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The Constraints of Late Colonial Reform Policy: Forced Labour Scandals in the Portuguese Congo (Angola) and the Limits of Reform under Authoritarian Colonial Rule, 1955–61

Alexander Keese
Portuguese Studies
Vol. 28, No. 2 (2012), pp. 186-200
DOI: 10.5699/portstudies.28.2.0186
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5699/portstudies.28.2.0186
Page Count: 15
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The Constraints of Late Colonial Reform Policy: Forced Labour Scandals in the Portuguese Congo (Angola) and the Limits of
                    Reform under Authoritarian Colonial Rule, 1955–61
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Abstract

Abstract The District of Congo in northern Angola was, due to the post-war coffee boom, one of the regions under Portuguese colonial rule where a stable labour force was most urgently needed. Up until the 1950s, a good part of this labour force was not composed of voluntary workers. The unfavourable labour conditions led to the flight of (involuntary) labourers to the neighbouring territory of the Belgian Congo, making a clear case for labour reform. However, the contradictory attempts by a district governor and an inspector-general — both with liberal aspirations — show the limits of authoritarian colonial states with regard to colonial reform and liberalization. By 1961, these contradictions prompted the outbreak of the anti-colonial wars.

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