But, first of all, let’s take a look at the origins of the white settlement in Angola. Angola’s white settler community was one of the oldest and most rooted European communities in Africa, since the Portuguese colonists had settled in the country dating back to the sixteenth century. Indeed, Luanda, the country’s capital, was founded by a hundred families of white settlers and 400 soldiers in 1576. Benguela was founded as a fort in 1587, and it developed into a town in 1617.3

However, African military resistance to colonial rule was strong, and the hold of Portugal over the interior of Angola was slight up to the end of the nineteenth century. Full Portuguese administrative control of the interior did not occur until the beginning of the twentieth century, when resistance from a number of population groups was overcome. Only in the 1920s was Portugal able to extend its rule to the whole colony.4 As such, Portuguese demographic colonization of Angola was both slow and difficult. Almost all white settlements established in the interior until 1850 failed because of warfare and tropical diseases that decimated the settlers.5 But this situation started to change during the second half of the nineteenth century. The Portuguese military conquest of the highlands as well as the progress made by medicine allowed the establishment of new settlements by white colonists, namely Moçâmedes and Lobito on the coast and Lubango, Huambo, Bié and Malange in the highlands.6 Apart from Luanda and Malange, almost all the other white settlements were situated in Central and Southern Angola (south of the Cuanza river), where the climate favoured European colonization. Yet, the major part of these settlements was created in territories previously inhabited by Africans. Thus, they were populated not only by whites but also by blacks, who formed the majority of the Angolan population.7