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Angolan War of Independence
Portugal had had a presence in Angola for almost 500 years, with full control of the country for half a century. Angola was a colony, although Portuguese colonialism was of a softer variety than that practised by other European powers, such as Great Britain.
The 1933 Portuguese Colonial Act recognized the supremacy of Portuguese over native people, and, even if locals could pursue all studies including university, the de facto situation was of clear disadvantage. Beginning in the 1950s, many Portuguese people settled in Angola, encouraged by the authoritarian government of Salazar.
In that time period, several groups pushing for independence from Portugal were formed.
The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) were a front representing the tribal powers and intelligentsia in the Kumbundu and Luanda. They had economic ties to several eastern europe countries, including the Soviet Union, as well as Zambia, and had the support of the Portuguese Communist Party.
The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), led by Holden Roberto, were another front with a power base in the north and ties to the United States and Algeria. They were formed in 1962 by a combination of two smaller congo nationalist groups, the UPA and the PDA. The FNLA received funding from the Organization of African Unity and Zaire.
The National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) was another communist front based in the centre of the country. Founded in 1966 by Jonas Savimbi, an ex-FNLA leader, its base of support was Ovimbudu, Chokwe, and Ovambo tribes. UNITA initially had little foreign aid, enjoying only small assistance from China, but later on gained the support of South Africa.
- 1961 - Struggle begins in Angola
- 1974 - Angolan government topples, three movements take power in coalition
- November 11, 1975 - Portugal recognizes Angolan independence, although giving it symbolically to the Angolan people, because of the disrespect of the Alvor Agreement , withdraws from capital, upon which time MPLA takes the capital, installing Agostinho Neto as first president.
- 1976 - Portugal recognizes the MPLA government.
- On June 28, 1976 the trial of some FNLA mercenaries came to an end. An (MPLA) Angolan court sentenced four to death and nine others to prison terms ranging from 16 to 30 years. The three Britons and an American were shot by a firing squad on July 10, 1976.
- 1988 - South African forces are resoundingly defeated during a rainstorm by combined MPLA and Cuban units at the Battle of Cuito Carnevale
- January 10, 1989 - Fighting ceases in a United Nations-brokered agreement between remaining forces and Angolan government, whereby under U.N. supervision a democratic system would be put into place and foreign troops would withdraw.
- 1992 - MPLA wins the elections and Josť Eduardo dos Santos is re-elected as President, but UNITA does not accept the results of the elections and the civil war starts again.
- February 22, 2002 - Jonas Savimbi is killed by the Angolan army.
- 2002 - cease-fire.
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