What made the 6 Portuguese speaking countries in Africa a colonial target for Portugal?
I was reading about Lusophone Africa and the Portuguese-speaking African countries and realised how little I know about the 6 Portuguese colonies in Africa. Most people may not know but some African countries were colonies of Portugal. With majority of the African countries being Anglophone and Francophone, Lusophone countries are hardly ever recognized.
Lusophone Africa is an ethno-linguistic group of peoples in the 6 countries across Africa that speak the Portuguese language, also Former Portuguese colonies. The Lusofonia, also known as the Lusophone World, is the corresponding community of Lusophone nations, which exist in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
The Portuguese-speaking African countries (Portuguese: Países Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa; PALOP), also known as Lusophone Africa, consist of six African countries in which Portuguese is spoken as the official language.
Below are top 6 Lusophone countries. These countries thus were colonized by the Portuguese:
4. Cape Verde
5. São Tomé and Príncipe
6. Equatorial Guinea
1. Angola: Located in South Central Africa, Angola borders Namibia. Angola was liberated in 1975 where the people became ruled by one party. This made it a one party state then. This led to civil war that finally ended in 2002. This delayed the country’s growth. Angola has the fastest growing economy especially after the civil war. This is due to the vast mineral and petroleum reserves. However, the standard of living is low and the infant mortality rate quite high. Angola is also a member state of the United Nations, Opec, African Union and countries speaking the Portuguese Language.
2. Equatorial Guinea: It is located at the West Coast of Central Africa. Though it was colonized by Spain and the inhabitants speak Spanish, Portuguese is an ideal option. Equatorial Guinea is also a massive producer of oil in Sub Saharan countries. This has raised the GDP dramatically but only benefiting a few people in the country. Less than half of the people access water while the child mortality rate is at 20%. It also has the worst human rights records from human trafficking to forced labor. It is also a member of the United Nations, African Union and Francophone as well.
3. Guinea-Bissau: Guinea Bissau is located in West Africa, covers about 36,000 Kilometers and has its capital at Bissau. With a majority of the citizens being Muslims, only 14% of the country are fluent in Portuguese. Liberation from the Portuguese came in 1973 where the Africans were freed from the shackles of colonialism. Challenges faced by this gem include illiteracy and HIV/AIDS prevalence.
4. Cape Verde: Cape Verde is an island composed of about 10 archipelagos. It has its capital city at Praia. Cape Verde has been stable since 1990 and is one of the most developed country in Africa. The people from Cape Verde got independence from the Portuguese in 1975. The archipelago is politically stable and also has special relations with the EU. Cape Verde also has problems such as poor eduction systems that need to be made better.
5. São Tomé and Príncipe: This is a Gulf country to the West of Guinea in West Africa. It consists of two main archipelagos. It has its capital at Sao Tome. It acquired independence in 1975. Majority of the citizens are catholic. The 2nd smallest African country is actually a founding member of the Community of Portuguese speaking African countries. Some challenges this country faces include water and land pollution.
6. Mozambique: Located in South East Africa and bordered to the East by Indian Ocean , Mozambique has its capital at Maputo. The official language of Mozambique is Portuguese. Other languages include Makhuna, Sena and Swahili. Mozambique is also a member of the UN, Commonwealth, Non Aligned Movement and African Union. In 1975, after 10 years of war and struggle for liberation, FRELIMO took over. However, another war broke out from 1977 to 1992 due to the uncivil ruling of the government that was present. Mozambique’s economy is doing well but being crippled by corruption therefore a bill was set up in 2011 to regulate corruption. The recent cyclone in Mozambique led to many deaths.
The 6 Portuguese speaking countries in Africa are located on the central and western part of the African map. This is with an exception to Cape Verde which is located just off the coast of Senegal in West Africa. Cape Verde is famous for its warm tropical climate, volcanic islands, wonderful musicians, and delicious cuisine. Besides giving us Lusophone music, which is a beautiful blend of indigenous languages and music from Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries, or music that comes from Portuguese-speaking countries. The Atlantic group of islands are pushing for an entrance of Cape Verde into the European Union under a special status though at the moment it is still considered part of Africa.