"Angola - The forgotten land" Angola by Kurtdhis
Angola Travel Guide: 237 reviews and 565 photos
Luanda, the capital of Angola and of Luanda Province, is the country's largest city and its principal port and industrial centre. Commercial and industrial sections are located around the modern deep-water port, and government and residential districts are situated inland, on higher ground. The city's main exports include petroleum, coffee, diamonds, iron ore, and fish products. Among its manufactured goods are refined petroleum, motor vehicles, textiles, and processed food.
Luanda's airport is the busiest in Angola, and a railway extends inland to the iron ore mines at Ndalatando and the coffee-producing area around Malanje.
Angola has been plagued by civil war since its independence from Portugal in 1975. A cease-fire lasted from May 1991 to October 1992, when the insurgent National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) refused to accept defeat in internationally monitored elections. Fighting resumed in many areas. Another peace accord was signed in November 1994. Since then, a cease-fire is generally holding, although many parts of the agreement remain to be implemented.
Angola has a population of 12,57 million. Luanda is the capital of the country but Huambo, Lobito, Benguela, Lumbango and Malange are also important cities. Jose Eduardo dos Santos is the head of the state since 1979 and the government is as multy-party state with free elections since 1992. The currency is the new Kwanza divided into 100 Iwei. Portuguese explorers first made contact with what was later the colony of Angola in 1482, but it was in 1575 that the first permanente Portuguese setllement began on the coast of Luanda.Even then the relationship was more of trading than of effective setllement. It was in the 19th century that the Portuguese began efforts to control the interior of the country and to impose their administration. Angola comprised some 100 ethnic groups eight were major ethnoliguistic.Nevertheless the major groups were monolithic, the Ovimbundu represented 22 separated chiefdoms, with the Bie and Bailundo of particular note.The Bakongo in the far north, and the Mbundu in the north had their own kindoms, of Kongo and Ndongo and had a long history of contact with European traders and missionaries. The dividing line between these people came in the isolated Dembos area north of Luanda which was to play an important part in the final phase of resistance to Portuguese rule after 1961.
The Ovimbundu inhabited the temperate central plateau of Angola, from which they established a reputation as energetic traders as they spread outwards towards the Atlantic coast into the Angolan interior. Resistance to Portuguese rule continued to modern times, but the process of conquest and setllement that began in 1838 and was accelerated after the Berlin Congress of 1884-45 obliged Portugal to show effective occupation of colonial claims.Military campaigns continued for the next 40 years.The central Ovimbundu states were subjugated after the turn of the century and and the Kwanhama kingdom in the far south was destroyed in the wake of the first World War. Some localised resistance in isolated parts of the country continued long after, but the portuguese used to claim that pacification was completed by 1922. As slavery had effectively died during the late 19th century, it was replaced by a 20th century modification in a system of forced labour through which Angola was developed and exploited. When the fascist regime collapsed in Portugal in the armed forces movement of 25April 1974, negotiations begun with various political forces in Angola, including European settler elements.A trasitional government was formed with the Portuguese, the MPLA ( The popular movement for the liberation of Angola), the FNLA (the national front for the liberation of Angola) and UNITA (the national union for the total independence of Angola) acting jointly, independence happened in 11 of November 1975.
There are several large ethnic groups and about 100 tribal sub-groups. Although many Europeans left Angola during 1974-1975, there are aproximately 30,000 still remaining. There are also a mestico population, people of mixed African and European descent, they live in the cities mainly. Portuguese is the official working language,the main African languages are Chokwe, Kikongo, Kimbundu, Kwanyama, Fiote, Ngangela,Luvale, Songo and Umbundu.Christian Roman Catholic(68%) is the predominate religion , there are some Protestants(20%) and some Animists (20%).
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