From Colonies to Provinces: Portugal Overseas

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While most European colonial powers agreed to demands for independence of their African territories, Salazar’s New State engaged in a massive and expensive military effort against liberation movements in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique from 1961 until 1974—the Portuguese Colonial War. Despite the international community’s strong condemnation, Salazar unabashedly defended Portugal’s “standing proudly alone” policy. The dictatorship's stubborn refusal to relinquish control of its African territories is also what led to its demise. On April 25, 1974, a bloodless military coup, known as the Carnation Revolution, brought the New State to an end and ushered in a new democracy. By the end of the following year the five Portuguese African territories had gained independence.