The Robert Howes donation on the Portuguese revolution and colonial wars

Cambridge University Library is grateful to Dr. Robert Howes for his donation of material on the Portuguese revolution of 1974 and the Portuguese colonial wars.

This donation significantly extends and complements our holdings on the history of the period, providing a good insight into the atmosphere and activism of the times.

The Portuguese revolution of 1974 led to an explosion of publishing after fifty years of dictatorship. For details of the Library’s holdings on the period, I would encourage you to read our former blog post 40 years of Portuguese freedom on Portugal’s Carnation revolution.

In this new collection, ephemera and the underground press feature highly, with small pamphlets, flyers, posters, inserts to some periodicals and mimeographed magazines published during and after the Portuguese Revolution of 25 April. These works are mostly political and cover the whole spectrum from the extreme left to the right. Most of the items were published in Portugal but a large proportion of pamphlets is in English, published in the UK and other countries by groups supporting the revolution.


A few representative examples appear below:

O Programa do MFA e dos partidos políticos (classmark: CCC.72.7)

O que é a social democracia by Partido Popular Democrático (CCC.72.86)

Portugal workers and soldiers revolution (CCC.72.39)

Portugal in revolt: the upsurge of Portuguese workers, the independence struggle in the African colonies, the strikebreaking role of the Communist Party (CCC.72.37)

Por que lutam os comunistas : o Partido comunista Português através do seu passado de luta, da sua ideologia e do seu programa (CCC.72.85)

The collection is also strong on material dealing with the Portuguese colonial wars held from 1961 to 1974 between the Portuguese military forces and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal’s African colonies. Portuguese colonial wars literature features strongly. There are books of fiction and memoirs produced by former Portuguese soldiers about their experiences in the anti-guerrilla wars in Angola, Mozambique and Guiné-Bissau in the 1960s and 1970s.  There are also a few works by African writers, including some major anthologies and academic studies.


Some examples include: Stop the war against Angola and Mozambique: chronological account of acts of aggression against the front line states by apartheid South Africa, 1975-1981 (CCC.72.58);  Partners in crime: the Anglo-Portuguese alliance: past and present by the Committee for Freedom in Mozambique, Angola & Guiné (CCC.72.59); Guinea-Bissau, toward final victory!: selected speeches and documents from PAIGC (Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (CCC.72.34)

Processing of this collection is currently ongoing.  Over 100 items have been catalogued so far, with a further 200 gradually making their way into the catalogue. The collection can be consulted in the Rare Books Reading Room.


Sonia Morcillo

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