National Liberation Front of Angola

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National Liberation Front of Angola

Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola
President Ngola Kabangu
Founded1954 (as the União dos Povos do Norte de Angola guerrilla movement)
1959 (as the União dos Povos de Angola guerrilla movement)
1961 (as the FNLA guerilla movement)
1992 (as a party)
Headquarters Luanda, Republic of Angola
Ideology Civic nationalism [1] [1]
Christian democracy [1]
Conservatism [2]
Political position Centre-right
Seats in the National Assembly
1 / 220
Party flag
Bandeira da FNLA.svg
Emblem of Angola.svg
This article is part of a series on the
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The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (Portuguese : Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola; abbreviated FNLA) is a political party and former militant organisation that fought for Angolan independence from Portugal in the war of independence, under the leadership of Holden Roberto.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase. It consists of a group of letters taken from the word or phrase. For example, the word abbreviation can itself be represented by the abbreviation abbr., abbrv., or abbrev.

Angola country in Africa

Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.


Founded in 1954 as the União dos Povos do Norte de Angola guerrilla movement, it was known after 1959 as the União dos Povos de Angola (UPA) guerrilla movement, and from 1961 as the FNLA guerilla movement.

Ahead of the first multiparty elections in 1992, the FNLA was reorganized as a political party. The FNLA received 2.4% of the votes and had five Members of Parliament elected. In the 2008 parliamentary election, the FNLA received 1.11% of the vote, winning three out of 220 seats. [3]



In 1954, the United People of Northern Angola (UPNA) was formed as a separatist movement for the Bakongo tribe who wished to re-establish its 16th-century feudal kingdom but was also a protest movement against forced labour. [4] :4 [5] :138 Holden Roberto was to be the king of that land. [4] :4 By 1958, the organisation's name changed to the "Uniao das Populacões de Angola" (UPA) under Holden Roberto who came from São Salvador, Bakongo, Northern Angola with the newly named organisation described as an ethnic political movement. [6] :224 In March 1961, the UPA began an uprising in the north massacring thousands of white settlers and servants, most of the Bailundo southern ethnicity, "assimilados", African Catholics and tribal members other than the Bakongo tribe, men women and children alike. [4] :4 [5] :138 The Portuguese government respond by sending soldiers to Angola and more than 50,000 people would die in the violence by the end of 1961. [6] :222 It was said more than a million refugees would flee the north of Angola for Zaire. [5] :138 In an attempt to become a national political movement, it merged with the "Partido Democratico de Angola" (PDA) to form the "Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola" (FNLA). [6] :224 By February 1962, the FNLA had merged into an organisation called the Angolan Revolutionary Government in Exile (GRAE) with Roberto as its President and Jonas Savimbi as its foreign minister, based in Kinshasa, Zaire and recognised by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) as Angola's only freedom movement until 1971. [6] :224 [5] :138 Its core membership were Angolan refugees and expatriates in Zaire. [6] :224

Mbanza-Kongo Municipality and town in Zaire Province, Angola

M'banza-Kongo, is the capital of Angola's northwestern Zaire Province. M'banza Kongo was founded some time before the arrival of the Portuguese in 1483 and was the capital of the Kilukeni dynasty ruling at that time. The site was temporarily abandoned during civil wars in the 17th century. It lies close to Angola's border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located at around 6°16′0″S14°15′0″E and sits on top of an impressive flat-topped mountain, sometimes called Mongo a Kaila because recent legends recall that the king created the clans of the kingdom and sent them out from there. In the valley to the south runs the Luezi River. In 2017, Mbanza Kongo was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile

The Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile was a government-in-exile led by the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), based in Kinshasa, Congo-Kinshasa. Holden Roberto was the president of GRAE. GRAE was founded in April 1962. GRAE had its armed forces stationed in Congo-Kinshasa and conducted military training there.

Jonas Savimbi Angolan political and military leader

Jonas Malheiro Savimbi was an anti-communist and anti-colonialist Angolan political and military leader who founded and led the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

Foreign aid

The United States government began aiding the FNLA in 1961 during the Kennedy administration and rerouted one-third of its official aid to Zaire to the FNLA and UNITA organisations. [7] [8] Over the course of many years, the governments of Algeria, Tunisia, West Germany, Ghana, Israel, France, Romania, the People's Republic of China, South Africa, the United States, Zaire, and Liberia [9] actively supported and aided the FNLA. The French government supplied men and loaned one million pounds sterling without interest. [7] [10] The Israeli government gave aid to the FNLA between 1963 and 1969. Holden Roberto visited Israel during the 1960s, and FNLA members were sent to Israel for training. During the 1970s the Israeli government shipped arms to the FNLA through Zaire. [11] The People's Republic of China began supplying the FNLA with arms in 1964. It gave the FNLA military equipment and at least 112 military advisers. [12]

UNITA Angolan political party

The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) is the second-largest political party in Angola. Founded in 1966, UNITA fought alongside the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the Angolan War for Independence (1961–1975) and then against the MPLA in the ensuing civil war (1975–2002). The war was one of the most prominent Cold War proxy wars, with UNITA receiving military aid from the United States and South Africa while the MPLA received support from the Soviet Union and its allies.

Algeria country in North Africa

Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the world's largest Arab country, and the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). It has the highest human development index of all non-island African countries.

Tunisia Country in Northern Africa

Tunisia, officially the Republic of Tunisia, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, covering 163,610 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was 11.435 million in 2017. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast.

Break up of GRAE

By July 1964, GRAE's right as the only liberation movement was challenged with the resignation of Congo Prime Minister Cyrille Adoula, their backer, and the departure of Jonas Savimbi, who would go on to form his only liberation movement UNITA because of Roberto's dictatorial leadership, unwillingness to accept non-western support and a lack of a political program. [6] :225–6 [5] :138 Roberto would see off a "coup d'état" in June 1965 by his defence minister and in November of the same year, his brother in law, Mobutu Sese Seko took control of Zaire in a coup. [6] :226 But by 1968, GRAE's unity had begun to disintegrate.

Cyrille Adoula Congolese Prime Minister, Ambassador

Cyrille Adoula was a Congolese trade unionist and politician. He was the prime minister of the Republic of the Congo, from 2 August 1961 until 30 June 1964.

Mobutu Sese Seko President of Zaïre

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga was a Congolese politician and military officer who served as the military dictator and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997. He also served as Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity from 1967 to 1968.

Nixon's policy to Angola

On President Richard Nixon assuming office in 1969, he ordered a review of the United States policy towards Angola as well as South Africa and Rhodesia. In January 1970, National Security Council Study Memorandum 39 was adopted which acknowledge that the white regimes in those countries should not be politically and economically isolated and that engaging them was the best means of achieving changes in their systems. [13] :773 This meant a reduction in aid to the FNLA. [13] :773

Richard Nixon 37th president of the United States

Richard Milhous Nixon was an American politician who served as the 37th president of the United States from 1969 until 1974, when he resigned from office, the only U.S. president to do so. He had previously served as the 36th vice president of the United States from 1953 to 1961, and prior to that as both a U.S. representative and senator from California.

Rhodesia former country in Africa

Rhodesia was a country in southern Africa from 1965 to 1979, equivalent in territory to modern Zimbabwe. Rhodesia was the de facto successor state to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, which had been self-governing since achieving responsible government in 1923. A landlocked nation, Rhodesia was bordered by South Africa to the south, Bechuanaland to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique to the east.

Coup in Portugal

In late 1972, the FNLA concluded a ceasefire with the MPLA which was being attacked by former in north-west Angola and by Portuguese in north-east. [4] :7 A condition of the ceasefire was it needed more arms as it had no US aid apart from Roberto's CIA retainer, and Neto spoke to the Tanzanians who interceded with the Chinese government. [4] :8 After all groups met the Chinese, the FNLA received military aid and training from early 1973 until the fall of 1974, and then only diplomatic aid thereafter. [4] :8 In April 1974, a military coup occurred in Portugal with a later announcement of future independence for its colonies which began the process by the FNLA, MPLA and UNITA in attempting to strengthen their reach throughout Angola and resulted in conflict amongst each other. [4] :8 The Romanian government delivered arms to the FNLA in August 1974. [14] In August 1974, the Portuguese Angolan government had proposed a two-year plan for independence with the three groups and white settlers forming a coalition government but this was rejected outright. [6] :227 In order to end the conflict amongst the groups, individual ceasefires were arranged between the groups and the Portuguese Angolan Military Council, with the FNLA signing on 15 October 1974 that allowed it and the other three liberation parties to set up political offices in Luanda. [6] :226–7 By 25 November 1974, a ceasefire was concluded between the FNLA and UNITA and with the MPLA on 18 December. [6] :229

Ford's policy to Angola

When Gerald Ford assumed the presidency in August 1974, the new USA foreign policy moved away from the National Security Council Study Memorandum 39 to one of support for black rule in Angola as well as passive support for the white rule and so minimal aid was returned to the FNLA. [13] :774 But by November 1974, the US decided they did not want a future government dominated by the pro-Soviet MPLA so the CIA funded the FNLA with $300,000 to help it achieve that objective. [4] :8

Africa's attempt to mediate

The increasing violence would result in the gathering of the FNLA and the other two parties in Mombasa, Kenya, from 3–5 January 1975 by the invitation of President Jomo Kenyatta. [6] :228 The object of the meeting was to unite the parties and find common ground prior to the independence talks in Portugal later that month. [6] :228 Roberto speaking on behalf of all, declared an accord had been reached and that all parties had overcome their differences and had agreed firstly to a just and democratic society without ethnic discrimination; agreeing to a transitional government, armed forces and civil service and lastly to co-operate in the country's decolonisation and defence. [6] :228 The FNLA and the other parties would meet in Portimao, Portugal on 10 January 1975 and resulted in the formation of the Alvor Agreement, signed on 15 January 1975, which would grant Angola independence from Portugal on 11 November ending the war of independence. [4] :8 The plan also called for a coalition government and a united army. [13] :774

Transitional government's failure

Within 24 hours of the Alvor Agreement, fighting broke out in Luanda amongst the FNLA and MPLA with further violence on 23 March when the MPLAs Lopo do Nascimento was subject to an assassination attempt by the FNLA. [15] :59 The transitional government's failure to work was also said to be the result of a lack of interest by the Portuguese government in Angola as it tackled a failed counter-coup in Lisbon by General Spinola and the lack of will of the Portuguese troops to serve in Angola and end the violence between the MPLA and FNLA. [15] :59 The final straw was the dismissal in August of the Portuguese High Commissioner Antonio da Silva Cardoso who's attempt to reign in the MPLA had the support of the FNLA. [15] :59 The FNLA saw its only alternative as a military one after having been expelled from Luanda. [15] :59 On 29 August 1975, the Alvor Agreement was suspended by Portugal except for independence in November, and withdrawal of its troops that signal an escalation of violence for the control of Angola prior to that date. [15] :60

US covert aid to the FNLA increases

The US government did not believe the Portuguese plan would work and the MPLA would attempt to seize power installing a Soviet back regime in power. [13] :774 In late January 1975, the 40 Committee, part of the executive branch of the US government, met and reviewed a proposal from the CIA to fund the FNLA with $300,000 and UNITA, $100,000. [13] :774 The committee would approve the funding for the FNLA but not for UNITA. The money was to be used by the FNLA to purchase newspapers and radio stations. [16] :16 In addition to the money, the US supplied weapons to Zaire who in turn passed them on to the FNLA and also supplied several thousand troops. [13] :774 With this funding, Roberto believed any future coalition could be abandoned and in doing so the Soviets would begin to increase its aid to the MPLA. [13] :775 By June 1975, the CIA requested a meeting with the 40 Committee where it proposed increased aid for the FNLA. [13] :774 A decision was not made for a month as the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) and U.S. State Department wished to consider the proposal. [13] :775 Assistant Secretary of State Nathaniel Davies objected to further aid as he believed it would not help the FNLA to become as militarily strong as the MPLA except with massive amounts of money; escalate Soviet and Cuban involvement and feared South Africa would intervene and this would have negative diplomatic connotations for the United States in Africa, so the only option was a diplomatic solution. [13] :775 Henry Kissinger ensured that the NSC viewpoint prevailed and that aid, not diplomacy could prevent a MPLA win so aid of $14 million was approved for the FNLA and UNITA in July and that increased to $25 million in August and reached $32 million by September. [13] :775 The assistance would become known as Operation IA Feature. [15] :61 The CIAs covert plan begun sending supplies to the FNLA through Zaire and Zambia and was able to supply by November 1975, 12 APC, 50 SAMs, 1000 mortars, 50,000 rifles and machine guns, 100,000 grenades, 25 million rounds of ammunition, 60 trucks, trailers, boats, radios, spare parts, medicine and food with training by retired US military advisors and five spotter planes as well as mercenaries. [13] :776 [16] :6 The CIA appointed John Stockwell to manage the Angolan Task Force but found that many members of the CIA doubted the FNLAs ability to beat the MPLA and this was confirmed when he visited Angola and discovered the lack political support for the organisation and also feared any entry of South African forces in Angola would undermine the United States diplomatically in Africa. [13] :776 [16] :6

South Africans enter the civil war

On the pretext of attacks around the Calueque hydroelectric facility, the South Africans army would enter Angola to defend its interests in the facility and would develop into Operation Savannah to assist the FNLA and UNITA to gain as much control of southern and central Angola prior to independence day in November. [15] :70 The US appeared to give the green light for the South Africans covert invasion but this would soon change as their involvement became public knowledge, the US would distance themselves. [15] :70 The South Africans would advance close to Luanda from the south while a small force of South African artillery and advisors would support the FNLA in the north.

FNLA attacks Luanda

Without the control of Luanda on independence day, Roberto saw that the FNLAs international legitimacy would be in doubt. [15] :86 The only 'suitable' attack on Luanda was from the north through Quifangondo. [15] :88 Attacks were carried out by the FNLA on 5 and 8 November 1975 but were repulsed each time by the MPLA. [15] :88 With independence day looming on 11 November 1975, Roberto gave the final order to attack Quifangondo on 10 November unaware that the Cubans had reinforced the positions with troops and new Soviet equipment. [15] :88 Roberto would claim the South African were sending men to help him while the South Africans claimed they warned against a frontal assault but whatever the real story was, the FNLAs final assault on what became known as the Battle of Quifangondo failed disastrously. [15] :89–90 The MPLA retained Luanda and Angola gain independence from the Portuguese High Commissioner with Neto declaring the People's Republic of Angola. [15] :91 The FNLA would continue its fight inside Angola for another four months. [15] :91

US aid ceases

On 6 November 1975, CIA Director William Colby appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and briefed them that his organisation had not informed the committee fully on its activities in Angola and the following day, the New York Times released the testimony to the world. [13] :777 By 26 November, Nigeria, against the United States wishes, had recognised the MPLA government and soon convinced twenty-two other African nation to recognise them too. [13] :777 By December, President Ford and Kissinger decide that the aid to the opposition parties should not be abandoned and the CIA was ordered to draw up further aid plans which would need Senate approval but meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee drew up the Clark Amendment, named after Senator Dick Clark, after his visit to Angola. [13] :778 He concluded that the White House and CIA had lied about their involvement and that the US effort was responsible for dragging the Cubans and South Africans into the country's conflict. [13] :778 The State Department and CIA, unable to stay on message, were unable to convince the House or Senate and on 19 December 1975, the Clark Amendment passed the Senate and covert US aid in Angola ended with the House following suit on 27 January 1976. [13] :778–9

FNLA retreats from Angola

The MPLA and Cubans would maintain the initiative in Northern Angola after the defeat of the FNLA at Quifangondo with the advances on Caxito and the latter's airbases at Camabatela and Negage. [15] :107 Caxito would fall on 27 December 1975 and the FNLAs main airbase at Camabatela was captured on 1 January and Negage on 3 January while their capital at Carmona fell on 4 January and so the FNLA rout began in earnest. [15] :107–8 By early 1976, defeated by the MPLA, the FNLA began retreating, looting villages in northern Angola, as they headed for the Zairian border. [17] :13 On 11 January 1976, FAPLA and the Cubans captured Ambriz and Ambrizete from the FNLA and then advanced on their headquarters at São Salvador its route defended by foreign mercenaries under Colonel Callan and elements of the FNLA. [15] :108–9 With Colonel Callan committing atrocities in the fighting including against his own men he would be stripped of his command in the FNLA and so mercenary support which had begun the previous December ended and São Salvador was captured on 15 February 1976. [15] :109 The South Africans would withdraw from Angola on 27 March 1976 after receiving guarantees from Angola and United Nations on the safety of the installations at the Calueque hydroelectric facility so ending Operation Savannah. [15] :112 Elements of the FNLA that had taken part as South African army's Task Force Zulu, would be reformed into 32 Battalion. [15] :71

Demise of the FNLA

On 29 February 1976, the Angolan President Agostinho Neto and Zairian President Mobuto Sese Seko met in Brazzaville to sign a non-aggression pact which was meant to see the end of Angola's support for Katangese rebels in their country while the Zairians promised to expel both the FNLA and UNITA from bases in Zaire but the deal did not hold and the Shaba I invasion would occur in March 1977. [15] :117–8 The Shaba II invasion of the Zairian Shaba Province in May 1978, by separatists based in eastern Angola, was the beginning of the end for the FNLA based in Zaire. [15] :136 The Angolan President Neto and Zairian President Mobuto Sese Seko would meet again in Brazzaville during June 1978 where a reconciliation pact was signed between the two countries. [17] :13 The result of this pact saw Holden Roberto exiled to Gabon by the Zairian President in November 1979 while he was in France for medical treatment. [15] :138 [17] :13 Elements of the FNLA would continue the fight after Roberto left, now called the FNLA-COMIRA (Angolan Military Resistance Committee) but ceased to exist by 1983. [15] :138

See also

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  10. Walker, John Frederick (2004). A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Giant Sable Antelope of Angola. p. 143.
  11. Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin (1988). The Israeli Connection: Whom Israel Arms and Why. p. 65.
  12. B. MacDonald, Scott (1993). European Destiny, Atlantic Transformations: Portuguese Foreign Policy Under the Second Republic: 1974–1992. p. 56.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Noer, Thomas J. (1993). "International Credibility and Political Survival: The Ford Administration's Intervention in Angola". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 23 (4): 771–785. JSTOR   27551153. (Registration required (help)).
  14. Wright (1997). The Destruction of a Nation. p. 57.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 George, Edward (2012). The Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1965-1991. Routledge. ISBN   0415350158.
  16. 1 2 3 Klinghoffer, Arthur J. (January 1986). "US-Soviet Relations and Angola". Harvard International Review. 8 (3): 15–19. JSTOR   42759853. (Registration required (help)).
  17. 1 2 3 Kosnett, Philip S. (March 1980). "Angola Four Years Later". Harvard International Review. 2 (6): 12–14. JSTOR   42760744. (Registration required (help)).

Further reading