms: Congo, Matamba, and Angola" represents in this sense one of the first descriptions of the countries in Africa. The most important aspect however was revealed in relation to the perception of the African peoples, in particular the Angolans on the Europeans and the colonial powers. Better said, the author points out that the Africans were strong believers of the fact that the Europeans were in fact cannibals

. In this sense, the Angolans were reluctant to near the Europeans as they were afraid for their lives. The note on this behavior is interesting because it points out the attitude pre-colonial individuals had towards the conquerors.

The clashes with the Portuguese colonists were representative for the traditional colonization process. The opposition of Queen Nzinga as well as numerous of her letters were transmitted as part of historical evidence related to the presence of the Portuguese and the fight of the colonials to defend the territory from the conquerors. In this sense, in her letters, there are strategies, drafts for agreement to better defend the territories

. However, the military strength of the colonists defeated her plans for defense.

The colonial period represented from many points-of-view a much better situation that as determined initially by the locals or the colonists. The Portuguese colonists and the Portuguese colonial system were not organized as the Spanish was in Latin America or the Belgian in other parts of Africa. This was a very important element because it clearly influenced the specifics of the colonial system. In this sense, the colonial system, since its early beginnings did not focus very much on capitalizing on the power in the state, but rather maintain its grip on the governing bodies but without any real implications in the internal affairs of the states present on the current territory of Angola.

The Portuguese expansion in Angola continued in the 18th century with the establishment in the capital city area. Moreover, given the negative experiences the Portuguese colonial system had suffered especially in the 18th century, the practice of colonization changed and the colonists became more and more involved in the internal affairs of the state. In this sense, there would be a limited access to education because it was thought that this would imperil the possibility of mutiny. Thus, studies have pointed out that "the failure of the government to assist in his scheme for educating a wide range of the population was evidence of a desire to keep Angola backward, because of a fear that an educated Angola would result in an independence movement such as had led Brazil to declare its independence a century earlier. Failure to educate the Angolan masses meant that no great collective movement could develop"

. In this sense, the relation between the society and the government was not a successful one especially taking into account the fact that it was the government that aimed at reducing the degree of education of its own people.

The 1884 Berlin Conference clearly determined the boundaries of Angola and reconfirmed the Portuguese over the territory. However, this clarification had negative effects on the ethnic structure and equilibrium of the area as it split several ethnic groups apart. More precisely, the conference established the limits of its claims in Angola

but given the nature of the imperial status of Portugal, these boundaries would be changed by other colonial powers such as Britain, France, or Belgium.

The colonial period ended with the Declaration of Independence in 1974. However, the support of the United States in particular for a certain faction of the MPLA became obvious decades later when documents were released. In this sense, on one occasion, high representatives of the U.S. government discuss the issue of financial assistance for the MPLA in the wake of Guineea Bissau declaration of independence in 1974. In this sense, the document pointed out that "if people ask us about Angola, we should be honest about our worries and doubts and go into detail with people depending on how sophisticated their understanding of the situation is. As far as the money goes, we recommend that a certain percentage of the transister fund to send to MPLA if and when we figure out whom we support. (...) We also recommended that we try to keep up on the developments in Angola as well as in South Africa as a whole"

. Overall, the general view of the era was related to the way in which the Cold War could interfere in the internal relations of a country.

The Declaration of independence was a crucial time for the Angolan people. As stated above, however, this was not a free will act, nor an unanimous act. In this sense, it was only normal that people be spilt on the matter and that chaos would erupt. The Civil War that has taken decades to settle down is the precise example of the combination between the pre-colonial and colonial system of rule. More precisely, the pre-colonial situation… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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