Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (Portuguese: República de Angola), is a country located in southwest Africa. Is bordered by Kongo to the northwest, Umongo to the northeast, Uruwa, Urunda, and Bartotseland to the east, and Namibia to the south.


República de Angola
Official languagesPortuguese (Official) Kikongo, Kimbundu, Umbundu and many other native languages.
• Autonomy within the Portuguese Empire
• Independence
April 21, 1976


Early history

Where today lies the country of Angola, it was originally under the influence of several African kingdoms, the main ones being the Kongo and the Dongo since the XIV century. In 1482, the Portuguese sailor Diogo Cão reached and established relations with Kongo, marking the start of the European presence in the region. In 1575, the trading post of Loanda was established and later became one of the most relevant settlements on the coast of Africa at the time. The settlement was one of the key points for the Portuguese Atlantic slave trade (around the early 17th century, it is estimated that ten thousand individuals per year were forced to move to work on plantations in the Americas).

Angola was shortly occupied by the Dutch from 1641 to 1648. Although the European invaders were forced to leave by 1648, Portugal only took full control of the region by 1671. Angola's expansion to the south and to the interior of the continent happened slowly through the XVII to XIX centuries.

Angola in the XIX and XX centuries became one of the most valuable Portuguese territories due to its large agrarian and mineral production and later due to the discovery of large oil reserves.

Process of independence

After the Great War (1935–1939), Africa started to go through the process of decolonization. Some colonies obtained independence peacefully; others needed to fight during decades-long conflicts to achieve self-rule. Portugal was one of the countries that managed to hold on to most of their overseas territories the longest, with Angola being one of the territories the colonial power tried to keep control of for the longest possible.

During the second half of the 20th century, rural guerillas started to become a growing concern for the Angolan colonial administration. Calls from the urban population for more political representation in the form of public demonstrations were also common occurrences across this period.

As part of the Act of Balance of 1965, Angola, along with the other African territories still under the control of the Portuguese, became an autonomous territory inside the Kingdom of Portugal. This move was a resource taken by the country to, at least for a while, maintain its rule over its possessions and appease international pressure. Despite the efforts of Portugal, the fate of Angola becoming an independent nation in the next few years was already an accepted reality. The country was already exhausted from fighting on several fronts in a colonial war since 1962. Angola finally gained independence on April 21st, 1976, along with all the other Portuguese colonies in Africa, as part of the Act of Free Will.