Governorate Loango-Angola
Flag of Loango-Angola
of Loango-Angola
Coat of arms
The city of Luanda by Johannes Vingboons (1665)
The city of Luanda by Johannes Vingboons (1665)
StatusDutch colony
CapitalFort Aardenburgh
Common languagesDutch (official)
Kongo, Chokwe, Umbundu, Kimbundu, Ngangela, Kwanyama
Dutch Reformed
native beliefs
• 1641–1643
Pieter Moorthamer and Cornelis Nieulant
• 1643–1645
Hans Mols
• 1644-1647
Heynderick van Redinckhoven
• 1645–1648
Cornelis Hendrikszoon Ouwman
26 August 1641
21 August 1648
CurrencyDutch guilder
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Portuguese Angola
Portuguese Angola
Today part ofAngola
Republic of the Congo

Loango-Angola is the name for the possessions of the Dutch West India Company in contemporary Angola and the Republic of the Congo. Notably, the name refers to the colony that was captured from the Portuguese between 1641 and 1648. Due to the distance between Luanda and Elmina, the capital of the Dutch Gold Coast, a separate administration for the southern districts of Africa was established at Luanda during the period of the Dutch occupation.[1]

After Angola was recaptured by the Portuguese in 1648, Dutch trade with Loango-Angola did not stop, however. From about 1670 onward, the Dutch West India Company acquired slaves from the Loango region on a regular basis, and Dutch free traders continued this practice until after 1730.[2]


Dutch traders began trading with Loango-Angola in the early 17th century, driven south by increasing competition on the Gold Coast. African traders were generally welcoming of the Dutch, who provided goods the Portuguese were not able to provide.[3] Among other things, the Dutch traded redwood in Mayumba, and ivory and copper in Loango.[4] Initially, the Dutch maintained the port city of Mpinda at the mouth of the Congo River as the southernmost border of their operations.[5]

Early attempts (1624)

As part of the Groot Desseyn plan, the Dutch West India Company, which had been founded in 1621, tried to capture Luanda after they had captured Salvador da Bahia, the capital of Brazil. Under the leadership of Piet Hein, a Dutch fleet tried to capture Luanda in 1624, but failed, because Filips van Zuylen had tried to capture the city a few months earlier as well, leading the Portuguese to build reinforcements.

After Piet Hein captured the Spanish treasure fleet in 1628, the Dutch West India Company once again tried to set the Groot Desseyn plan in motion. With plenty of resources to pay for their military expenditure, the Dutch successfully captured Recife and Olinda, the core region of Brazilian sugar cane plantations, in early 1630.

Capture of Luanda (1641)

In 1641, a Dutch fleet under the command of Cornelis Jol, seized Luanda from the Portuguese.[6] On 25 August 1641, the Dutch landed 2,145 troops near Luanda under the command of Cornelis Jol. Upon the Dutch arrival, 800 Portuguese, some soldiers and some civilians, fled and regrouped at Kilunda. On 19 September, the Dutch drove them from that position and forced them to fall back to the Portuguese plantations along the Bengo River. The Dutch then fortified their positions along the river.

Dutch forces took control of Luanda and signed a treaty with Queen Nzinga of the Ndongo Kingdom. Nzinga unsuccessfully attacked the Portuguese at Fort Massangano. She recruited new fighters and prepared to engage the Portuguese in battle again, but Salvador Correia de Sá led Portuguese forces from Brazil in expelling the Dutch and reasserting control in Angola. Nzinga's forces retreated to Matamba again.[7]

Dutch rule

A portrait of emissary Dom Miguel de Castro, cousin of the Count of Sonho, while in the Dutch Republic in 1643.

The Dutch ruled Angola from 26 August 1641 to 21/24 August 1648, occupying the coastal areas (under a GWC governor of Angola. This attack was the culmination of a plan first proposed by Kongo's King Pedro II in 1622. After the Dutch fleet under Admiral Cornelis Jol took Luanda, the Portuguese withdrew to the Bengo River, but following the renewal of the Kongo-Dutch alliance, Bengo was attacked and subsequently Portuguese forces withdrew to Massangano.

In 1643, the Count of Sonho sent a mission to the Dutch Republic, headed by his cousin Dom Miguel de Castro.[8] The mission traveled via Dutch Brazil, where they were received by John Maurice of Nassau, and arrived in Flushing on 19 June 1643. De Castro sailed by yacht to The Hague on 2 July 1643, where he had an audience with stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.[9]

The Dutch were not interested in conquering Angola, much to the chagrin of Kongo's King Garcia II and Njinga who had both pressed them to assist in driving the Portuguese from the colony. However, Dutch authorities came to realize that they could not monopolize the slave trade from Angola just by holding Luanda and a few nearby places, and moreover, the Portuguese sent several relief expeditions to Massangano from Brazil. Consequently, in 1647, they agreed to reinforce Njinga's army following her defeat by Portuguese forces in 1646. At the Battle of Kombi Dutch and Njinga's armies crushed a Portuguese army and in its aftermath laid siege to Ambaca, Massangano and Muxima.[citation needed]

In 1648, Luanda was recaptured by the Portuguese.


Capture of Luanda
Part of Dutch–Portuguese War

Capture of Luanda by Cornelis Jol of the Dutch West India Company in 1641
Result Dutch victory
Dutch West India Company Dutch West India Company Portugal Portuguese Empire
Commanders and leaders
Cornelis Jol Pedro César de Meneses
2,145 soldiers
20 ships[10]

According to the instructions of John Maurice, Pieter Moorthamer and Cornelis Nieulant, who sailed with Jol's fleet, were to assume command of the civil administration once Luanda had fallen into Dutch hands.[11] Moorthamer and Nieulant, both lawyers with a degree from Leiden University, had been members of the colonial council in Dutch Brazil, the former sent out by the Zealand chamber and the latter by the Amsterdam chamber of the Dutch West India Company.[12] They assumed civil command on 29 August 1641.[11]

John Maurice had pled with the Dutch West India Company to put Luanda under his administration, but the Lords XIX eventually decided to make Loango-Angola, including São Tomé, a separate commandment.[13] They decided that a triumvirate of three directors consisting of Moorthamer, Nieulant, and Hans Mols would rule the colony, the latter of whom was to be dispatched from the Dutch Republic. [14] Mols had been commandant of Cape Verde and Gorée in 1636-1635 and head commissioner in Elmina, and enjoyed a great reputation as a merchant.[15]

When Mols arrived in Luanda on 12 April 1643, Pieter Moorthamer had just left for Brazil.[8] Nieulant died shortly after, on 19 June 1643.[16] This left Mols, who had little experience in Luanda, in command by himself. Mols had difficulty gaining control, with troops even disobeying his orders. The Dutch West India Company valued Mols' skills as a merchant, however, and was wary to let him go. Halfway 1644, Heynderick van Redinckhoven, who was appointed to fill up one of the directorship vacancies, arrived in Luanda to join Mols as head of the colony. Mols eventually left for Brazil on 26 January 1645, leaving only Van Redinckhoven in charge.[17] By that time, Van Redinckhoven had already asked the company directors to be retired to the Dutch Republic.[18] The Lords XIX denied this request, but appointed former envoy Cornelis Hendrikszoon Ouwman as co-director on 6 July 1645, to relieve Van Redinckhoven of some of his tasks.[19] Van Redinckhoven left Luanda in April 1647, leaving only Ouwman in charge.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Postma 1990, p. 60.
  2. ^ Postma 1990, p. 101.
  3. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 37.
  4. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 42.
  5. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 38.
  6. ^ Blackburn 1998, p. 195.
  7. ^ Fage & Oliver 1986, p. 354.
  8. ^ a b Ratelband 2000, p. 183.
  9. ^ Heyning 2008, p. 45.
  10. ^ Lourenço 2006, p. 78.
  11. ^ a b Ratelband 2000, p. 114.
  12. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 119.
  13. ^ Ratelband 2000, pp. 171–172.
  14. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 172.
  15. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 182.
  16. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 195.
  17. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 217.
  18. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 218.
  19. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 221.
  20. ^ Ratelband 2000, p. 253.