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Empires and IndigenesIntercultural Alliance, Imperial Expansion, and Warfare in the Early Modern World$
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Wayne E. Lee

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814753088

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814753088.001.0001

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Firearms, Diplomacy, and Conquest in Angola

Firearms, Diplomacy, and Conquest in Angola

Cooperation and Alliance in West Central Africa, 1491–1671

(p.167) 7 Firearms, Diplomacy, and Conquest in Angola
Empires and Indigenes

John K. Thornton

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the Portuguese conquest of Angola, which commenced in 1575 and, in many respects, was completed in 1671. The conquest of Angola was hardly spectacular by Spanish standards, as it took over only about half the kingdom of Ndongo, its principal target, and at the end of the wars, Portugal controlled just a small sliver of land, mostly along the coast and the banks of two rivers, whose course was largely through inhospitable semidesert land. Portugal achieved its results only with major assistance from indigenous armies, and it fit into the regional politics as just one of the players in a system of interstate relations. To the degree that Portugal could expand its coercive authority through space, it was required to make major concessions to its allies and to accept alliances that had a high cost in regard to Portuguese control.

Keywords:   Portugal, Angola, imperial conquest, colonization, Ndongo, regional politics, interstate relations

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