In the region of present Congo and in the
district of Congo in the north of Angola, was the Empire of Congo in the
Middle Ages.  It was founded by peoples
who had invaded the area from the southeast around 1400.Around the actual
Congo there were five more or less autonomous areas: the three kingdoms
Ngoyo, Kakongo and Loango (in the area of the current Republic
of Congo), the Matamba district in the Kwango area and Ndongo that lay around
the Kwanzi river. The princes of these empires recognized, albeit mostly in
name, the reign of the Manikongo, the Emperor of Congo.
The Portuguese discovered the area in 1482. By
the discoverer, Diogo Cão in that year on the southern bank of the Zaire, on
the most northwestern point of Angola a so-called padrão was erected. To this
padrão the place is still called Punto Padrão. The pillar consisted of a pole
with a capital with the coat of arms of Portugal and a long text in
Portuguese: IN THE YEAR 1681 SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD, THE YEAR 1482
SINCE THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THE AUGUST, ILLUSTROUS
AND POWERFUL PRINCE, KING DOM JOHN II OF PORTUGAL, HAS ORDERED DIOGO CÃO,
KNIGHT OF HIS HOUSE, TO DISCOVER THIS COUNTRY AND TO ERECT THESE PILLARS. On
the capital is the cross of the Order of Christ.
In 1490, missionaries and craftsmen were sent
by John II to the newly discovered country. The pretender to the throne,
Nzinga Mbemba, was baptized in 1491 as Alphonso. He ruled from 1506 to 1543
as Dom Alphonso I. He strove to organize
his empire on a European footing and maintained good relations with
the Portuguese king. As a Manikongo he wore a European-style coat of arms
that was granted to him by this monarch. It was recorded in 1541 by Antonio
Godinho in an armorial, the "Livro do Torre do Tombo" (now kept in
the archive of the same name in Lisbon). It is: Red, five armored arms, armed
with swords, 2, 1 and 2 in the natural color, and a blue chief with a white
lily-cross between four golden scallops. In the base of the shield is a white
point charged with a blue shield showing five white besants 2.1 and 2,
between the congolese regalia, i.e. two thrones and two hand drums. On the
shield is a golden helmet with five bars and lambrequnied red and gold,
crowned with a crown with five fleurons and as a crest the five arms from the
coat of arms.
Undoubtedly, the five swords, badges of a
constable, stand for the five vassal states. With the cross in the chief can
be meant the cross of the Order of Avis. The scallops possibly refer to the Order
of St. James of the Sword, which would rhyme again with the swords in the
Alfonso I was succeeded by five kings of
which Dingo I ruled the longest - 15 years. In 1567, Manikongo Alvaro I came
to power who ruled until 1576. In the Museum Plantijn Moretus in Antwerp I
discovered a map on which the arms of Alvaro I was drawn.  It seems to have been derived directly from
the Alfonso I arms, but it has been considerably simplified. The armed arms
are reduced to five swords, the chief has been omitted and in base the coat
of arms of Portugal is in place of the regalia. The crest has been replaced
by a crown. The motto is written on a ribbon above the coat of arms: ALVARUS
PRIMVS REX CONGI (Alvaro I, King of Congo).
Alvaro I was confronted with raids from
Central Africa during his government. Armed tribes brought the empire in 1576
a blow from which it could not recover. After the middle of the 17th century,
the Manikongo Empire effectively ceased to exist after the government of
Garcia II (1641-'61).
The Portuguese stepped into the created power vacuum in 1576 and founded São Paolo de Luanda in that year as the center of the slave trade. They would continue to colonize the area until 1975.
In the nineteenth century the personal
physician of the then Manikongo was allowed to carry a coat of arms of which
the right half was occupied by the described imperial arms as descibed above,
but it is not clear whether this was discovered in the archives for the
occasion or that the memory of it still survived.
Group gathered around throne and regalia. Kongo
by Olfert Dapper, 1639-1689 
At the time of the first contacts of the
Congolese with the Portuguese, the most important of the small rulers in the Ndongo
area was the Ngola. The name "Angola" is derived from this
hereditary ruler's title.
The Portuguese founded São Paulo de Luanda in
1576 as a center for the slave trade to Brazil. From here they extended their
power further and further to the interior. Portugal remained the undisputed
ruler of the area for the next few centuries with only a brief interruption
from 1641 to 1648 when they had to give it to the Dutch.
At the Congo conference in 1885 Portugal
received Angola as a colony. In 1951, limited self-government was granted
under pressure from national liberation movements. After a transitional
government from 1975, Angola became an independent People's Republic on 11
November of the same year.
For the colony in 1935 a coat of arms was
adopted that has the model of the arms of the other Portuguese colonies: a
shield divided in three per point arched with the five shields of Portugal in
the first field, the second field the specific symbols for the colony and in
base green waves for the overseas territories. The shield is covered with a
mural crown and is placed on a golden armillary sphere, the symbol of the
Portuguese empire. Below the armillary sphere is a ribbon with the name of
the colony or province.
The specific field for Angola was purple with
an elephant in chief and a zebra in base, both of gold. 
The coat of arms of the Republic has the
usual Soviet model: in the middle are the symbols of the party (the yellow
five-pointed star of the MPLA), the labor (an adze), the armed struggle (a
machete) and the development of the new nation (an rising sun). They are
surrounded by the symbols of agriculture and industry: coffee and cotton
branches and a cogwheel; and of popular development: an open book. At the
bottom is a script with the name of the country: Republica Popular de Angola.
In 1990 Angola became an ordinary republic. The arms were changed by mirroring the wreath but remained the same for the rest. The "Republica de Angola" is now on the cover.
Nzinga a Nkuwa
Nzinga Mvemba / Dom Alphonso I
Arms: Gules, five arms in full armoury,
each holding a sword upright, proper, 2,1, and 2, in base a point Argent, an escutcheon
Azure, five balls per cross saltire Argent, between four unidentified objects
Or; and a chief azure, a cross flory Argent between four shells Or, 2 and 2.
Crest: On a helmet to the dexter Or,
lined Vert, lambrequined Gules and Or, issuing from a golden crown, five arms
in full armoury each holding a sword upright proper.
From: Godinho, Antonio: Livro da Nobreza Perfeição das
Armas dos Reis Cristaos e Nobres Linhagens dos Reinos e Senhorios de
Portugal. Livro da Torre do Tombo.
Royal arms of Congo1578-’87
Gules, five swords per pale, hilts in base 2, 1 and 2, the central one
the biggest, proper, in base an escutcheon of Portugal
crown with drie leaves and two pearls.
Motto: ALVARVS PRIMVS REX CONGI (Alvarus I, King of Congo).
Struggle for Succesion in Kongo. Seven Mani Kongo 1614-1641
modified the arms are given by Francisco Coelho in his “Tesouro da Nobreza”
Fol. 35 of this armorial shows:
Gules, five arms in armoury, armed with a sword proper in lower semi-circle,
in base the quinas-arms between statues of (Victoria ?) and (Belluno?)
standing on a grassy ground; and a chief Azure, a rectangular crossArgent
between two shella Or.
The arms in armoury of the arms in saltire.
legend reads: El Rey de Congo Dadas
por El Rey Dom Manoel. (The King of Congo, granted to King Manoel)
END OF CONGOLESE EMPIRE
The King of Congo
By Allain Mallet, 1719
Arms: A cross between four escutcheons charged
with five besants in saltire
Afonso Nzinga a Nlenke was a ruler of Kibangu and was one of the two main
Kinlaza claimants to the throne of the Kingdom of Kongo during its civil war,
the other being the King of Lemba. He ruled the Kingdom of Kibangu from 1685
Manuel Afonso ascended to the throne of Kibangu, there were those who were
opposed to his claim to the Kingdom of Kongo, and an internal struggle for
the throne of Kibangu began. The leaders of those against Manuel Afonso's
rule were two brothers of the Água Rosada house, the product of one Kinlaza
parent, and one Kimpanzu parent. The brothers' faction was eventually
successful in 1688, and the older of the two, Álvaro, gained the throne of
Colónia de Angola
In 1933 a coat of arms for Angola was
proposed existing of an impaled of Portugal and a special blazon for the
Arms: Per pale, the dexter of Portugal
and the sinister fer fess, the chief an elephant in front of a tree in a
landscape, proper; the base a zebra in front of a palm-tree in a landscape
About a year later the arms were changed.
Arms: Gules, a Pelican in her piety proper; surrounded by a bordure Or, charged with
five quinas escutcheons alternating
with five crosses of the Order of Christ.
Crown: A Portuguese mural crown of five towers
erythrorhynchos - Pelecanidæ "in her piety," that is a
mother pelican wounding her breast to feed her young from her own blood. This
symbol is emblematic of Christian charity.
Another year later the coat of arms was changed
again, reverting to the arms of 1933:
Arms: Parted per pale and a base per
point arched: 1. Argent, five escutcheons Azure, five balls Argent 2, 1 and 2
per cross for Portugal. 2. Purpure, an elephant (Loxodonta africana - Elephantidæ) and a zebra (Equus grevyi - Equidæ) per pale Or,
for Angola; 3. Argent, five bars wavy Vert for the colony.
Crown: A Portuguese mural crown with
five towers Or.
Supporter: An armillary-sphere Or.
PORTUGUESA DE ANGOLA
Província de Angola
as before but the title changed into PROVÍN. PORTUGUESA DE ANGOLA
1. Região Militar de Angola / Angola Regional
Arms: Or, a Welwitchia Mirabilis flowering Vert,
seeded Or, within a bordure Gules.
Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Or
and Vert, two lions-paws Gules in saltire, upholding a shield Or, a
Welwischia Mirabilis flowering Vert, seeded Or.
Motto: CONSTANTE E FIEL (Constant and
The Welwitschia Mirabilis, a plant of the
Moçamedes desert where it resists the hostile environment and even flowers,
symbolizes the heroism of the Portuguese army in Angola and its unbending
tenacity in the struggle against all its adversaries and for better and worse
continues its arduous mission.
bordure Gules symbolizes a regional command
claws symbolize the arms of the Portuguese soldiers defending the province of
2 Grupo Dragões de
Angola / Angola Dragoons
Arms: Sable, two swords in saltire proper between four
dragons rampant Or
Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined
Sable and Or, a dragon rampant Or, in
his dexter a sword upright proper.
War cry: DRAGÕES...CARREGAR (dragoons ...charge).
colour of the shield symbolizes the territory of Angola on the black
swords symbolize the arms of the Cavalry
dragons symbolize the four unities and their military valour
symbolizes a unity ready to attack
cry alludes to the commander of the 2nd Squadron Planalto Dragoons,
lieutenant Alfredo Pedreira Martins de Lima
who attacked in the Cuamatos Campaign with the cry “Dragões ao golpe! Carregar! Carregar!
Carregar!”(dragoons to the encounter, charge, charge, charge)
3 Escola de Aplicação Militar de Angola /
School of Military Training of Angola
Arms: Lozengy Argent and Sable, a chief Purpure, an elephant Or.
Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined
Argent and Sable, a black hand vested Argent and a white hand vested Sable,
per pale upholding a lamp Or.
Motto: PARA SERVIR-VOS BRAÇO ÀS ARMAS FEITO (These
arms are made to serve you.)
lozengy symbolizes the racial
integration of black and white.
symbolizes the Province of Angola
arms symbolize the collaboration of black and white Portuguese to reach
symbolizes the didactic task of the School of Military Training of Angola.
República Popular de Angola
Arms: Azure, an adze and a machete in saltire
proper, in chief a mullet Or and in base a rising sun Gules.
Garland: D. A stalk of corn and branches of coffee
and cotton, S. a cogwheel and in base an open book all proper.
Motto: República Popular de ANGOLA in red lettering
on a ribbon Or.
República de Angola
Arms: Azure, an adze and a machete in saltire
proper, in chief a mullet Or and in base a rising sun Gules.
Garland: D. a cogwheel; S.: A stalk of corn and
branches of coffee and cotton, and in base an open book all proper.
Motto: REPÚBLICA DE ANGOLA in black lettering on a
Æ See illustration in the head of this article
REPUBLIC OF CABINDA
spelled Kabinda) is an exclave and province of Angola, a status that has been
disputed by many political organizations in the territory. The capital city
is also called Cabinda. The province is divided into four municipalities -
Belize, Buco Zau, Cabinda and Cacongo.
results from the fusion of three kingdoms: N'Goyo, Loango and Kakongo. It is
7,823 km2 in area, and has a population of 264,584 (estimated in
While the Angolan
Civil War largely ended in 2002, an armed struggle persists in the exclave of
Cabinda, where some of the factions have proclaimed an independent Republic
of Cabinda, with offices in Paris.
explorers, missionaries and traders arrived at the mouth of the Congo River
in the mid-fifteenth century, making contact with the Manikongo, the powerful
King of the Congo. The Manikongo controlled much of the region through
affiliation with smaller kingdoms, such as the Kingdoms of Ngoyo, Loango and
Kakongo in present-day Cabinda.
Over the years, the
Portuguese, Dutch, and English established trading posts, logging camps and
small palm oil processing factories in Cabinda. Trade continued and the
European presence grew, resulting in conflicts between the rival colonial
claimed sovereignty over Cabinda in the February 1885 Treaty of Simulanbuco,
which gave Cabinda the status of a protectorate of the Portuguese Crown under
the request of “the princes and governors of Cabinda”. This is often the
basis upon which the legal and historical arguments in defence of
self-determination of modern-day Cabinda are constructed. Article 1, for
example, states, “the princes and chiefs and their successors declare,
voluntarily, their recognition of Portuguese sovereignty, placing under the
protectorate of this nation all the territories by them governed” [sic]. Article
2, which is often used in separatist arguments, goes even further: “Portugal
is obliged to maintain the integrity of the territories placed under its
protection.” FLEC-R’s case, for instance, rests on the fact that the
above-mentioned treaty was signed between the emissaries of the Portuguese
Crown and the princes and notables of Cabinda, giving rise to not one, but
three protectorates: Cacongo, Loango and Ngoio.
Through the Treaty
of Simulambuco in 1885 between the kings of Portugal and Cabinda's princes, a
Portuguese protectorate was decreed, reserving rights to the local princes
and independent of Angola. Cabinda once had the Congo River as the only
natural boundary with Angola, but in 1885, the Conference of Berlin extended
the Congo Free State's territory along the Congo River to the river's mouth
at the sea.
In 1975, the Treaty
of Alvor integrated Cabinda into Angola, but this treaty was rejected by
Cabindan political organizations. These organizations argue that because they
had no input on the document, it was, and is, illegal, and therefore does not
bind them to Angola
From: www.cabinda.net/Cabinda08.html 10.12.2006
© Hubert de Vries 2006-12-16 / Updated 2009-06-04 / 2009-08-13 / 2009-11-17 / 2011-03-13 / 2011-11-17; 2019.03.08
 The putting of this Congo is
argumented by the fact that the residence of the Manikongo was in Mbanza,
called São Salvador by the Portuguese. São Salvador is situated
in the north-angolise province Congo
(today the povince of Zaire and São Salvador renamed in M’Banza See also the map of Regna
Congo et Angola byJohannes Blaeu, 1662 (pp. 150-151).
 Replica’s are preserved in the Afrika Museum
in Tervuren and in the Museo Marinha in Lissabon. Order of Christ was founded
in 1319 as a successor of the Order of the Temple. The padrão in the Museum te Tervuren. Foto. H.d.V.
Order of Avis was founded in 1144. The Order of Santiago in 1290.
 Duarte, Lopez: Vera Descriptio Regni Africani Congus Appellatur. Translation Pigafetta, Frankfurt, De Bry, 1599. The exploration of this map was done in the years 1578-’87. (Museum Plantijn-Moretus, Antwerpen).
 Die Portugiesische Kolonien. In: Der
Herold, 1943 pp. A3-A4.