Angola: what to know?

Print anything with Printful

Angola is a large, sparsely populated country in South Africa with a long history of human habitation. The Portuguese subjugated Angola in the late 1400s and continued to rule for centuries, with the slave trade playing a significant role in the country’s economy. Angola gained independence in 1975 after a long civil war, and is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Angola is a large nation in South Africa, bordering Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Namibia. The country is nearly 500,000 square miles (1.3 million square km) in size, ranking it 23rd in the world. It is fairly sparsely populated, however, with only around 16 million inhabitants.
Angola has been inhabited for thousands of years, with human remains dating back to the Stone Age. About two thousand years ago, the Bantus moved into Angola, perhaps completely replacing the existing population. The population of Angola then remained fairly static until the end of the 15th century.

In the late 1400s the Portuguese reached the Congo River, in what was then the Kingdom of Kongo, and is now Angola. The Portuguese began to subjugate Angola and continued this campaign for almost a century before being devastated by a local king who had been convinced by a Portuguese that Portugal eventually wished to rule over all of his kingdom. This warfare continued for decades, until a tenuous peace was achieved in the early 17th century. Portugal continued to rule Angola for the next several centuries, with brief periods of strife in which the Dutch, French and British refused to recognize their control of the territory.

The slave trade played an integral role in Angola’s later history, with many coastal cities flourishing as the demand for slaves increased in the New World. For many years Angola was the main source of slaves for both Brazil and the United States, two of the largest buyers of slaves in the world at that time.

As slavery began to be abolished in various countries, Angola’s economy suffered and a period of rapid agricultural development followed. Even after Portugal banned slavery and slavery, however, he continued to live in parts of Angola for many years. Even in the early part of the 20th century slavery still took place to some extent in the remote interior areas of the country. This slave system gradually developed into a system of effective slavery, with heavily indentured forced labor playing a huge role in Angola’s agricultural system until its formal abolition in the 1960s.

In much of Africa in the 1950s, nations controlled by Western powers negotiated or fought for their independence. To a large extent, the liberalization of these Western powers has helped in this transition of power. Portugal, however, had no such liberal-leaning governments, with both the dictatorships of Caetano and Salazar refusing to recognize any independence movement.

By 1961, three strong independence movements had formed in violent opposition to the Portuguese occupation: the MPLA, the FNLA and UNITA. The MPLA was largely Marxist, the FNLA was mainly controlled by tribal groups, and UNITA was a Maoist organisation. When the Portuguese government changed drastically in the mid-1970s, power was handed over to a coalition of these three opposition parties, which immediately began fighting in a huge civil war. Various factions received support from the world’s superpowers, with the Soviet Union and Cuba backing the MPLA and the United States backing the FNLA and UNITA.
This horrific civil war has continued for decades, with over a million people killed directly from the fighting. Only in 2002 was a lasting peace finally achieved, with the various revolutionary factions transforming themselves into legitimate political parties, and the nation began its slow path towards recovery as a democracy. Angola is now the fastest growing economy in all of Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world. What was once a dangerous and uncertain place for visitors has become a tourist paradise, and it appears that lasting stability may be a very real possibility.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content