Decolonisation postponed: the failure of the colonial politics of Marcelo Caetano (1968–1974)

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This paper discusses the incapacity of the Portuguese Estado Novo to successfully decolonise its territories in southern Africa, especially Angola and Mozambique. More precisely, what I will analyse is the failure of the policy of autonomy for the colonies promoted by Portugal’s Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano between 1968 and 1974. As such, I will first analyse the Portuguese colonial administration’s reform process carried out by Marcelo Caetano, under its policy of “progressive autonomy and participation” of the colonies. Then, I will discuss the limits of this policy of autonomy and the brewing of strong tensions within the Portuguese regime. Finally, I will make a few remarks about the blockade of Marcelo Caetano’s government, which resulted in the fall of the dictatorship on April 25, 1974.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-30
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


  • Decolonization
  • Marcelo Caetano
  • Colonial Politics
  • Portuguese Empire
  • Angola
  • Mozambique


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