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Portuguese Angola

(Portuguese West Africa)

Last modified: 2016-08-18 by bruce berry
Keywords: portugal | welwitschia | overseas province |
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Angola was discovered by the Portuguese mariner Diogo Cao in 1483 and became one of Europe's first colonies in sub-Saharan Africa. It was also one of the last to achieve independence, when the Portuguese left in 1975. (Angola became officially independent on 11 November 1975). From 1951 onwards, Portugal regarded its overseas territories as integral parts of the Portugal itself - they were 'provinces', not colonies - and accordingly maintained at the United Nations that they were not subject to decolonization. For the same reason, Portuguese overseas provinces did not have flags of their own: the Portuguese flag was official for all the usual purposes. However, there were distinctive flags for the Governors and Governor Generals of the territories. The flag of the Governor General of the Portuguese Overseas Territories was white, with the cross of the Order of Jesus, on which was centred the arms of Portugal. Two light green stripes ran horizontally across the flag. The flag of the Governor was similar, except that the stripes were vertical.
Stuart Notholt, 10 Jan 1996

Angola was divided into two colonies. In the 1920s stamps were issued separately for Angola and for Portuguese Congo (this last colony consisting of Cabinda and Zaïre provinces, Zaïre lying to the south of the Congo River mouth). The colony of Congo Portuguesa would seem to have been an attempt to revive the BaKongo state - I see you illustrate a flag for Kakongo, although it is not surprising that you have no illustrations of flags for earlier states of the BaKongo.
Mike Oettle, 20 Dec 2001

Portuguese General Army Command

[Angola - Portuguese General Army Command] image by António Martins, 21 April 1998

The General Army Command of Angola (Comando Geral Militar de Angola) used the Welwitschia mirabilis (which grows in Namibia and southern Angola) as the main charge of its coat of arms instead of the 1935 colonial coat of arms sinister mantel, like the commands of the other former Portuguese colonies of Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe, [Portuguese] Guinea and Cape Verde. This is a putative banner of arms of the Army Command.
António Martins, 21 April 1998

Portuguese Provincial Military Command (1961-1975)

image by António Martins, 17 June 2009

The Regimental Colour of the Provincial Military Command in Angola was a regular Portuguese military colour, with the addition of a white scroll under the emblem containing the name of the Unit.  In this case, it reads «Comando Militar da Província de Angola», in embroidered capitals, the middle word "da" in half size.

The Provincial Military Command was in existence between 1961 until Angola's independence in November1975 and its main purpose was to fight the colonial war.
António Martins, 17 June 2009

Proposal for Portuguese Angola (1967)

image by António Martíns-Tuválkin, 01 July 2016

The heraldist F. P. de Almeida Langhans published on p. 67 of his Armorial do Ultramar Português (Lisbon, 1965) [lgh65] a general model for the Portuguese overseas "provinces" flags.  This was the Portuguese national flag defaced with the shield of the lesser arms of each province centered in the lower fly quarter of the red field. This proposal was approved in 1967, but never came into effect.

   image by António Martíns-Tuválkin, 01 July 2016

The colonial arms, decreed on 08 June 1935 had a shield of the same pattern, tierced in mantel, the dexter silver, five escutcheons in saltire, each charged with five bezants, gold, in cross; and the point silver, five waves green. The remaining sinister mantel had some local emblem: Angola: Purple, an elephant and a zebra, both proper, passant dexter, per pale.
Antonio Martíns, 08 July 1997, corrected 14 September 1997

Municipal flags

In old issues of the Diário da República one can probably locate accurate information about flags and Coat of Arms of towns and municipalities of Angola. All legislation has to be published there, and I believe that it has been the case at least since the revolution of 1910. c. 40 Coats of Arms can be seen on Ralf Hartemink's site.
Jorge Candeias, 22 Feb 2005