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Portugal and the End of


Perry Anderson

It is now clear that the Portuguese Empire is coming to an end.

In its final days, it may be timely to examine the history and structure
of this empire, both for their own interest and for the importance
they have for any general account of imperialism. Good factual
accounts of the Portuguese Empire, past and present, already exist
and will no doubt continue to appear. The study below is intended
rather to suggest a theoretical model which can integrate the available
material into a coherent and significant whole. It begins, necessarily,
with the briefest of accounts of contemporary Portugal itself, as
centre of determination of its colonies. There follows a rsum
history of the Empire, and then a structural analysis of Portuguese
imperialism as it exists today. A final section deals with the
insurrection in Angola.

Portugal: Economy*
Lying on the Western sea-board on the Iberian peninsula, Portugal
is some 350 miles long and 100 miles wide. The north is mountainous:
most of the centre and the south consists of high plateaux which pro-
long the Central Spanish Meseta down to the Atlantic. The climate is
Mediterranean, with a rainfall of 29 inches and an average tempera-
ture that varies between 70 and 50 F. The population (1960) is
9,100,000. A break-down of the economically active proportion of
this shows:

* Statistical sources: Annuario Estatistico 1958, UN, OEEC, Economist

Intelligence Unit.

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing ... 1,569,000

Manufacturing ... ... ... 592,000
Personal and General Services ... 489,000
Trade and Insurance ... ... ... 227,000
Building and Public Works ... ... 155,000
Civil Servants ... ... ... ... 115,000
Transport ... ... ... ... 107,000
Mining ... ... ... ... ... 25,000
Public Service Industries ... ... 10,000
Rest ... ... ... ... ... 6,000
Total ... ... ... ... 3,186,000
of whom women ... ... 725,000
(1950 census figures)

The primary sector (agriculture, fishing, forestry) thus absorbs

about 50% of Portugals manpower. Industry accounts for only 24%.
The tertiary (white-collar) sector employs the remaining 26%. As a
pattern, this is unique in Western Europe. The only other country
with a work-force distributed in anything like this way is Spain,
which, however, has a much more considerable industrial sector. A
comparison with the two other physically smallest colonial powers,
Belgium and Holland, is instructive. In 1957, Belgium, with a popula-
tion almost exactly the same as Portugals (9,000,000), had an agri-
cultural sector of 11%, an industrial sector of no less than 49%, and a
tertiary sector of 37%. In Holland in 1957 the figures showed an even
more sophisticated pattern: 19%30%41%. The contrast reveals
the Portuguese economy as backward in the extreme.
The picture becomes sharper as it takes on more detail. Agriculture
occupies the vast bulk of the work-force, yet it is subsistence farming
at such low levels of technique, that it accounts for only one fourth
of the national product. The soil is particularly poor, lacking phos-
phates and potash. Fertiliser techniques are rudimentaryit is
officially estimated that production could be raised by at least 50%
given adequate fertilisation. Mechanisation is minimal (there were
6,000 tractors in all Portugal in 1958). Erosion, due to unreliable
rainfall and lack of preventive measures, is widespread. As a result,
despite the overwhelming place of agriculture in national life, Portugal
has a permanent cereal deficit: 150,000 metric tons of corn were
imported annually in the period 195355. In 1960, wheat imports
alone cost 227 million escudos.
There is almost no heavy industry. Deposits of coal and iron ore
are relatively small: 490,000 tons of coal was produced in 1960, and
280,000 tons of iron ore. There is now one steel works in the country,
at Seixal near Lisbon, with an initial planned capacity of 200,000
tons a year and target capacity of 500,000 tons; but with a slowly
rising level of demand, this is expected merely to hold the volume of
steel imports at its present level. Electrical production has increased
in recent years, and in 1960 reached 3,250 million kilowatts. But this
is still the lowest per capita output in Western Europe. Total energy
Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

consumption was some 355 kilos of coal (equivalent) per capita in

1959: OEEC estimates place this as about 15 to the OEEC average
index of 100. Such underdeveloped countries as Panama (478 kilos),
Lebanon (567 kilos) or the Malayan Federation (558 kilos) consumed
Textiles are the dominant light industry. They employ one third of
the total manufacturing work-force and provide one fifth of all
export earnings. The basis of much of this industry is artificial, as it is
heavily dependent on forcibly depressed cotton prices in the colonies,
and drastically protected markets in the same territories: in 1960
82.7% of Portugals raw cotton imports came from her colonies, and
35.8% of her cotton manufactures were exported back to the same
areas. Without this administratively enforced supply and demand,
the Portuguese textile industry, which is inefficient and uncompetitive,
would dwindle rapidly. Cork, of which Portugal is the worlds largest
producer, is the other major export industry (one sixth all foreign
earnings in 1960). But about half these earnings come from raw cork
which, as a primary product is subject to considerable fluctuations
in world prices, and is at the minute suffering from excess supply.
Next in size come fish products (mainly sardines) and wine. The 1960
figures were as follows:
Exports (million escudos)
Textiles ... ... ... ... ... 1,980
Cork ... ... ... ... ... 1,468
manufactured ... ... ... 772
unmanufactured ... ... ... 696
Canned Fish ... ... ... ... 1,057
Wine ... ... ... ... ... 687
Timber and manufacture ... ... 465
Resin and products ... ... ... 420
Wolfram ... ... ... ... 106
Olive oil ... ... ... ... 82
Total exports ... ... ... 9,354
For domestic consumption, there are small industries producing
leather goods, metal products, chemicals, soap, paper, glassware,
ceramics, electrical goods and Pharmaceuticals.
The major import items, in contrast, are heavy industrial goods
(machinery, finished steel), classic consumer durables (motor vehicles,
radio sets, sewing machines), foodstuffs (wheat, sugar, potatoes, cod),
and fuels (petroleum, coal).
Imports (million escudos) 1960
Industrial machinery ... ... ... 1,425
Iron and steel ... ... ... ... 1,403
Raw Cotton ... ... ... ... 1,041
Motor Vehicles ... ... ... 882
Crude Oil ... ... ... ... 820
Refined Oil Products ... ... ... 525
Man-made fibres ... ... ... 301

Wheat ... ... ... ... ... 226

Ships ... ... ... ... ... 222
Iron and steel products ... ... 200
Radio and television receivers ... 187
Antiobiotics and medicaments ... 251
Plastics ... ... ... ... ... 235
Total imports ... ... ... 15,636
With the single exception of cotton for the textile industry, the classic
colonial absorption of raw materials for re-export as manufactured
products, does not occur. The balance is exactly opposite: quasi-raw
material exports (cork, wine, etc.involving minimal technological
intervention), manufactured imports. The pattern is the very reverse
of an imperial economy.
A semi-subsistence agriculture, an insignificant producers goods
industry, an extremely limited consumer sector, overwhelming export
reliance on processed primary products: Portugal, an imperial power,
has the economy of an underdeveloped country. The corollary is a
standard of living that is the lowest in Western Europe, and one of the
lowest in the world: 210 dollars a year, less than Greece or Mexico.

Social structures reflect and reinforce the retardation of the
economy. More than two-thirds of the population live in communities
of less than 2,000 people. The peasantry is thus by far the most
numerous class. This class suffers under two opposite, but equally
oppressive tenurial regimes. The South is dominated by the vast
latifundia of a feudal aristocracy; the North by myriads of tiny
peasant holdings. The disproportions of wealth have few comparisons
anywhere in the world. Ninety per cent of the farms in the north are
miniscule plots averaging 2.4 acres of field crops. In the south the
average size is 2,500 times as large5,878 acres. Of all Portuguese
farms 94.9% are less than 24 acres in size: 0.3% are over 494 acres.
Yet the first account for only 28.7% of the countrys total cultivated
areathe second for 39%.
In the north, through generations of divided inheritances, the
innumerable small holdings are steadily becoming ever smaller and
less viable. Even within this system landlordism is rampant: a recent
observer reported that it is not unknown for a five-acre farm to be
owned by no less than 15 different landlords. The immense southern
latifundia are devoted to extensive cultivation and livestock breeding.
In the north, the small peasant proprietor has no capital to improve
his yield. In the south the absentee latifundista, as in much of Latin
America, is content with his aggregate profit, and will not invest to
raise productivity. The net result is chronic unemployment in the
countryside, and the cereal deficit.
The average agricultural wage is 5/7d. a day for men, and 3/1d. for
women. The urban working class is little better off. The average wage
in the cities is 6/7d. a daysome 2 a week. There is no question of
Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

striking for higher wages, shorter hours or better conditions: unions

are illegal. With a stagnant economy and creeping prices (monopolies,
inflated administrative and commercial sectors) real wages dropped
by one third between 1939 and 1958. Per capita consumption of meat
is a quarter of that in France, and scarcely more than that in Egypt.
Consumption of sugar compares with Ceylon or Pakistan. Calory
intake (2,410) is lower than in such underdeveloped countries as
Greece, Paraguay or Egypt.
Housing conditions match diet: even by official Portuguese stan-
dards 11,000 families in Lisbon alone (population 790,000) live in
dwellings unfit for human habitation. In 1950, only 14.5% of all
Portuguese houses had running water in the houses (34.2% in Spain,
28.7% in Greece); only 19.5% had electricity (Spain 80%) and 7.8%
baths. Health inevitably reflects the conditions of food and shelter.
The infant mortality rate is the highest in Europe (88.6 per 1,000
population), and higher than some colonial and ex-colonial territories
(67.5 in Senegal). Tuberculosis is more frequent than anywhere else
in Europe (51 deaths per 100,000 population). Portugal has only had
an actual Ministry of Health since 1958. Education fares no better:
40.4% of the population over seven years of age is illiterate, the most
damning single figure of all.
The emigration statistics are a verdict on the system. Between 1954
and 1957 net average emigration was 31,760 persons a year (about
65% went to Brazil or Venezuela), one third of the net national in-
crease of population over that period.
The sovereigns of this misery are a tiny, compact oligarchy of
families which entirely dominate the economy through a set of
complementary personal and institutional controls. On the one hand,
a series of interlocking directorships link banks, industries and
insurance houses. On the other, an all-embracing network of cartels
overlays the whole economy and ensures monopoly profit-levels from
it. These structures underline Portugals backwardness as a colonial
metropolis. They show striking analogies to pre-war Egypt, where a
traditional, socially exclusive intermarrying elite of a similar kind
dominated the economy from power positions in banking and finance
houses, debilitating economic growth by financial and real estate
speculation. The archetype of the Portuguese cartels, the Companhia
Unio Fabril (CUF), occupies a comparable position to the famous
Misr group in the ancien regime in Egypt. CUF has a monopoly
of the Portuguese metallurgical industry. It controls the majority of
dockyards and shipping firms, and has a massive share of export
houses and colonial enterprises. Through its subsidiary, Gouveia,
CUF all but owns Portuguese Guinea: it has a monopoly of all
wholesale and retail commerce, the rice and peanut industries, and all
transport. Within Portugal itself its ancillaries include: medicinal
drugs, cement, tobacco, tin, cellulose, air transport, electrical industry,
banking, soap, beer, matches, livestock, cinema, real estate and
At the same time, foreign capital penetration in Portugal, parti-
cularly British, is probably more advanced than in any other

European country. The industrial and commercial centre of Oporto

is dominated by Anglo-Scottish families resident there for genera-
tions; Clarkes, Coutts, Sandeman, de la Fosse. The Anglo-Portuguese
Telephone Company has a monopoly of the countrys telephone
system. The urban bus and train services are all British owned. Strong
representation in banking is ensured by the Bank of London and
South America. About half of the insurance companies (40 out of 86
in 1953) are foreign owned, with British concerns again predominant:
26 British firms to 6 French, 4 Spanish, 2 Swiss, 1 German, and 1
Italian. The British have strong interests in shipbuilding and electrical
goods (English Electric) the German in Pharmaceuticals (Meyer) and
engineering (Mannesman, Krupp). There is a US monopoly in the
marketing of cork.

Political Regime
The logic of economic archaism, brutal exploitation and omni-
present foreign capital is a political regime of permanent violence.
Only a massive machinery of repression could keep the whole in-
tolerable structure in place. The Salazar dictatorship is precisely this.
Born in 1926 out of an army revolt, it was, like its Spanish and Latin-
American homologues, the creation of a military and ecclesiastical
alliance. The beneficiaries of the regime are the feudal landowners of
the latifundia and the oligarchy which controls the cartels. Church and
Army in turn are institutional formations of these groups. The social
character of the Salazar regime is thus unambiguous, but its identity
is not simply to be absorbed into its class of origin and its range of
beneficiaries. In its 35 years of existence, the political apparatus of
Salazarism has, by now a classic sociological process, worked itself
to a certain extent free from its social base, gaining a margin of
autonomy vis--vis the groups which brought it to power and whose
interests it factually serves. It has developed an extensive para-
military and ideological armature of its own. There are at least five
different armed political and police corps: the secret police (PIDE);
the riot police (PSP); the Republican guard (GNR); and the volunteer
Legio Portuguesa, a green-shirted shock and vigilante organisation.
There is also an armed customs police (Guardia Fiscal). The Legio
has some 87,000 members and is an important military and political
reserve force for the regime. The GNR in 1958 numbered some 7,675
men, and is capable of deploying fully armoured and motorized units
instantly against strikes or demonstrations. Parallel to these bodies
is the civilian organisation of the regime, the Unio Nacional,
Portugals single political party. Founded in 1930, this has never
been very important in the constellation of power within the regime,
and is today confined mainly to an ideological and publicity role.
The Portuguese regime is commonly described as fascist, and the
apparatus of repression and exploitation outlined above clearly meets
this classification. The ideology of Salazarismcorporativismgives
the term a precise historical reference. Corporativism conceives the
nation as a series of conflicting interest groups, between whom the
State should act as arbiter, organising all groups into corporations
Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

and mediating impartially between them. Employers are organised

into gremios, workers into sindicatos. The Legislature is divided
into a National Assembly (all 120 seats, elected on a severely res-
tricted suffrage, are held by the Unio Nacional), and a Corporative
Assembly, representing the different corporations.
Corporativism was, of course, the official ideology of the Italian
Fascist Party, and its imitation in Portugal defines Salazars regime
as fascist in a pure sense of the term. At the same time, it remains in
Portugal a somewhat half-hearted affair: the regime has never made
any real attempt at a systematic propagation or even exposition of
the theory. Corporativism in Portugal is a larvaed ideology, with
little political importance. The reason lies doubtless in the role of
Catholicism in Portugal. Fascism is an emergency operation: a last,
desperate attempt to prolong or resurrect by force a social order
which once functioned as if naturally and automatically, without
the open intervention of violence, but which is now irretrievably
broken. It develops an articulated ideology to the exact extent that
traditional centres of authority have weakened or declined. In
Portugal, deprived of the experience of either Reformation or Indus-
trial Revolution, Catholicism is virulent and unchallenged, more so
than in any other European country, even Spain. A developed fascist
ideology is therefore unnecessary. In Italy, the influence and power of
the Church, although still massive, was also widely contested and
discredited in the 20s: fascism in Italy was correspondingly more
ideological. In the maelstrom of Germany in the 30s, where all
traditional authority had broken down, fascism took a highly arti-
culated and systematic ideological form. What is true of political
theories is probably equally true of political machines. The facade
nature of the Unio Nacional, the decentred position of the Legio
Portuguesa are the obverse of the overwhelming role of the Army
in Portugal; just as the relative positions of the Falange, the Fascist or
the Nazi parties have varied inversely to the role of the Army in
Spain, Italy and Germany. In 1958 one out of every three Cabinet
Ministers in Portugal was a member of the Armed Forces (including
the crucial Ministries of the Interior and the Overseas Territories).
The President of the Republic is always a General. Military expen-
diture in 1960 absorbed one-fifth of the budget (2,219.4 million
escudos of a total expenditure of 10,488 million escudos), and was
scheduled to take up well over a quarter in 1961, an estimate made
well before the Angolan insurrection. Elite recruitment of the officer
corps is explicit: no coloured Portuguese citizen can become an
officer, no officer can marry any woman without either a university
degree or a 875 dowry, all officers must marry in Church.
Salazars regime has been able to rely largely on traditional
institutional formations for its apparatus of coercion and mystifica-
tion. It has also developed independent structures of its own, parti-
cularly in its exercise of police repression, and enjoys a limited, but
definite margin of autonomy from its institutional supports and their
social ground. (This is of immediate political importance, as will
emerge later). To sum up: Portugal, formally the third largest imperial

power in the world today, is itself an underdeveloped country. A

largely pre-industrial infra-structure, feudal ownership patterns,
military paramountcy, a torpid fascism. This is the metropolitan
complex which determines the specific system of Portuguese overseas
domination: ultra-colonialismthat is, at once the most primitive
and the most extreme modality of colonialism. It is in terms of these
two elements that an analysis of the Portuguese empire can be made.

The anomaly of Portuguese imperialism has to be seen in the
perspective of its history. How did Portugal ever come to possess its
vast African colonies? Their origins lie at the very opening of
European overseas expansion in the 15th century.

I. Asia
Portugal, favoured by a geographical position along the Atlantic
sea-board and just off the extreme western edge of North Africa,
began sending ships southwards along the African Atlantic coast at
the beginning of the 15th century. Cape Bojador was passed in 1434,
Senegal reached in 1444, the Cape Verde Islands colonised in 1456.
In 1485 Diego Co reached the mouth of the Congo. In 1487 Dias
sailed beyond the cape of Good Hope. And in 1498 da Gama landed
in India.
What was the economic content of this expansion? Two stages
need to be distinguished. In the first half of the century, Portuguese
expeditions to West Africa aimed primarily at the acquisition of
Guinean gold. Caravels left loaded with tin and brass-ware, linen,
trinkets, coral (and later beads on the East coat of Africa), and
bartered these for gold and slaves. The gold thus accumulated
probably helped to substitute for the increasingly scarce Sudanese
source which had up till about 1440 financed deficit European trade
in the Levant.
Once da Gama had landed in India, the whole basis of Portuguese
commercial expansion changed. The object was now spices (pepper,
nutmegs, cinnamon, cloves), not gold. Direct access to India allowed
the Portuguese to eliminate the Arab and Levantine middlemen who
had controlled the European export market to that date from Cairo
and Alexandria.
The profits from the spice trade were initially colossal. Da Gamas
shipment of pepper (not a large one) paid for his voyage 60 times over.
The spices were bought with Guinean gold and the German silver
for which it was sold in Europe. After the first voyages, pepper prices
slumped in Europe, but were later stabilised at 30 cruzados a quintal,
while their procurement price in India remained at about 2 cruzados.
Venice, the former entrept of the spice trade in Europe, suffered a
severe crisis and joined with Arab Red Sea traders in attempting to
oust the Portuguese from their Indian vantage-points by force. But
in 1509, a combined Venetian-Arab-Indian fleet was destroyed by
Almeida off Diu, and Portuguese control of Middle-Eastern shipping
was assured.
Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

Rapid expansion followed. Goa was seized in 1510, and soon

dominated the Indian coast. Malacca, in the Malay straits, was taken
in 1511 and the main source area for the spices, the Indonesian islands
of Amboina, Ternate and Tidore in 1514. In 1515, Ormuz in the
Persian Gulf was captured. In 1519 Colombo fell. By the middle of
the 16th century, the Portuguese exercised control over the whole
Indian Ocean from East Africa to Indonesia, and the Persian Gulf to
Burma. The structure of this Empire was absolutely distinctive. It
consisted simply of a vast arc of naval bases strung-out at immense
intervals round the Indian Ocean: Sofala, Mozambique and Mom-
basa in East Africa; Ormuz and Muscat in the Persian Gulf; Diu,
Damao, Bassein, Chaul, Goa, Cochin in India; Colombo in Ceylon;
Malacca in the Malay straits; Amboina, Ternate, Tidor and Solor in
Indonesia (later Macao extended Portuguese penetration to the
South China sea). These bases commanded both sources (Indonesian
islands, Ceylon) and sea routes, and effectively secured Portuguese
commercial dominance over the whole ocean.
Wealth flowed into Portugal on an immense, unprecedented scale.
Albuquerque estimated the annual profits to the Crown alone at
1,000,000 cruzados a year. Lisbon became the most spectacularly
opulent town in Europe. In the first half of the 16th century a climax
of imperial luxury was reached, which marked the zenith of the first
wave of European overseas expansion.
This Portuguese empire of the 16th century was the creation of a
specific type of imperialism, an imperialism of exchange. Its pattern
was the barter or purchase of one type of (usually primary) com-
modity for another. Pepper from the Malabar coast, cinnamon from
Ceylon, cloves, mace and nutmeg from the Indonesian islands, were
initially bought on the Indian coast, mainly with German silver from
the Augsburg mines. The original accumulation of capital came from
the influx of Guinean gold in the first half of the 15th century:
this was then ploughed back into the spice expeditions, with an
enormously increased yield. As the Portuguese grip on the Indian
Ocean littorals extended, much of the supply-areas for these spices
came under their control, and they could then be shipped home
directly. Finally, when naval supremacy was firmly established, the
Portuguese came to make larger and larger profits from the Asian
interport trade, which they controlled through a system of licences,
unlicenced local traders being liable to arrest and confiscation. In
this way, much of the spices came to be paid for in Coromandel
cloth from the Indian coast: Arabian horses, African gold and ivory,
Chinese and Japanese bullion were carried the relatively short and
safe distances from one oriental entrept to another: Ormuz to Goa,
Cochin to Colombo, Macao to Nagasaki, etc. Ultimately, the actual
majority of Portuguese revenues in the East came from this carrying
trade, but much of it stayed in the East, whereas the carracks which
got back to Lisbon were predominantly loaded with spices, silks and
Portuguese oriental trade was imperialism as well as exchange,
because of its enforcement by technologically superior means of

violence (bombardment of Calicut, burning of Mombasa, seizure of

Socotra, sacking of Goa, etc.). The basis of Portuguese successes in
the Indian Ocean in the 16th century is much argued over. Two
crucial factors were Portugals own position in European geopolitics
at the time, and the state of the various Empires which confronted
the Portuguese when they rounded Africa at the turn of the 16th
century. Besides the purely geographical assets of her outlying posi-
tion on the Atlantic seaboard, Portugal enjoyed the related advantage
of comparative isolation from the European power-political struggle,
thus allowing an all-out concentration on overseas expansion which
no other European country could match. At the same time, none of
the major states against which Portuguese expansion in the Indian
Ocean was launched, was politically very strong at that moment. The
Mameluke empire in Egypt was about to succumb to the Ottoman
Turks. Southern India was dominated by five Muslim Sultanates and
the Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar, all frequently at war with each
other; the Javanese empire of Madjapahit was in collapse and
decline; Ming China was in an isolationist phase; Japan was in
anarchy. Thus, when the Portuguese appeared in the Indian Ocean
and beyond, there was very little armed shipping there to resist them.
In their overall level of culture, the eastern empires were easily
as advanced as the Portuguese aggressor, if not more so. This was true
even of the small Arab city-states on the East Coast of Africa: as Duffy
says: By all accounts, it was a world comparable, if not superior,
in material culture to Portugal in 1500.* Portuguese success
was not even due to a superior naval technology; pilots and
navigating instruments in the Indian-African traffic were as good as
anything the Portuguese had. Chinese and Indonesian war-junks were
more formidable than Portuguese warships. Where decisive super-
iority did lie was in artillery. The Chinese had possessed cannon for
centuries, but they were inefficient compared with European models.
Other Asian artillery was still less effective. Portuguese paramountcy
in the East was based ultimately on heavier fire power.
The logic of this type of expansion was to move beyond control of
exchange to control of actual extraction. The transition from one
stage to the other implied a more systematic use of violence: instead
of the establishment of factories and forts along a littoral, it meant
the conquest of extensive hinterlands. With the seizure of the spice
islands, the Portuguese in the 16th century had already formally
taken this step, but spices are such a concentrated crop (by the 18th
century, the totality of the worlds cloves crop was grown, by Dutch
restrictive practice, on the island of Amboina) that the normal
consequences of the change were never effected in the Portuguese
Asian Empire.
Key administrators (Almeida, Real) consciously resisted any ten-
dency to extend Portuguese enclaves inland: da Gama even advised
the abandonment of Ormuz, Malacca, and all the Indian forts
except Goa and Cochin.

*James Duffy, Portuguese Africa, Cambridge, 1959.

Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

The decisive difference between either of these types of imperialism

and the classic transformer imperialism of the 19th century is clear.
The one exploited its colonial possessions both for raw material
supplies and as consumer markets for goods produced at home, often
manufactured from processed primary products from the same area.
The other simply enforced an advantageous exchange of primary
products, or, at best, seized control of their extraction.
The crucial difference lies in the role of technology in each. In
19th century imperialism, technological superiority is generalized.
Structuring and defining every aspect of colonial reality, it is at once
the motor and the meaning of the totality of the economic and social
relationships at stake. By contrast, in the earlier type of imperialism,
technological superiority is confined to the essentially external
medium of violence, leaving the strictly economic processes un-
advanced and unchanged.
The difference is underlined by the domestic impact of the wave of
Portuguese commercial expansion at the beginning of the 16th
century. While oriental revenues soared, the metropolitan economy
stagnated and declined. In the words of the textbook account: They
(the Portuguese) did not produce anything at home, in agriculture or
manufacture; in the midst of what seemed a perpetual carnival the
nation was begging its bread. The King sent to Flanders for ships of
corn. After the famine of 15034 came the plague of 1505. The
immense wealth of Lisbon was useless. In 1521, the pressure of
hunger was so great that poor people, wandering in bands through
Lisbon, fell dead and remained unburied. Corn continued to be
bought abroad: Portugal began importing wheat and barley from
France and North Africa as well as from Flanders.* Salt meat,
cheese, butter, and fish had to be bought abroad. Elementary manu-
factures like cloth, metalwork and furniture were imported. The
external debt in Flanders became so high that by 1543 interest-rates
in Antwerp had risen to 50%. By 1544 the royal debt was 2,000,000
cruzados; by 1552 it was 3,000,000; by 1560 it was so large that the
interest-rate on it was repudiated. Slaves were imported from the
Guinean Coast for manual labour while Portuguese emigrated to
Western Spain to find employment. Pogroms broke out against the
Jewish population. In 1538 sumptuary laws, a classic phenomenon of
inflation and extreme social disintegration, made their appearance.
Contemporary foreign observers were emphatic that the spice
empire had demoralized domestic industry and agriculture. They
believed it did this by its magnetic effect on manpower, its high rate of
casualties (as many as 50% of a crew often died from disease; and
as carracks became more and more heavily loaded, capsizing and
shipwreck increased), and the cultural effects of its quick-money
climate. It is possible the actual economic decline in Portugal has
been exaggerated in this period for the purposes of subsequent
morality. But the central fact is clear: the opening phase of Portuguese
overseas expansion was based on a flagrantly fainant metropolitan
*J. B. Trend, Portugal, London, 1957.

2. America
Towards the middle of the 16th century, sugar plantations were
started on the sparse Portuguese settlements in north-eastern Brazil.
Production expanded, and by the end of the century was making a
major contribution to the domestic economy. From 1580 to 1640
Portugal was incorporated in the Spanish Kingdom and thus drawn
into war with England and Holland. Dutch attacks on Portuguese
positions in the East began almost immediately. In 1602 the Dutch
East India Company was founded: Amboina fell in 1605, Ternate
and Tidore in 1607, Ormuz in 1622. Expulsion from Japan came in
1639, Malacca was taken in 1641, Ceylon and the Malabar coast in
165563, when peace was finally made.
By the early 17th century, the spice empire was lost. At this
critical juncture, Brazilian sugar saved Portuguese prosperity and
preserved its structure almost intact. In 1612, eight of the eleven
Brazilian captaincies were together exporting some 7,000 to 8,500
tons of sugar a year. The market value of this crop was enormous: as
early as 1627 it was calculated at 400,000 cruzados a year. The
Portuguese empire was not merely transferred from a basis of one
primary product to another. In both cases, the product concerned
was the most lucrative single commodity of the century: spices in
the 16th, and sugar in the 17th century. Sugar was the most important
bulk export from the tropical world to Europe in the 17th century,
and Brazilian sugar dominated world supply.
The Brazilian plantations completed the conversion of the Portu-
guese empires basic mode of exploitation from exchange to extrac-
tion, and attracted the first real wave of colonization. Technological
innovation began to impinge on the economic process per sesugar
was an imported crop, and it was processed in refineries on the spot.
Large areas of north-eastern Brazil were penetrated and cleared, al-
though development was still mainly concentrated close to the littoral.
But in all major respects, little was changed; sugar simply replaced
spices, and the orientation of Portuguese imperialism shifted from Asia
to South America. The home economy grew no stronger; indeed, the
leading authority on colonial Brazil can write: It is not too much to say
that the existence of Portugal as an independent nation depended
mainly on the resources which she derived from the Brazil trade.*
At the end of the 17th century, French and British West Indian
sugar production was beginning to overtake Brazilian output. At this
second moment of crisis, the imperial economy was rescued and
relayed once again. In 1694 gold was discovered in Brazil. In 1718
further deposits were found inland: in 1728 diamonds were discovered
in the original gold-bearing area. The revenue from this new colonial
wealth equalled or exceeded the profits from sugar. For 100 years,
the mines of Minas Gerais and Cuiab assured the continuity of
Portugals imperial prosperity. But despite marginal re-investments
in Portugal, it also preserved the continuity of Portuguese economic
*C. R. Boxer, Salvador de S and the Struggle for Brazil and Angola, London,
Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

In Brazil, the habits of monoculture were carried over unchanged,

or were even reinforced, by the substitution of mines for plantations.
In Minas Gerais there was actually a formal prohibition of any
occupations that might have diverted manpower from the gold
industry. In Portugal, the Methuen treaty with England was signed
in 1703, and Portugals under-development received explicit juridical
status. An adumbration of 19th century colonial devices, the
Treaty placed Portugal in the position of a permanent economic
dependent: in exchange for the preferential entry of Portuguese wine
to Britain, free entry was granted to British cloth, thus effectively
stifling Portugals projected woollen industry and restricting its
export economy to processed primary products.
At a time when Brazilian bullion was furnishing huge cpaital
revenues in Lisbon, the anomaly of Portuguese imperialism was never
clearer. Cereal production sank as viniculture spread, in a pattern
which has become classic of Algeria in the 20th century. The English
trade ran at a deficit of 1,000,000 a year, and the difference was
covered in gold.
In 1822 Brazil declared its independence. Portugal, deprived of its
empire, relapsed into poverty, stagnation and debt. The 19th century
left the country suddenly reduced to its real proportions, and arrested

3. Africa
Then, as the century was coming to an end, the Portuguese empire
was revived and transformed once again. Its final metamorphosis
came in Africa.
In 1505, on his voyage to India, Almeida had set up a factory at Sofala
on the east coast, and a fortress at Kilwa. Two years later a fortress
and factory were built on Mozambique island. In 1531 Sena was
founded, in 1544 Quelimane. The purpose of these enclaves was to
act as supply and protection ports for the traffic to India and
Indonesia. They were technically administered from the Goan
viceroyalty. At the same time, the Portuguese hoped to discover
important sources of silver and gold in the African interior; limited
amounts were finding their way down to the coast from Manica and
Mashona at this period, raising great expectations. But neither metal
was ever found in substantial quantities, and Portuguese penetration
of the hinterland, motivated almost exclusively by the search for
them, was limited and ephemeral. By the end of the 17th century
only the Zambezi valley as far as Tete had been occupied and even
there the settlements were few and shadowy. The total Portuguese
population on the whole coast probably did not exceed one thousand.
With the collapse of the spice trade and the Asian empire, the rationale
of Portuguese presence on the East Coast had gone, and the whole
area disintegrated and declined: there was a withdrawal from the
farther posts in the interior, and on the coast Sofala became deserted.
The historian of Portuguese Africa writes: in the 1810s the extent
of Portuguese coastal occupation was the same as in 1600 and con-
sisted of forts and trading posts from Ibo to Lourenco Marques.

Reports of travellers and governors record the apathy, disease and

neglect in these coastal towns. . . . Neither in the south nor in the
north had the Portuguese penetrated appreciably into the interior;
to the contrary, their coastal outposts sustained periodic attacks from
bordering tribes.*
Meanwhile on the West Coast, around Luanda (founded 1576)
and the mouth of the Congo river, development had been very
different. Silver and slaves were the two objectives of the Portuguese
penetration of Angola. In 1604 Cambambe, reputed to be the centre
of the silver country, was reached and no mines were found. From
then on, the Portuguese settlements on the coast functioned almost
entirely as embarcation posts for the slave trade. The Brazilian
plantation economy of the 17th century demanded a vast influx of
manpower; the Portuguese West Coast existed to supply it. With the
exception of the fishing port of Benguela in the South, no other
economic activity was seriously pursued in Angola for two centuries.
From 15801680, about a million slaves were exported from Angola,
and another half million from the Congo area, making an annual
average of 15,000 of which over half (8,500) went to Brazil. From
16801836 the total estimated figure is 2,000,000 slaves for Luanda
and Benguela alone, plus another probable 1,000,000 in the illicit
trade and from the Congo. Annual shipments reached 20,000 to
30,000 in the last ten years of the trades legal existence. (Meanwhile
by 1800, slaves were also Mozambiques major export item, and as
the West Coast supply tapered off, the East Coast traffic rapidly
expanded: from 17801800 the flow was about 10,000 a year, and
for the 50 years after that it went up to 15,00025,000).
In the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, Angola was the major
supply area for labour on the Brazilian plantations and mines. Its
role in the Brazilian economy was absolutely indispensable. A slogan
of the 17th century was without sugar there is no Brazil, and without
Angola there is no sugar. A total of about 4,000,000 to 5,000,000
slaves were imported to Brazil during the whole colonial period
(15001820). The symbolic relationship between the two areas was
underlined when Brazil, on achieving independence in 1822, attempted
to detach Angola from Portugal, and establish a Trans-Oceanic
Federation with Angola and Mozambique.
The extent and type of Portuguese presence in Angola was thus
determined almost exclusively by its slave-economy. Some penetra-
tion of the interior was necessary for the purchase or seizure of
slaves, so that the geographical expanse of Portuguese-controlled
territory was larger than on the East Coast. By the end of the 17th
century, it was estimated that some 50,000 square miles were con-
trolled, at least in the sense that there was freedom of movement for
Portuguese within the area. Portuguese presence was concentrated
mainly in the enclaves of Luanda and Benguela on the coast. In the
interior, it was maintained through a system of small fortresses
scattered at isolated points in the back country: Massangano,
Muxima, Pungo Andongo, Cambambe and Ambaca. None of these
*Duffy, op. cit.
Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

was more than some 150200 miles from the coast. The total area of
even vestigial Portuguese presence was not more than one-tenth of
the size of present-day Angola (481,000 square miles). In terms of
population, a census of the 1830s gave only 1,832 whites in the whole
area of Portuguese occupation: of these 1,500 were concentrated in
Luanda, leaving some 300 for whole of the rest of Angola. In 1845
Benguela had just 38 white inhabitants. Nine years later, in 1854,
Livingstone calculated that there were some 830 whites in Luanda,
and only about 1,000 in all Angola. Thus, in the middle of the 19th
century, it is safe to say that there were never more than about 3,000
Portuguese nationals, and perhaps twice that number of mulattoes,
in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa.

For four centuries, Portuguese Africa had an almost purely

ancillary existence: its value was extrinsic, as a supply area for the
great central complexes of Portuguese imperial power in India and
South America. The East Coast functioned as a transit and depot
zone for Indian shipping; the West Coast as a labour reservoir for
When India and the Indies were lost, the East Coast disintegrated.
When the slave trade was suppressed, the West Coast sunk into
neglect and decline. By the middle of the 19th century, the African
settlements were almost the only extant remnants of the Portuguese
Empireand they had survived largely because of their un-
importance. (An ominous remark of Livingstones had criticised
Portugals decay in Angola as early as 1854. Had the province, been
in the possession of England, it would have been yielding as much or
more of the raw material for the manufacturers as an equal extent of
territory in the cotton-growing States of America.)
Suddenly, late in the 19th century, these were converted into the
massive colonial territories of Angola and Mozambique. In the
circumstances of this change lies the root explanation of the structure
of the Portuguese colonies today.

The conquest and division of Africa by the West European powers

occurred essentially in the last two decades of the century. In 1880,
European occupation was limited to the following areas:
Algeria (to the Saharan border), Senegal (including areas of the
present Mali and Mauretania), and Gabon (coastal strip)French.
Gambia, Sierra Leone (coastal strip), Gold Coast (coastal strip),
Lagos (coastal strip in Western Nigeria)British. Angola (coastal
strip), Mozambique (coastal strip)Portuguese. There were also the
Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
By 1895 the entire continent was divided up, with the exception of
the Sahara, the Sudan, Morocco, Tripoli and Ethiopia.
The thrust behind this vast expansion was industrial. The new type
of imperialism had emerged, the full and final expression of techno-
logical supremacy and frustrated productivity. The new type of
exploitation required the absorption of an unprecedented volume
and range of raw materials by the colonizing power, and the re-

export of a substantial proportion of these to the colonized territories

in the form of cheap manufactured goods (mainly clothing).
The three most industrialised countries of EuropeEngland, France
and Germanybetween them accounted for almost exactly 80% of
the total territorial acquisitions in Africa in the second half of the
19th century. Their conquests were based on an extreme economic
and (with the exception of France) demographic dynamism.
The most expressive institution of this imperialism was the
chartered company. Political and geographic initiative was seized
by powerful private concerns before State intervention itself took
place. The companies assumed semi-sovereign political status,
administering huge areas of Africa with their own budgets, laws,
police, diplomacy, etc. In West Africa, the United Africa Company
(1879), and its successors the National African Company (1881) and
the Royal Niger Company (1886) effectively occupied and ruled
large parts of Nigeria. In East Africa the German East African
Company (1885) administered Tanganyika, and the British East
Africa Company (1887) Kenya. In Central Africa, the phenomenon
took its most extreme form of all, with the regime of King Leopolds
International Association of the Congo (1882). In Southern Africa,
the British South Africa Company seized most of the Rhodesias and
Nyasaland, while the Deutsche Kolonial Gesellschaft took over
South-West Africa. From 1893 the Filonardi Company controlled
Italian Somalia. The companies role was small only in French
expansion, where a more military and dirigiste tradition asserted itself.
These mixed formsprivate concerns exercising public powers
were exact institutional notations of the new imperialism. The impetus
behind the scramble for Africa came from the driving economies of
Western Europe: its spearheads were logically the great marauding
companies. The expansion was spontaneous, an elemental explosion
and overflow of economic forces, not a planned political artefact.
Once in motion, political and strategic considerations came into play,
state policy intervened, and the company protectorates became
colonies. But State action came afterwards, as a consummation of the
process, not its impulsion. There were, in fact, several occasions
when the State refused to follow a company in a acquisitive
manoeuvre (in 1881, for instance, the British government refused the
protectorate of the Sultan of Zanzibars mainland dominions, the
option of which had been secured for it by Sir William McKinnon,
the future president of the British East Africa Company).
To what extent did the development of the Portuguese colonies
adhere to this pattern? Portuguese presence in Africa antedated that
of any other European power; her settlements were the oldest
European enclaves in the continent. Yet Portuguese entry into the
competition for Africa was almost the last.
The timing and circumstances of its opening are revealing. For 60
years, from the 1820s onwards, England had refused to recognise
Portugals claim to to the territory between Ambriz and the River
Congo, the historic but now unoccupied area of the Bakongo
Kingdom. Then, in 18821883, English policy suddenly changed, and
Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

became receptive to Portuguese claims. The reason was the swift and
effective penetration of Equatorial Africa by de Brazza (for the
French government) and Stanley (for King Leopold), which threat-
ened to lock off the whole of Central Africa, in particular the Congo
basin, from British interests. To block this development, England in
1884 attempted to recognise Portuguese sovereignty over both banks
of the Congo as far as Noqui, in return for freedom of navigation on
the river, customs preferences, and a dual Anglo-Portuguese com-
mission to control the river traffic. German, French and domestic
English opposition prevented the ratification of the Treaty, and pre-
cipitated the Berlin Conference of 1885, at which Portugal was ceded
the south, but lost the north bank of the Congo.
Portugals major bid for territorial aggrandisement came in the
next year. Treaties were signed with France and Germany which
recognised the right of sovereignty and civilisation in the territories
which separate the Portuguese possessions of Angola and Moz-
ambique, without prejudice to the rights which other powers may
have acquired there. The Portuguese ambition was for a coast-to-
coast Empire stretching uninterruptedly from Luanda to Lourenco
Marques. This plan directly threatened two entrenched British
interests: Rhodes in South Africa, and the missionaries in the Shire
district of Nyasaland. Rhodes was attempting to push up north across
the Limpopo after the annexation of Bechuanaland, and the mis-
sionaries were concerned to strengthen their hold on the Lake Nyasa
region. The British Government delivered a note to Lisbon in 1887
rejecting the Portuguese transcontinental claims on the grounds that
the areas in question were not effectively occupied by Portugal in
the terms of the General Act of the Berlin Conferencewhich was
indeed the case. Portugal reacted by belatedly sending expeditions
to establish Portuguese sovereignty in Mashonaland and Nyasaland
and by proclaiming the creation of a new district of Mozambique
which would have included most of the north of Southern Rhodesia
and thus cut off British-occupied Mashonaland from British-occupied
Nyasaland. In late 1889, a Portuguese force under Serpa Pinto began
moving into Makololand with the ostensible purpose of surveying
land for a railway line, in fact to effect a junction with a force moving
eastwards from Angola. In November the column clashed with
British-protected tribesmen on the Shire River. The British govern-
ment promptly sent an ultimatum to Portugal, demanding with-
drawal from the Shire area and Mashonaland. Faced with the threat
of force (warships from Zanzibar were moving towards Mozambique),
Portuguese imperial diplomacy collapsed. The government resigned,
and in June, 1891, a treaty was signed which confined Portuguese
jurisdiction more or less to the present limits of Mozambiquea line
some 600 miles east of the farthest eventual limit of Angola. Simult-
aneously, a major financial crisis broke out in Portugal.
Even after the diplomatic settlements, the implementation of the
Berlin General Acts effective occupation had still to be completed.
The diplomatic disaster of 1891 aroused an intense nationalist
reaction in Portugal, and for the first time, a coordinated and

deliberate attempt was made to subdue by military force the African

populations nominally under Portuguese control. From 1895 to 1896
a campaign under Antonio Enes and Mousinho de Albuquerque
reduced Gazaland in Southern Mozambique. In 1897, Coutinho
occupied the coastal area north of Quelimane, in 19024, the
Zambezia company pacified the area from Tete to the Nyasaland
frontier. In 1906 the northern sector opposite Mocambique island
was subdued. In a series of campaigns from 190812 the Yao tribes
off Lake Nyasa were brought under control.
In Angola military occupation took even longer. In 19012 the
Bailundo country in north central Angola was conquered. From
190710 the Dembos area only some hundred miles back of Luanda
was attacked and occupied. To the south, the Quanhamas inflicted
a heavy defeat on the Portuguese in 1904 and campaigns to subdue
them lasted right into 1915. In 1917 it was still necessary to send a
force to pacify Moxico in South-eastern Angola. Only in fact towards
the end of the First World War were Angola and Mozambique fully
and finally brought under Portuguese control.
The specific characteristics of the Portuguese colonialism of the
last two decades of the 19th century are clearly visible even from
the resum narrative just given. In the first place, Portuguese colonial
diplomacy was initially set in motion from the outside, by the actions
and decisions of other European powers. The Congo negotiations
of 188485, which marked the entry of Portugal into the arena of
African partition, were the result of British apprehensions of French
and Belgian penetrations of Equatorial Africa. Portugal thus only
entered the mesh of events at two removes from their starting-point:
France and King Leopold threatened English positions, England
counter-manoeuvred by manipulating Portugal. England clearly
regarded Portugal as so weak as to be virtually supplantable by
herself in the key areas she was recognising to Portugal.
The Portuguese offensive of 188690 was a direct result of the
humiliation of Berlin in 1885. The nationalism of the military and
professional intelligentsia demanded a massive territorial riposte to
the treatment Portugal had met with at the Conference and the
evaluation of her status that it implied. Not only the motivation,
but the strategy of the attempt was dictated by the Berlin experience.
England had proved an ineffective patron there, Germany a success-
ful opponent, so the de Castro-Gomes cabinet of 1886 attempted to
achieve the Rose-coloured Map (the transcontinental colony) by
getting German support: hence the treaty with Germany of 1886,
which made considerable territorial concessions to Germany in
southern Angola and northern Mozambique. The approval meant
no concrete backing for Portugal against British opposition, so that
the treaty was only a paper weapon. Yet it was the keystone of the
Portuguese plan for the coast-to-coast colony: the unreal quality
of the offensive is thus evident from the start. Subsequent measures
such as the simple proclamation of a new district of Mozambique,
incorporating large areas of the present Southern Rhodesia, were of a
similar kind. When military action was finally taken, some four years
Portugal and the End of Ultra-Colonialism

after the treaties of 1886, it only got a few miles into Nyasaland
before it was stopped. Portugals bid for a transcontinental empire
was a bluff which deceived only itself: when faced with a real chal-
lenge, it collapsed instantly and ignominously.
Set in the larger context of the European seizure of Africa in the
last two decades of the 19th century, the Portuguese manoeuvres
of 188690 acquire a redoubled significance. A glance at the chrono-
logy of European advance in Africa (see above) shows that the bulk
of colonial acquisitions had been made by 1885: Tunisia, Egypt,
Somaliland, much of French West Africa, Togo, Niger Coast,
Kamerun, French Congo, Congo Free State, South-West Africa,
Bechuanaland, Tanganyika. Major seizures were still to come, but in
the compressed time-span of the scramble it is striking how late
the attempted Portuguese expansion into Central Africa came.
Following the formation of the Geographical Society in Lisbon in
1875, several exploring expeditions had, it is true, been sent out to
reinforce Portuguese claims in Central Africa: the most notable
were the continental crossings of Serpa Pinto (1877,1879) and Capelo
and Ivens (1884). In themselves, these expeditions were successful,
but Portuguese inability to consolidate them with any effective
system of military or political control, and the absence of pioneering
company enterprise made them only prestige affairs ultimately. A
serious attempt to secure recognition of territorial claims came only
after 1884, and then both the specific circumstance, (the Congo crisis,
the bid for the Anglo-Mozambique corridor) and the general timing
strongly suggest that the Portuguese role in the seizure of Africa
was determined by the prior roles of the other, industrial European
powers, and not by any internal logic.
A final consideration confirms this conclusion. The major vector
of the new imperialism, the chartered company, was almost non-
existent in Portuguese Africa at this time. There were no real equi-
valents of the British South Africa Company, the German East
Africa Company or the Royal Company of the Niger. Concessionary
companies did exist in Mozambique from 1891 onwards: the
Mozambique Company (1891), the Niassa Company (189193), the
Zambezia Company, which between them controlled two-thirds of
Mozambique by 1900. But two distinctive features marked these
companies off from their English or German counterparts. Firstly
there were deliberately imitativeinspired by foreign examples and
modelled consciously in their image. Secondly, not merely their
model, but their actual capital was mainly foreign. The initial issued
capital of the Mozambique Company was 5,000,000 dollars, of
which a large proportion was subscribed in England, Germany and
South Africa. The capital for the Niassa Company was predomi-
nantly British. Shares in the Zambezia Company were bought in
England, France, Germany and South Africa. The Portuguese
economy was scarcely touched by the commercial and industrial
expansion of Western Europe in the 19th century. Portugals relative
and absolute share of international trade is damning:

Portion of International Trade (Mulhalls Directory of Statistics)

millions sterling
1850 1860 1870 1880 1889
Great Britain ... ... 169 375 547 698 740
Holland & Belgium ... 61 86 136 237 310
Germany ... ... 95 167 227 339 311
Portugal ... ... 5 8 10 14 18
Italy ... ... ... 38 52 66 91 94
The backwardness of the private sector is mirrored in the size of
the national budget, which reveals a parallel inability to meet the
costs of the administrative and military infra-structures of colonial
Government Expenditure by Heads (Sample Year 1887)
Government Debt Military Total
Great Britain 30,200,000 27,900,000 31,900,000 90,000,000
Germany ... 82,300,000 16,700,000 31,000,000 130,000,000
France ... 41,000,000 52,800,000 31,400,000 125,000,000
Italy ... 34,700,000 20,700,000 14,200,000 69,600,000
Portugal ... 4,000,000 3,601,000 1,400,000 9,000,000
In 1888, Portugal had the highest ratio of national debt to national
income27.5 per centquoted for any European country, a figure
exceeded only by Turkey, with 30 per cent.
The specific nature of the Portuguese African colonies at the turn
of the 20th century is unmistakeable. The normal colonies of the
19th century were the outcome of industrial expansion by the metro-
politan power: they were sprung from a domestic base of massive
capital accumulation and advanced technology, which had created
an unprecedented need for raw materials and markets. As such they
were natural extensions of the metropolitan economy, and fun-
tioned according to a uniform, rationalised pattern.
The Portuguese colonies were wholly different in origin. In
essence, they were stagnant survivals of 16th century slave and trading
posts, suddenly extended into the hinterland under the threat of rival
European annexation. If the grandiose dream of a trans-African
Empire came to nothing, the manoeuvres of 188691 did secure, if
only by falling short of the greater target, the present frontiers of
Angola and Mozambique, both of them far beyond the lines of any
Portuguese presence at the time. Thus the stimulus to conquest did
not come for any industrial lan: it was not internal and natural
but external and artificial. It can accurately be called reflex-
The Portuguese economy was archaic and bankrupt, a hollow and
rotten shell. It was utterly unable to effect or even begin the con-
version from an extractive to a transformer imperialism. This fact
is the root determinant of the structure of the Portuguese colonies
today. It provides the master-explanation both of the individual
sectors of the Portuguese colonial system, and of their integration
into the ensemble. (to be concluded)