Africa

Angola Country Facts

Angola, an independent state in southwest Africa; limited to the north and east by the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), to the east by Zambia, to the south by Namibia and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean.

The Angolan territory is divided by a strip of ancient Zaire that goes to the sea, leaving the small enclave of Cabinda separated, which is limited to the north by the Republic of Congo, to the east and south by the Democratic Republic of Congo and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean . The territory was previously known as the Portuguese West Africa and its current name is Republic of Angola. It has a surface area of ​​1,246,700 square kilometers. The capital is Luanda.

TERRITORY

The country is divided into three major regions: the coastal plain, a transition area and an extensive interior plateau. The highest altitudes are in the mountains in the central part. The climate is tropical. The cold current in Benguela moderates temperatures in the coastal region and reduces rainfall, especially in the south.

POPULATION AND GOVERNMENT

According to Diseaseslearning.com, the population is made up of more than 90 ethnic groups. The four most representative are umbundu, bakongo (kongo), kimbundu and chokwe-lunda. According to 1995 data, the total population, predominantly rural, is 10,765,000 inhabitants. The capital and largest city is Luanda, with a population of 1.46 million inhabitants, according to data from 1991. According to data from 1993, other large cities are Huambo, with 203 thousand inhabitants, Benguela, with 155 thousand inhabitants, Lobito , with 150 thousand inhabitants, and Lubango, with 105 thousand inhabitants. Portuguese is the official language. More than 90% of the population speaks Bantu languages ​​(see African languages). In the early 1990s, 53% of the population was Christian. The rest were practitioners of traditional religions. According to the Constitution adopted after independence in 1975 and later modified.

ECONOMY

The economy has suffered severe setbacks since independence. Development was halted due to the lack of skilled workers and the civil war. The production of almost all goods, with the exception of crude oil, has been halted or reduced. The intensification of the civil war in the late 1980s and early 1990s drastically interrupted agricultural production. In 1996, the World Bank calculated Angola’s gross domestic product to be $ 3.72 billion, resulting in an annual GDP per capita of approximately $ 410. Oil represents 90% of the country’s exports. Diamonds are the second most important mineral. Crude iron is the third, but it has not been commercially produced since 1975. The development of the industrial sector has suffered limitations. The main manufactured goods are food products.

HISTORY

All that is known about ancient history is that hunters and farmers from the region were replaced by Bantu culture around the 7th century AD In the 14th century, Bantu had organized themselves into proto-states that took on the structure of semi-independent kingdoms as those of Cakongo, in present-day Cabinda, Matamba and Imbangwala, in the region bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ndongo and Mbundo, in the Cuanza River valley, Ovimbundo (between Cuanza and the coast) and Lunda, in the current provinces of the same Name.

In general, these kingdoms were tributaries of the kingdom of Congo, the most powerful in the region, forming a kind of federation that recognized Manicongo (sovereign of Congo) as king or arbiter. The Portuguese arrived in Angola in 1483, but Portugal did not obtain complete control of the country until the beginning of the 20th century. Her attempt to penetrate inland, in the 16th century, met the fierce resistance of Queen Nzinga of Ndongo, which forced the Portuguese to return to the system of coastal factories. Subsequently, it was governed by the so-called Indigenous Regime, a colonial system in which economic exploitation, cultural abandonment and political repression prevailed until 1961. In 1951, Angola’s official status went from colony to overseas province. During the 1950s, a nationalist movement emerged.

In 1961, a guerrilla confrontation against the Portuguese began and, on November 11, 1975, Angola achieved its independence. Two governments declared themselves to be representatives of the new state: one formed by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the other by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The superpowers were involved in the civil war.

The former Soviet Union and Cuban troops supported the MPLA, while UNITA received support from South Africa, the United States and Zaire, in addition to other Western powers. In May 1991, the central government signed a ceasefire supervised by UN observers, which enshrined the withdrawal of Cuban and South African troops from the country. In 1992, after the elections in which José Eduardo dos Santos, of the MPLA won, the struggles between government troops and UNITA intensified, whose leader Jonas Savimbi did not recognize the electoral result.

A new peace project, with UN support, was negotiated in Lusaka (Zambia) in 1994, setting a timetable for the disarmament of rebel forces, under the control of an international military force, and the creation of a government of national unity. under the command of President dos Santos. However, Savimbi refused to cooperate with the new government and the pace of disarmament was so slow that it forced to renew the mandate of United Nations forces. In 1998, the Angolan government declared that negotiations with UNITA were suspended, preparing for the resumption of hostilities.

Angola Country Facts