Angola is a country of Africa
with a surface area of 1,246,700 km² (density of 16.53 inhab./km²). The population of Angola is 20,609,300 inhabitants in the last census.The capital of Angola is the city of Luanda which has 5,172,900 inhabitants. The President of the Republic is José Eduardo dos Santos.
"Unity is strength"
Angola or Republic of Angola is a country in South-West Africa bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and sharing its borders with the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia and Zambia.
Former Portuguese colony, it is the third Lusophone country in the world in terms of population.
Due to the lack of security in this country where there are many gun attacks, it is recommended to observe strict rules of caution.
Tourism, with the exception of business tourism, is therefore not very developed.
List of current heads of state and government
Angola at a glance
Presidential Republic of Angola
Administrative divisions: 18 provinces
Population: more than 25 million inhabitants
Main languages: Portuguese and Umbundu
Current President: José Eduardo dos Santos
Conversion into euro: 100 kwanza = 0.54 euro
Tourism: not recommended because of aggressions and kidnappings of foreigners as well as health risks
A diversified relief
The country is bordered on its western border by the Atlantic Ocean. The narrow coastal strip is rapidly replaced by plateaus and mountain ranges whose highest point is the Morro do Môco with an altitude of 2,620 meters.
Because of its area, Angola has several climatic zones. In the north, near Ecuador, the climate is tropical humid with abundant rainfall, while the South near the Tropic of Capricorn has a desert climate. The Namib Desert (erg), part of which is located in Angola, is considered the oldest desert in the world.
In the land of the Khoisan
The territory corresponding to the present Angola was occupied initially by the Khoisan people subsisting from hunting and gathering and speaking dialects mainly using consonants which produces sounds in "click".
It was not until the 11th century of our era to see the first waves of emigrants speaking Bantu in the countries of Angola. The Khoisan are repulsed in the southern part of the country while the Bantu occupy the rest of the territory and divide into different ethnic groups sometimes rivals. From that time on, the country was going to have a certain hierarchy and the population was working on land and metals.
Step by step, two groups emerged from this mosaic of tribes, the Kongo Kingdom and the Lunda Kingdom.
The Kongos will consolidate their power in northeastern Angola and part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. They practice bartering and trade using shells as currency and found their capital Mbanza-Kongo.
They share the territory of current Angola with the Lundas known to be formidable warriors but also traders and Ovimbundu occupying the Central Plateau and part of the coastline.
A Portuguese colony
The arrival of the Portuguese in this region of the African continent by the end of the 15th century will upset the way of life of these different kingdoms.
The explorer Diogo Cao, also known as Diego Cam, continues the discovery of the African coasts on behalf of John II of Portugal. He landed at the mouth of the Congo River (the present natural border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and established the first contacts with the Kongos in 1483.
The Portuguese will settle in the region in order to literate and convert populations to Christianity. The capital Mbanza-Kongo is renamed Sao Salvador. If the Portuguese-Kongos cohabitation first happens, the Europeans will soon want to dominate the local populations in order to benefit from the resources of the subsoil.
It was also at this time that the sad period of slavery began. Indeed, at the instigation of the Portuguese, the Kongos now handle firearms confront the other ethnic groups in order to capture slaves who will be sent to the Brazilian colonies, in exchange for European products. The agreement between Portuguese and Kongos will disappear and the settlers will even reduce some of their former allies into slavery. The kingdom of the Kongos disintegrates and the Manikongos (kings of the Kongo) disappear.
Meanwhile, a first slave trading post was founded in 1567 on the site of Luanda, which became the capital of Angola in 1627. From the middle of the 16th century to 1836, the city was to be at the heart of the triangular trade. African slaves were sent to the American colonies, which in return supplied Europeans with products (coffee, cocoa, cotton, sugar cane, etc.). These, in turn, dispatched manufactured goods to Africa (textiles, weapons, wines, gifts for the natives ...) in exchange for slaves.
According to different historical sources, more than 4 million Africans have landed in Brazil and Cuba. This figure does not take into account the many deaths during the crossing.
In total, more than 11 million Africans were deported in 350 years (figures only for the Atlantic slave trade).
Even if slavery was condemned by the Church at the end of the 15th century, long before the establishment of slave trading posts and shipments to the colonies of the New World, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that the various European countries approved one by one its abolition. In spite of the prohibition of the slave trade, French slave traders continue their trade semi-clandestinely and the last slave trade reached Cuba in 1867.
After the end of the slave trade, Portugal devoted itself to its inward expansion and in 1920 it became the master of all Angolan territory. The construction of a rail line facilitates the development of crops and the exploitation of the country's iron and diamond mines.
At the same time, the Portuguese government is establishing the "indigenous regime", which limits the rights of the black population, ie 98% of the total population of Angola. Corporal punishment, confiscation of property and forced labor are permitted, while blacks can no longer move at night.
Carnations for independence
This regime will be abolished in 1962 when Angola is already recognized as an overseas province and under certain conditions Angolans can accede to Portuguese citizenship.
This measure does not prevent the revolt of the Angolans and the emergence of political parties advocating the liberation of the country. Bloody clashes mourned the country and led to the War of Independence, which dragged on from 1961 to 1975.
This long and costly conflict is pushing Portugal under pressure from NATO to agree to return its independence to Angola. The overthrow of the dictator Salazar during the "Carnation Revolution" in 1974 precipitated things and independence was proclaimed on November 11, 1975. Little by little, the different European countries lost their African colonies.
Unfortunately, independence does not mark the end of the conflicts in Angola and on the same day the country enters a civil war that will last 16 years.
Indeed, South African troops invade the country to establish a pro-Western government by chasing the MPLA (People's Liberation Movement of Angola) which is at the head of the country while the Zairian army is also marching towards Luanda to support the National Front for the Liberation of Angola against the same MPLA.
When the United States withdrew its support, foreign troops had to withdraw from the country, which was inexorably engulfed in an ethnic war until 1991 when the Bicesse agreements marked the end of the clashes and led to elections under the control of the United Nations. The MPLA wins the elections but the candidate of the defeated UNITA party refuses to defeat and new clashes ravage the country. Despite short-term truces in 1994 and 1997, it was not until 2002 and a major military offensive to put an end to the fighting.
Political life in Angola
The Republic of Angola is headed by a President of the Republic, currently José Eduardo dos Santos, in power since 1992. He is also president of the MPLA and commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Armies of Angola.
The executive power is managed by the President, the Vice-President and the Council of Ministers.
The government and the National Assembly (unicameral parliament) are entrusted with the legislative power, but the President has the power to legislate without their consent. The country is therefore a democracy only by name.
The justice system is reduced to its simplest form with only 12 courts for 140 municipalities and a Supreme Court of Appeal.
A rich basement
Angola has suffered greatly from the War of Independence and its relentless struggles that plunged the country into chaos for forty long years.
Its economy has suffered but today shows a good growth allowing Angola to become the 5th economic power of the continent.
Angola mainly lives on its natural resources, oil and diamonds and industry often linked to the exploitation and export of these products to the United States, China, the EU and India. The country's growth is limited, however, because of the poor infrastructure and communication channels.
Unfortunately, the collapse of oil prices once again hit the country, which had to appeal to the IMF in 2016 to offset the losses suffered. Many bankruptcies have been reported.
Only 10% of the population lives on agriculture.
A mix of cultures
The total population of Angola is estimated at more than 25 million inhabitants, a quarter of whom live in the province of Luanda. The Angolans are divided into different ethnic groups, the Ovimbundu, the Ambundu and the Bakongo. One percent of the population is white and two are mixed.
More than two-thirds of Angolans are illiterate. The government has invested in education to solve this problem and to allow the population to undertake studies.
The official language of Angola is Portuguese but six Bantu dialects (of the 38 spoken in the country) also have the status of national languages.
The Angolans who fled the colonial regime to the Congo imported Lingala on their way back home.
Nearly the entire Angolan population has adopted Christianity as a religion but there are thousands of different churches and religious institutions. The main ones are the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches, including the Congregational Evangelical Church, the Methodical Church, the Baptist Church, and the Lutheran and Reformed Churches.
Some Angolans living in isolated areas have remained faithful to their traditional beliefs.
Aside from foreigners residing or passing for business, there are hardly any tourists in Angola. The insecurity prevailing there, mainly in the provinces of Lunda North, Lunda South and Cabinda, discourages visitors who are warned by governments of the dangers that weigh on travelers in Angola.
Armed assaults are numerous and it is recommended not to carry anything of value or money on oneself. Do not move alone and never at night.
There is also a significant health risk. Insect bites can cause malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis), so you need to protect yourself properly.
Yellow fever vaccine is mandatory and vaccines against Diphtheria-tetanus-Poliomyelitis, typhoid fever, viral hepatitis A and B, bacterial meningitis A, C, Y and W 135 and rabies are recommended.
However, travel agencies now offer holidays in Angola, discovering the most beautiful sites of the country and the city of Luanda. A rudimentary hotel infrastructure has been set up in recent years, including lodges. It is also possible to be accommodated in farms called fazendas.
Excursions are also organized to discover the Calendula Falls and Pedras Negras, the seaside resorts of Lobito and Benguela or the unforgettable landscapes of the Lubango Highlands.
Visitors will also appreciate a cuisine of marked Portuguese origins, based on fish, poultry, pork, flour and beans. Some local ingredients give them a special flavor, sweet potatoes, gombos and various spices.