22 Facts About Agostinho Neto


Antonio Agostinho da Silva Neto was an Angolan politician and poet.

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Agostinho Neto served as the first president of Angola from 1975 to 1979, having led the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola in the war for independence.

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Agostinho Neto's birthday is celebrated as National Heroes' Day, a public holiday in Angola.

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Neto attended high school in the capital city, Luanda; his parents were both school teachers and Methodists; his father, called Agostinho Neto, was a Methodist pastor.

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The younger Agostinho Neto left Angola for Portugal, and studied medicine at the universities of Coimbra and Lisbon.

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Agostinho Neto combined his academic life with covert political activity of a revolutionary sort; and PIDE, the security police force of the Estado Novo regime headed by Portuguese Prime Minister Salazar, arrested him in 1951 for three months for his separatist activism.

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Agostinho Neto was arrested again in 1952 for joining the Portuguese Movement for Democratic Youth Unity.

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Agostinho Neto finished his studies, marrying a 23-year-old Portuguese woman who was born in Tras-os-Montes, Maria Eugenia da Silva, the same day he graduated.

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Agostinho Neto returned to Angola in 1959, was arrested again in 1960, and escaped to assume leadership of the armed struggle against colonial rule.

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In 1962 Agostinho Neto visited Washington, DC, and asked the Kennedy administration for aid in his war against Portugal.

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Agostinho Neto met Che Guevara in 1965 and began receiving support from Cuba.

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Agostinho Neto visited Havana many times, and he and Fidel Castro shared similar ideological views.

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On 11 November 1975, Angola achieved full independence from the Portuguese, and Agostinho Neto became the nation's ruler after the MPLA seized Luanda at the expense of the other anti-colonial movements.

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Agostinho Neto established a one-party state and his government developed close links with the Soviet Union and other nations in the Eastern Bloc and other Communist states, particularly Cuba, which aided the MPLA considerably in its war with the FNLA, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola and South Africa.

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Agostinho Neto died in a hospital in Moscow, while undergoing surgery for cancer, shortly before his 57th birthday.

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Agostinho Neto published three books of poetry during his lifetime.

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Agostinho Neto was later awarded the Lotus Prize presented by the Conference of Afro-Asian Writers'.

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Agostinho Neto died on Monday, 10 September 1979 in Moscow after travelling to the Soviet Union to undergo surgery for cancer and hepatitis.

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Agostinho Neto was a week shy of his 57th birthday at the time of his death.

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Agostinho Neto had a long battle with pancreatic cancer, as well as chronic hepatitis that ultimately took his life.

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Agostinho Neto had been to the Soviet Union multiple times for treatment because of the high level of medical professionals there.

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In 1973, during one of his few unofficial visits to Bulgaria, Agostinho Neto met a woman with whom he had a daughter, Mihaela Radkova Marinova, who was raised in orphanages in Bulgaria.

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