A land that has seen a lot of devastation from war in its history, but very little of it has been down to us. During the colonial era this was an area largely of Portuguese influence and since we have a long-standing friendship with Portugal, we’ve thoughtfully tended to steer clear of invading places like Angola.
Early on we did take a bit of interest in Cabinda, a slightly detached part of Angola, but a part of Angola nonetheless. Cabinda has a strategic location at the mouth of the Congo, so it was inevitable that we would be interested in it. Britain’s Royal African Company built a fort there, only to have it destroyed by the Portuguese who weren’t too keen on us getting a share of the region’s trade, even if we were supposed to be friends. Then when we finally stopped being a slave-trading nation and started actively fighting the slave trade, the seas around Angola saw plenty of Royal Navy activity. The 4th Division of the Royal Navy’s West Africa station covered from Cape Lopez in Gabon to Luanda in Angola. And the 5th Division covered the area south of Luanda.
In the largest British deployment to Southern Africa on active service since the 1960s, 650 British troops on UN duty set foot in Angola in 1995 as part of Operation Chantress to help protect a ceasefire. A friendly invasion.