Knowledge of Angola’s early history is based on hard-to-find findings. Artifacts from the gear traditions Oldowan and the acheulé have been found in Lunda in northeastern Angola; this area also exhibits the richest prehistoric finds sequences for later periods. The postacheuléan Sangoan and Lupemba cultures (both assumed to be older than 40,000 years) exhibit continuity in terms of two-sided rejection techniques. However, there is a gap in this sequence from a time some 40,000 years ago to the tshitolian culture about 13,000 years ago, when drier climates are believed to have prevailed. Thereafter, the old rejection technique, with the addition of microliters, continued to shape the Late Stone Age gear complex. Rock paintings appear in both naturalistic and more stylized designs.
Little is known about the origins of agriculture in Angola, but polished stone artifacts have been found in M’Banza Congo, Lower Cuanza and Galanga. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Angola. A few settlements from iron-using farmers have been surveyed in various parts of the country. Settlements from the Kalund culture can probably be linked to the spread of early Slavic people; settlements of this kind south of Luanda have been dated to the 20th century AD. The development of more complex, socially stratified communities in Angola is primarily known from the Kingdom of the Congo, whose capital was located in M’Banza Congo and with the help of the royalists has been dated to the 15th century and beyond. After the arrival of the Portuguese in 1483 the importance of the city grew and in the 17th century it is described by visitors as significant, with a population of about 40,000 residents.
During the first millennium of our era, the first residents, the San people, were displaced by diet-speaking people. The Kingdom of Congo was formed in northern Angola and southwestern Congo. The Mbundu people settled in the northwest, and on the high plateau further south, Ovimbundu lived in decentralized communities.
In the 1480s, Portuguese came into contact with the Kingdom on their voyages of discovery. The king of the Congo was initially treated with respect, but soon the Portuguese appeared as brutal conquerors. Queen Nzinga, who refused to submit, is one of the heroes of Angolan nationalism.
- Countryaah: Check to see the location of Angola on the world map. Also covers major mountains, rivers and lakes in Angola.
The slave trade across the Atlantic hit Angola hard, and some historians believe that Angola’s low population is a legacy ever since. The main destinations were the archipelago of São Tomé, then Brazil. Portugal long controlled only parts of the coast of Angola. At the Berlin Conference of 1884-85, demands were made for “effective control”, and a colonial offensive was initiated but met with much resistance. Only in the late 1920s did Portugal have full control. They hated and feared chiefs de posto, the district colonial officials, were the colonial power’s representatives with the right to charge Angolans for forced labor. A small group of literate Angolans, often miserable in the cities, had, as so-called assimilados, some benefits, but the vast majority were completely lawless.
The dictatorship in Portugal refused to prepare Angola’s independence. An armed revolt began in 1960 in the coffee plantation areas in the northwest and among the workers in Luanda. When major oil and mineral deposits were discovered in the mid-1960s, the Cold War parties were attracted to bet on each of the three Angolan movements: the left-wing Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) received arms support from the Soviet Union, Cuba and Yugoslavia, among others. but also significant humanitarian support from Sweden and other Nordic countries; Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA), originating in the Congo, received support from the United States, Zaire and South Africa; and União Nacional for Independence Total de Angola (UNITA), a breakout group from FNLA, previously insignificant, received some support from China but significant South African and North American support after 1975. Following the military coup in Portugal in April 1974, a transitional government in Angola was formed in January 1975 with all three movements and Portugal. However, the agreement quickly erupted. Mass flight was started by Angola’s approximately 500,000 Portuguese, and finances and administration expired.
Angola’s Independent Republic was proclaimed November 11, 1975. MPLA leader Agostinho Neto became the country’s first president. To prevent MPLA’s power holdings, South Africa invaded Angola, but was forced to retreat in April 1976 by MPLA, which had received Cuban support. In 1977, the MPLA was transformed from a broad liberation movement into a Marxist elite party named MPLA-PT (Partido do Trabalho, ‘the Labor Party’)); now the party is called MPLA again. From bases in occupied Namibia, South Africa continued to support UNITA, which launched a devastating and cruel campaign against the government and its supporters. With a base in southeastern Angola and its greatest support in the areas of the Ovimbunda people, UNITA started a war that resulted in destroyed infrastructure and a large number of refugees.
In 1988, through US pressure, an agreement was signed that they would withdraw about 40,000 Cubans from Angola at the same time as South Africa withdrew from Namibia. In 1990 Namibia became independent, but peace was delayed in Angola. When the MPLA had given up the goal of becoming a socialist state and agreed to have multi-party peace was in sight. In 1992, the People’s Republic of Angola changed its name to the Republic of Angola, and the same year elections were held. UNITA refused to accept the election where they had lost and continued the war.
In September 1993, the UN decided on sanctions against UNITA, but did not include restrictions on the illicit diamond trade that funded UNITA’s war, especially after the 1990s support failed from the apartheid regime’s South Africa, Mobutus Zaire and the United States. A new sanctions decision was made in 1997, and in 1999 the UN set up an active monitoring commission for sanctions against UNITA. In a third sanction decision by the UN Security Council in July 1998, all diamond sales from Angola that did not have the government’s certificate of origin were banned. When monitoring was introduced, UNITA’s diamond income was estimated to have dropped from US $ 600 million in 1996 to US $ 100 million in 1999.
In the efforts to make peace, an agreement was signed in 1994 in Zambia’s capital Lusaka between the MPLA government and UNITA. The UN monitored the peace process, but was criticized for giving the operation too little resources and circumcised mandates. UNITA would receive four ministerial posts, seven deputy prime ministers and six ambassadors. Later, Jonas Savimbi was offered the post of Vice President. The conditions were that the weapons were handed in, that the soldiers were demobilized and that the authorities would have access to all parts of the country, which UNITA refused to follow.
The situation was locked and changed only after Savimbi’s death in February 2002. After the ceasefire between the government and UNITA’s military forces in April 2002, a peace agreement was finally signed. The demobilization of UNITA’s approximately 80,000 soldiers was one of the most difficult tasks. New elections were promised and a new constitution was drafted. The UNITA soldiers were granted amnesty and a unifying government was formed.
Elections to Parliament were first held in 2008, in which MPLA won a smashing victory and gained 191 out of 200 seats against UNITA’s 16 seats. Constitutional amendments in 2010 mean that the president should not be elected in direct elections but elected by Parliament. At the same time, the number of terms of office allowed by the president was limited to a maximum of two. However, this applies from 2012, which allowed José Eduardo dos Santos, president since 1979, to remain after the MPLA’s election victory this year. Ahead of the 2017 election, dos Santos announced that he was not running. After the MPLA’s election victory, João Lourenço took office as new president.
Since the end of peace in 2002, stability has prevailed in Angola, with the exception of the enclave Cabinda. Although a peace agreement was signed in 2006, separatists have also been militarily active in recent years, including the killing of two people from Togo’s national team squad in an attack during the 2010 African Football Championships.
Angola’s economy has grown at a record pace during the 2000s, mainly thanks to large oil revenues. After Nigeria, the country is the second largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the income does not benefit the majority of the population; Angola is one of the world’s most corrupt countries.
For a more detailed account of the events in Angola since 1996 see Annual reports.