Angola Information

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General Information for Angola

Country: Angola
Location: Central Africa
Independence: November 11, 1975
Nationality: Angolan
Capital City: Luanda
Population: 10,069,501
Important Cities: Jamba, Huambo, Caxito
Head of State: Edouardo dos Santos
Area: 1,246,699
Type of Government: Republic
Currency: 183 A kwazas=1 USD
Major peoples: Ovimbundu,Kongo,Kimbundu
Religion: African religion 47%, Catholic 38%, Protestant 15%
Climate: Equatorial to tropical
Literacy: 42%
Official Language: Portuguese
Principal Languages: Ovimbundu, Bakongo, Kibundu
Major Exports: Petroleum, Diamonds, Manganese, Uranium, Gold
Pre-Colonial History Angola was settled by Portuguese in the 15th century and remained a Portuguese colony until it received independence in 1975. The first European to reach Angola was the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao, who landed at the mouth of the Congo River in 1483. The country was then ruled by an African monarch, the King of the Kongo, whose capital became the present day M'banza-Congo (Sao Salvador). In 1490, the Portuguese sent a small fleet of ships carrying priests, skilled workers, and tools to the King of the Kongo. Soon, however, the slave trade led to the deterioration of Portugal's relations with King Afonso and his successors, and internal revolts hastened the decline of the Kongo Kingdom. Meanwhile, the Portuguese expanded their contacts southward along the coast, founding Luanda in 1576. The slave trade continued until the mid-19th century, with Angola serving as a major source of supply for Brazilian plantations. Discontent over Portuguese unwillingness to concede independence led to the outbreak of two separate wars for independence in 1961.
Post-Colonial History In January 1975 a transitional Government was established, comprising representatives of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), and the Portuguese Government. However, violent clashes between the MPLA and the FNLA occurred in March 1975 as a result of the groups' political differences and continued throughout the country. By the second half of 1975 control of Angola was effectively divided between the three major nationalist groups, each aided by foreign powers. The MPLA, which held the capital, was supported by USSR and Cuba, the FNLA by Congo (Zaire) and Western powers (including the USA), while UNITA was backed by South African forces. The FNLA and UNITA formed a united front to fight the MPLA. The Portuguese Government proclaimed Angolan independence on November 11, 1975, transferring sovereignty to the Angolan people rather than to any of the liberation movements. The MPLA proclaimed the People's Republic of Angola and the establishment of a government in Luanda under the presidency of the movement's leader, Dr. Agostinho Neto.

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