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Captains' Revolution

Captains' Revolution, coup staged (Apr. 25, 1974) by military officers who opposed Portugal's policy toward its African territories. By early 1974 dissatisfaction with the debilitating, seemingly endless war in Africa, and with compulsory four-year military service, together with political suppression and a deteriorating economy, resulted in growing unrest and increased urban guerrilla activity within Portugal. Inspired by Gen. António de Spinola's popular book Portugal and the Future, an organized group of officers toppled Prime Minister Caetano's government, encountering a minimum of resistance from loyal forces and widespread acceptance from the people. As head of the ruling military junta, Spinola implemented a policy of decolonialization. In 1975, the leftist government of Portugal granted independence to Angola, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe, and Cape Verde. The Asian territory of Macao (now again part of China) was granted partial autonomy in 1976; the Chinese refused to accept the return of the territory in the mid-1970s.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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