The origins of Capoeira Angola may go all the way back to the 16th century when slaves from western Central Africa were forced over the Atlantic to the city of Salvador and the surrounding region known as the Recôncavo. Capoeira Angola is considered by many as one of the primary cultural expressions of the African Brazilian experience through the centuries. In particular, the Kongo-Angolan people who were forced into slavery in great numbers throughout the 17th century. There are many claims regarding the origins of Capoeira, but there is a wide agreement that Capoeira in Brazil is directly connected to the enslavement and forceful transport of African slaves by the Portuguese. There is however much speculation and debate regarding in what form it arrived and how it evolved in Brazil. The famous Capoeira Angola master Vincente Pastinha, who is credited to have helped preserve Capoeira Angola, claimed that his own teacher, a man from Angola named Benedito, told him that Capoeira came from the N'golo dance that was practiced in the country of Angola. There are yet many other theories about Capoeira's origins and in recent years there has been an increase in research done on the subject.
Through time, Capoeira has often been a means of ensuring that the African traditions would survive through adversity. Capoeira has endured slavery and fierce political oppression that continued after the ban on slavery. The practice of Capoeira and the identity of being a Capoeira practitioner was made illegal and remained so until 1940. Kept alive by Mestre Pastinha who opened his school in 1941, Capoeira Angola marked a renewed interest in a more complete version of the traditions, rituals and history of the art. Despite the variety of styles and influences on the ritual and game of Capoeira, there has always been a general agreement among practitioners regarding the fundamental characteristics of the art.