Angola, ; Kongo: , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean. The exclave province of Cabinda has a border with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Angola was a Portuguese overseas territory from the 16th century to 1975. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002. The country is the second-largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa; however, its life expectancy and infant mortality rates are both among the worst ranked in the world . In August 2006, a peace treaty was signed with a faction of the FLEC, a separatist guerrilla group from the Cabinda exclave in the North, which is still active. About 65% of Angola's oil comes from that region.
The geographical areas now designated as Angola, first became subject to incursions by the Portuguese in the late 15th century. In 1483, when Portugal established relations with the Kongo State, Ndongo and Lunda existed. The Kongo State stretched from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. Angola became a link in European trade with India and Southeast Asia. The Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais founded Luanda in 1575 as "São Paulo de Loanda", with a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers.
Benguela, a Portuguese fort from 1587 which became a town in 1617, was another important early settlement they founded and ruled. The Portuguese would establish several settlements, forts and trading posts along the coastal strip of current-day Angola, which relied on slave trade, commerce in raw materials, and exchange of goods for survival. The African slave trade provided a large number of black slaves to Europeans and their African agents. For example, in what is now Angola, the Imbangala economy was heavily focused on the slave trade.
European traders would export manufactured goods to the coast of Africa where they would be exchanged for slaves. Within the Portuguese Empire, most black African slaves were traded to Portuguese merchants who bought them to sell as cheap labour for use on Brazilian agricultural plantations. This trade would last until the first half of the 1800s.
The Portuguese gradually took control of the coastal strip during the sixteenth century by a series of treaties and wars forming the Portuguese colony of Angola. Taking advantage of the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch occupied Luanda from 1641 to 1648, where they allied with local peoples, consolidating their colonial rule against the remaining Portuguese resistance.
In 1648, a fleet under the command of Salvador de Sá retook Luanda for Portugal and initiated a conquest of the lost territories, which restored Portugal to its former possessions by 1650. Treaties regulated relations with Congo in 1649 and Njinga's Kingdom of Matamba and Ndongo in 1656. The conquest of Pungo Andongo in 1671 was the last great Portuguese expansion, as attempts to invade Congo in 1670 and Matamba in 1681 failed. Portugal expanded its territory behind the colony of Benguela in the eighteenth century, and began the attempt to occupy other regions in the mid-nineteenth century.
The process resulted in few gains until the 1880s. Development of the hinterland began after the Berlin Conference in 1885 fixed the colony's borders, and British and Portuguese investment fostered mining, railways, and agriculture. Full Portuguese administrative control of the hinterland did not occur until the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1951, the colony was designated as an overseas province, called Overseas Province of Angola. Portugal had a presence in Angola for nearly five hundred years, and the population's initial reaction to calls for independence was mixed. More overtly political organisations first appeared in the 1950s, and began to make organised demands for their rights, especially in international forums such as the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Portuguese regime, meanwhile, refused to accede to the nationalists' demands of separatism, provoking an armed conflict that started in 1961 when black guerrillas attacked both white and black civilians in cross-border operations in northeastern Angola. The war came to be known as the Colonial War. In this struggle, the principal protagonists were the MPLA , founded in 1956, the FNLA , which appeared in 1961, and UNITA , founded in 1966. After many years of conflict, Angola gained its independence on 11 November 1975, after the 1974 coup d'état in the metropole's capital city of Lisbon which overthrew the Portuguese regime headed by Marcelo Caetano.
Portugal's new revolutionary leaders began a process of democratic change at home and acceptance of its former colonies' independence abroad. These events prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories , creating over a million destitute Portuguese refugees — the retornados.
At 481,321 square miles , Angola is the world's twenty-third largest country . It is comparable in size to Mali and is nearly twice the size of the US state of Texas, or five times the area of the United Kingdom.
Angola is bordered by Namibia to the south, Zambia to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north-east, and the South Atlantic Ocean to the west. The exclave of Cabinda also borders the Republic of the Congo to the north. Angola's capital, Luanda, lies on the Atlantic coast in the north-west of the country. Angola's average temperature on the coast is 60 °F in the winter and 70 °F in the summer.