Museum of the Armed Forces
<h4>The Museum of the Armed Forces: A Chronicle of Conflict in Luanda, Angola</h4>
Perched within the hallowed confines of the Fortaleza de São Miguel de Luanda, the Museum of the Armed Forces in Luanda, Angola, stands as a testament to the country's turbulent past. Since its establishment in 1975, following Angola's hard-won independence, the museum has served as a crucial repository of Angola's military history.
The Museum of the Armed Forces boasts an impressive collection of military artefacts, ranging from bi-motor aeroplanes and combat vehicles to an array of weapons used during the pivotal conflicts that shaped modern Angola. These include the Angolan War of Independence (1961–1974), the South African Border War (1966-1991), and the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002).
The museum also houses an intriguing array of statuary, once gracing the avenues and plazas of colonial Luanda, but removed post-independence. Among these are the statue of Diogo Cão, the first European to set foot on Angolan soil; Paulo Dias de Novais, the founder of São Paulo da Assunção de Luanda; the legendary explorer Vasco da Gama; and Portugal's celebrated poet, Luís de Camões.
For many years, the museum's grounds and its collection of outdoor exhibits languished in a state of dilapidation. However, between 1997 and 2013, a comprehensive restoration project breathed new life into this remarkable institution.
The museum's home, the São Miguel fort, is a historic site in its own right. Constructed in 1576 under the aegis of Paulo Dias de Novais, the fort transitioned into the administrative heart of the colony in 1627. With its thick, cannon-encrusted walls, the fort served as a vital nexus for the slave trade to Brazil, operating as a self-contained town within its protective boundaries.
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