Cabinda : historical issues

Publicado por Tchissap


The first contacts between Portuguese navigators and the coastal principalities (Loango, Kakongo and Ngoyo) which today form Cabinda date back to the fifteenth century. All three were maintained in a vassalage relationship with the Kingdom of Kongo until the 17th century, when the power of Sovereign Mani Kongo weakened as the Portuguese presence in Angola grew stronger. Once established in the region, Portugal’s goal was to gradually consolidate its dominance over the local indigenous princes through a system of intermingling ties of commerce and vassalage, which lasted until the 19th century.

Initially neglected by the Portuguese crown, Cabinda will, from the 17th century, galvanize geostrategic rivalries between the European powers which wished to control the ports of the Kingdom of Kongo for the traffic of slaves.

Thus, between 1640 and 1648 the Dutch took up position in this space, then were driven out by the Portuguese. In 1702, the French and English fleets clashed off Cabinda. Then in 1722, the construction of an English fortress on this territory led to a military intervention by Portugal. In the 1768s, French Catholic sailors and priests settled in Cabinda. The Portuguese then built a fortress in this port, which prompted the dispatch of a French expedition the following year and the destruction of this military structure. Defeated and decimated en masse by malaria, the Portuguese then fled Cabinda. Then, in 1786, they accepted the diktats of the other powers by the Madrid Convention: the rights of Portugal over this territory were finally recognized in exchange for the freedom of trade and slave trade for the other European imperialist powers.

In the 19th century, after the end of the slave trade and with the start of the colonial conquest of the interior lands of equatorial Africa, Cabinda once again became a focal point for European rivalries, because of its geographical position, at the entrance to the mouth of the Congo River. In fact, at that time, rivers were major strategic axes for the colonial powers who sought to ascend their course to establish outposts inside unexplored continental territories, natural resource census bases and anchor points. future waves of colonization; the race to explore and demarcate these territories enabled them to claim the spaces they traveled. In 1873, the French sent religious missions to Cabinda and opened a School of Arts and Crafts there, while the Dutch built houses and fortresses there.

At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, essential for the law applicable to the colonies and other dependencies, the tripartite partition of the immense Kingdom of Kongo was recognized, with the French Congo, the Belgian Congo and the Portuguese Congo. To allow access to the sea in the Belgian Congo from the river port of Matadi, a territorial strip of 60 km along the Congo river is granted by Portugal, which retains Cabinda, now landlocked.

Royaume du Kongo
Carte Bas Congo
Loango gravure
Monument Simulambuco

Peace will enlighten us of humanity and goodness

Peace is not just the mere absence of violence or unrest. This is when there is a possibility of conflict but you make a conscious decision to avoid violence, adopt and use peaceful methods and means to resolve the problem. This is real peace.

Dalai Lama