From “Weak Presence” to Fait Accompli: The United Nations and the Portuguese Decolonization

A Organização das Nações Unidas e a Descolonização Portuguesa

  • Aurora Almada Santos Instituto de Hist´ória Contemporânea


After being engaged in the Portuguese colonial issue, the United Nations increased its initiatives with the beginning of the war in Angola and, later on, on the eve of independence. Without disregard for other deciding factors, I intend to study the impact of the United Nations activities in the independence of Portuguese colonies. The core of the article will address the period between the overthrow of the Portuguese regime after the 25 April and the admission of Angola, in December 1976, as United Nations member state.
First, the study will address the United Nations willingness to take part in the decolonization process and the refusal of its involvement by Portugal and the national liberation movements. Next, will be studied the moment when the Portuguese government decided to request the United Nations intervention and was confronted with the Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim hesitations to become involved in Timor and Angola.
Underlying the article is the attempt to counter the prevailing idea that the United Nations did not play any role in the Portuguese decolonization.

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How to Cite
SANTOS, Aurora Almada. From “Weak Presence” to Fait Accompli: The United Nations and the Portuguese Decolonization. Estudos do Século XX, [S.l.], n. 18, p. 115-133, mar. 2018. ISSN 1647-8622. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 17 july 2019.