(redirected from Angolan)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


Angola (ăng-gōˈlə), officially Republic of Angola (2020 est. pop. 32,870,000), including the exclave of Cabinda, 481,351 sq mi (1,246,700 sq km), SW Africa. Angola is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, by Congo (Kinshasa) on the north and northeast, by Zambia on the east, and by Namibia on the south. Luanda is the capital, largest city, and chief port.

Land and People

The Bié Plateau, which forms the central region of the territory, has an average altitude of 6,000 ft (1,830 m). Rising abruptly from the coastal lowland, the plateau slopes gently eastward toward the Congo and Zambezi basins and forms one of Africa's major watersheds. The uneven topography of the plateau has resulted in the formation of numerous rapids and waterfalls, which are used for the production of hydroelectric power. The territory's principal rivers are the Cuanza and the Cunene. Rainfall in the south and along the coast north to Luanda is generally low. In northern Angola it is usually dry and cool from May to October and wet and hot from November to April. The characteristic landscape is savanna woodlands and grasslands. The northeast, however, has densely forested valleys that yield hardwoods, and palm trees are cultivated along a narrow coastal strip.

In addition to Luanda, other important cities are Huambo, Lobito, Benguela, and Namibe. The overwhelming majority of Angola's population is of African descent, and most of the people speak Bantu and other African languages. The official language, however, is Portuguese, though French is the predominate European language in Cabinda. The Ovimbundu, Kimbundu, and Bakongo are the largest ethnic groups. After Angola secured its independence from Portugal, many Europeans left the country. Traditional indigenous religions prevail, but there is a large Roman Catholic minority and a smaller Protestant minority.


Angola's rich agricultural sector was formerly the mainstay of the economy and currently provides employment for the majority of the people. Food must be imported in large quantities, however, because of the disruption caused by the country's protracted civil war. All areas of production suffered during the fighting that began in 1975. Coffee and sugarcane are the most important cash crops. Sisal, corn, cotton, manioc, tobacco, and bananas are raised, and fishing is also important. Livestock, notably cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs, is raised in much of the savanna region.

Angola has substantial mineral resources and hydroelectric power. Most large-scale industries are nationalized. Oil, chiefly from reserves offshore, is the most lucrative product, providing about 50% of the country's GDP and 90% of its exports. Oil revenues have not done much to improve the economy at large or the everyday lives of Angolans, especially in the interior, because huge sums have been spent on the armed forces and lost due to government corruption; unaccounted losses to government funds were estimated at $32 billion in 2011. Diamond mining is also a principal industry; for many years in the late 20th cent. revenue from the mines supported UNITA rebels (see under Postcolonial History). Natural gas is produced, and Angola has deposits of iron ore, phosphates, copper, feldspar, gold, bauxite, and uranium. Industries include metals processing, meat and fish processing, brewing, and the manufacture of cement, tobacco products, and textiles.

The Benguela railroad, which carries metals from the mines of Congo (Kinshasa) and the Zambian Copperbelt, was an important source of revenue, but much of the line fell into disrepair during the civil war. Angola's road network and communications system have also been affected by civil strife. In 2005, the government began using a line of credit from China to help rebuild the country's infrastructure; rail lines began resuming service in 2010. Luanda and Lobito are Angola's main shipping ports. The country's main trading partners are the United States, China, South Korea, Portugal, and France. Angola is a member of the Southern African Development Community.


Angola is governed under the constitution of 2010. The executive branch is headed by the president; the leader of the party or coalition that receives the most votes in the National Assembly elections is elected to the office. The president, who serves as both head of state and head of government, may serve two five-year terms. The unicameral National Assembly has 220 members who are elected by proportional vote on a national (130) or provincial (90) basis for four-year terms. Adminstratively, the country is divided into 18 provinces.


History until Independence

The first inhabitants of the area that is now Angola are thought to have been members of the hunter-gatherer Khoisan group. Bantu-speaking peoples from West Africa arrived in the region in the 13th cent., partially displacing the Khoisan and establishing a number of powerful kingdoms. The Portuguese first explored coastal Angola in the late 15th cent., and except for a short occupation (1641–48) by the Dutch, it was under Portugal's control until they left the country late in the 20th cent.

Although they failed to discover the gold and other precious metals they were seeking, the Portuguese found in Angola an excellent source of slaves for their colony in Brazil. Portuguese colonization of Angola began in 1575, when a permanent base was established at Luanda. By this time the Mbundu kingdom had established itself in central Angola. After several attempts at subjugation, Portuguese troops finally broke the back of the kingdom in 1902, when the Bié Plateau was captured. Construction of the Benguela railroad followed, and white settlers arrived in the Angolan highlands.

The modern development of Angola began only after World War II. In 1951 the colony was designated an overseas province, and Portugal initiated plans to develop industries and hydroelectric power. Although the Portuguese professed the aim of a multiracial society of equals in Angola, most Africans still suffered repression. Inspired by nationalist movements elsewhere, the native Angolans rose in revolt in 1961. When the uprising was quelled by the Portuguese army, many fled to Congo (Kinshasa) and other neighboring countries.

In 1962 a group of refugees in the Congo, led by Holden Roberto, organized the Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA). It maintained supply and training bases in the Congo, waged guerrilla warfare in Angola, and, while developing contacts with both Western and Communist nations, obtained its chief support from the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Angola's liberation movement comprised two other guerrilla groups as well. The Marxist-influenced Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), founded in 1956, had its headquarters in Zambia and was most active among educated Angolan Africans and mestiços living abroad. The MPLA led the struggle for Angolan independence. The third rival group was the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA), which was established in 1966 under the leadership of Jonas Savimbi. As a result of the guerrilla warfare, Portugal was forced to keep more than 50,000 troops in Angola by the early 1970s.

In 1972 the heads of the FNLA and MPLA assumed joint leadership of a newly formed Supreme Council for the Liberation of Angola, but their military forces did not merge. That same year the Portuguese national assembly changed Angola's status from an overseas province to an “autonomous state” with authority over internal affairs; Portugal was to retain responsibility for defense and foreign relations. Elections were held for a legislative assembly in 1973.

In Apr., 1974, the Portuguese government was overthrown in a military uprising. In May of that year the new government proclaimed a truce with the guerrillas in an effort to promote peace talks. Later in the year Portugal seemed intent on granting Angola independence; however, the situation was complicated by the large number of Portuguese and other Europeans (estimated at 500,000) resident there, by continued conflict among the African liberation movements, and by the desire of some Cabindans for their oil-rich region to become independent as a separate.

Postcolonial History

Portugal granted Angola independence in 1975 and the MPLA assumed control of the government in Luanda; Agostinho Neto became president. The FNLA and UNITA, however, proclaimed a coaliton government in Nova Lisboa (now Huambo), but by early 1976 the MPLA had gained control of the whole country. Most of the European population fled the political and economic upheaval that followed independence, taking their investments and technical expertise with them. When Neto died in 1979, José Eduardo dos Santos succeeded him as president. In the 1970s and 80s the MPLA government received large amounts of aid from Cuba and the Soviet Union, while the United States supported first the FNLA and then UNITA. In Cabinda, independence forces that had fought against the Portuguese now fought against the Angolan government. Although the FNLA faded in importance, UNITA obtained the support of South Africa, which was mounting its own campaigns against the Southwest Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), a Namibian liberation group based in Angola.

In the late 1980s the United States provided military aid to UNITA and demanded the withdrawal of Cuban troops and an end to Soviet assistance. As a result of negotiations among Angola, South Africa, Cuba, and the United States, the withdrawal of Cuban troops began in 1989. Also in the late 1980s, Marxist Angola implemented programs of privatization under President dos Santos. A cease-fire between the ruling MPLA and UNITA was reached in 1991, and the government agreed to make Angola a multiparty state. However, when dos Santos won UN-supervised elections held in Sept., 1992, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi charged fraud and refused to accept the results. In Nov., 1992, bitter fighting broke out between rebel UNITA troops and government forces, destroying many cities and much of the country's infrastructure. Despite initial victories that gave UNITA control of some two thirds of Angola, the MPLA eventually gained the upper hand in the renewed warfare.

In Nov., 1994, with UNITA on the verge of defeat, dos Santos and Savimbi signed the Lusaka protocol, a new agreement on ending the conflict. The two sides committed to the integration of several thousand UNITA troops into the government armed forces as well as the demobilization of thousands more from both sides. UN peacekeeping troops began arriving in June, 1995, to supervise the process. Troop integration, however, was suspended in 1996, and UNITA's demobilization efforts lagged. A new government of national unity was formed in 1997, including several UNITA deputies; Savimbi had declined a vice presidency in 1996.

With renewed fighting in 1998, Angola's ruling MPLA put the country's coalition government on hold, saying that UNITA had failed to meet its peace-treaty obligations. It suspended all UNITA representatives from parliament and declared that it would no longer deal with Savimbi, instead recognizing a splinter group, UNITA Renovada. In 1999 the United Nations voted to pull out all remaining troops stationed in the country, while continuing humanitarian relief work with over a million refugees.

UNITA was able to finance its activities, including an estimated 30,000 troops stationed in neighboring Zambia and Congo (Kinshasa), with some $500 million a year in diamond revenues from mines it controlled in the country's northeast. Fighting continued, with Angola's army inflicting several defeats on UNITA beginning in late 1999, weakening UNITA's still sizable forces. International restrictions (2001) on sales of diamonds not certfied as coming from legitimate sources also hurt UNITA, and the death of Savimbi in battle in 2002 was a severe blow to the rebels, who subsequently signed a cease-fire agreement and demobilized. UNITA subsequently reconstituted itself as a political party. Also in 2002 Angolan government forces gained the upper hand against Cabindan separatists; a peace agreement for the province was signed in 2006. As many as one million people died in the Angolan civil war, and the country's infrastructure was slow to recover from the effects of the fighting.

Parliamentary elections scheduled for 2007 were postponed late in 2006 until mid-2008, and the presidential election was then set for 2009. In Mar., 2007, there was an apparent attack on the leader of UNITA, Isaias Samakuva; UNITA accused the government of trying to assassinate him. When the parliamentary elections were finally held in Sept., 2008, they were marred by procedural irregulaties and difficulties but were otherwise generally transparent, and the MPLA won a landslide victory, with more than 80% of the vote.

In 2009 the presidential election (scheduled for Sept., 2009) was again postponed; a new constitution approved by the National Assembly in Jan., 2010, abolished direct election for the president. In the legislative elections of Aug., 2012, the MPLA won 72% of the vote, which thus resulted in the election of dos Santos as president. UNITA and other opposition parties unsuccessfully challenged the result in the courts.

The Aug., 2017, elections produced a largely similar result (the MPLA won 61% of the vote), but dos Santos retired as president and the MPLA's João Lourenço, the former defense minister, was elected to succeed him. Lourenço soon moved to reduce the influence of the president's family and allies over the government and government-controlled businesses, and mounted a crackdown on corruption. Among those charged with corruption was (2018) Dos Santos's son, who was found guilty in 2020. In 2019 a court ordered the seizure of Dos Santos's daughter's assets, and in 2020 she was charged with corruption and a Portuguese court ordered her assets there to be seized. In Oct., 2018, some 380,000 migrants, mostly from Congo (Kinshasa), were expelled from or left Angola, primarily in the northeast.


See B. Davidson, In the Eye of the Storm (1972); G. J. Bender, Angola Under the Portuguese (1978); P. M. Martin, Historical Dictionary of Angola (1980); K. Akpau et al., Alvor and Beyond: Political Trends and Legal Issues in Angola (1988); J. C. Miller, Angola: A Way of Death (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a country in West Africa. It is bounded by the People’s Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (now the Republic of Zaïre) on the north and northeast, by Zambia on the southeast, by Namibia on the south, and by the Atlantic Ocean on the west. A Portuguese colony (officially an “overseas province”), it has an area of 1,246,700 sq km and a population of 5,362,000 (1968). The capital is Luanda. Administratively, the country is divided into 15 districts, including the district of Cabinda, which lies to the north of the mouth of the Congo River. The official calendar is the Gregorian.

Angola is governed by a governor general aided by the economic and social council and the legislative council, both having consultative functions.

Most of Angola is situated on a plateau that rises to an elevation of more than 1,000 m and that projects steeply above a narrow (50–200 km) coastal lowland. The highest point is Mount Môco (2,610 m) on the Bié massif. Geologically, Angola falls within the boundaries of the African platform, whose fundament is formed by Precambrian crystalline rocks—among them granite, gneiss, and crystalline shale—which are exposed in the western part of the interior plateau. In the north there are outcrops of Upper Proterozoic sedimentary dislocated rocks. In eastern Angola the fundament is hidden beneath a cover of Mesozoic and Paleocene deposits of the outlying areas of the Okovanggo hollow. The coastal lowland is composed of Cretaceous and Cenozoic marine deposits, mainly sandstone and limestone. Rich diamond fields are known, and deposits of oil, lignite, iron ore, manganese ore, copper ore, zinc, lead, vanadium, titanium, uranium, gold, mica, and other minerals have been found.

The climate of the interior regions (most of Angola) is equatorial-monsoon, with rainy summers and dry winters; in the coastal areas, the climate is tropical trade wind and arid. The mean temperature of the warmest month—March or April on the coast, October or November inland—ranges from 21°C to 29°C and of the coldest month—July or August—from 15°C to 22°C. Annual precipitation ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 mm and in the extreme south, from 500 to 1,000 mm. On the coast, a total of 50–100 mm falls in the south and 250–500 mm in the north.

The river network of northeast Angola is part of the Congo River basin; the main rivers are the Kasai and Cuango (upper reaches). In the west, the Cuanza and Cunene rivers flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean. The Zambezi River (upper course) with its tributary the Cuando and the Cubango River with its tributary the Cuito flow in the east and southeast. The rivers of Angola have numerous rapids and large reserves of hydroelectric energy; for the most part, they are unsuitable for navigation.

The flora of the interior plateau consists mainly of sparse dry, deciduous tropical forests growing on various types of ferrous soils (brown-red and others) that are mostly sandy. In the north and central regions of the coastal lowland, there are grass and shrub savannas with baobabs growing on reddish-brown soils with iron accumulation on black tropical soils; in the southern regions there are desert savannas and semideserts on reddish-brown soils. The extreme south has deserts.

The animal world is dominated by savanna fauna of the East African subregion combined with elements of the forest fauna of the West African subregion of the Ethiopian zoogeographic region.


About 96 percent of the population belongs to the Bantu linguistic group. The northwestern coastal regions and the regions bordering with the Congo (Kinshasa) are settled by Bantus—the Bambunda (1.3 million people; data here and below according to 1967 estimates) and the Bakongo (500,000). Kimbundu, the language of the Bambunda, is very close to Kikongo, which is the language of the Bakongo. The central regions are inhabited by the Ovimbundu (1.9 million) and the closely related Valuchazi, Bambunda, and Valuimbe (the general Portuguese designation is Nganguela)—500,000 people. The Watschokwe inhabit the northeast (500,000); to the southwest and south live the Vanhaneca, Ovambo, He-rero, and others, as well as separate groups of Bushmen numbering about 7,000 people. The European population of about 160,000 people (3 percent of the total population) consists mainly of Portuguese officials, soldiers, and landowners. The official language is Portuguese. Most of the Africans practice traditional local religions; Christians, mainly Catholics, constitute 35 percent.

The Portuguese government encourages the emigration of European settlers from the mother country to Angola; 55,000 people emigrated between 1955 and 1960. These emigrants are given the best lands, which are taken from the Africans, as well as livestock and credit. The native population is subject to discrimination and cruel exploitation by the colonial authorities.

Most of the population lives in villages. There are three cities with populations of over 50,000 inhabitants: Luanda (225,000 in 1962), Nova Lisboa (61,000 in 1961), and Lobito (80,000 in 1960).


The early history of Angola has scarcely been studied. In the 14th century, the Congo state (which existed until the 18th century) formed on the territory of northern Angola. Later, other independent early feudal-type state formations developed in which tribal relations were preserved. By the time the first Europeans appeared (the Portuguese expedition of Diogo Cāo in 1482), the strong states of Ndongo, Lunda, and Benguela already existed; the states of Matamba and Cas-sange arose in the 17th century. In the 16th century the Portuguese established a number of forts along the coast of Angola, including Sāo Paulo de Luanda (1576), which became the center for further colonization. In the late 16th century, the Portuguese suppressed a large African uprising in west Angola and began to penetrate the country’s interior. Resistance to the invaders was led by Ngola Nzinga, who ruled the Ndongo and Matamba states from 1624 or 1623 to 1663. Although the war continued for about 30 years, the Portuguese were unable to conquer the inland regions of Angola. After the death of Ngola Ndambi, the Ndongo state disintegrated under the blows of the Portuguese colonizers.

Until the mid-19th century, the main occupation of the Portuguese in Angola was the slave trade. Rough estimates of the numbers of people sent out of the country, mainly to Brazil, reach 5 million people. The excesses of the slave traders brought about a number of uprisings of the African population during the 18th and 19th centuries; these served to slow the advance of the colonizers into the country’s interior. The Lunda state, which maintained its independence until the late 19th century, stubbornly resisted the invaders. Between 1885 and 1894, agreements were concluded between Portugal, Belgium, Germany, and England which fixed the present borders of Angola, but actually the occupation of all the territory of modern Angola was completed by Portugal only in the early 1920’s.

Angola had the legal status of a colony until 1951, when the Portuguese colonizers, attempting to camouflage and strengthen their domination of Angola, declared it and their other colonies to be “overseas provinces.”

The cruel colonial regime established in Angola periodically produced popular uprisings, which were spontaneous until the 1950’s. During the 1950’s, the first underground patriotic organizations developed: the Union of the Peoples of Angola (UPA, 1954) and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA, 1956). Later, some other nationalist parties formed, but they exerted no perceptible influence on the development of the liberation struggle. On Feb. 4, 1961, there was an uprising of Africans led by the MPLA in Luanda, initiating the national liberation war against the colonizers. Erupting in northern Angola in the spring of 1961, the war spread to the eastern and central regions of the country by 1968.

Relying on military and financial aid from their NATO allies, the colonizers intensified mass terror in Angola. To save themselves, over 300,000 Angolans fled to neighboring independent countries by 1968. At the same time, the Portuguese government began to institute a series of reforms aimed at weakening the national liberation movement. In the 1960’s, regulations on forced labor were abolished, the attainment of civil rights by Angolans was facilitated, and the prerogatives of local government organs were expanded. However, these measures improved the situation of only the feudal and bourgeois elements of the native population.

The development of the national liberation movement was hindered by the divisive activities of the UPA leadership. In 1962, independently of other patriotic organizations, it established the “provisional government of the Angola Republic in exile,” headed by Holden Roberto, who established a base in the Congo (Kinshasa), claiming a monopoly of leadership in the liberation struggle. By 1965 the UPA leadership had in effect ended the military actions of its own units in Angola. Armed struggle was led by the revolutionary-democratic organization MPLA, which successfully conducts partisan warfare in the north and east. In liberated regions, elected organs of power, elementary schools, and medical aid stations are being established.

Since 1961, the Angola question has been discussed repeatedly in the UN, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and democratic international social organizations—the World Federation of Trade Unions, the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Asia and Africa, the World Peace Council, and others. The 16th (1961–62) and 17th (September-December 1962) sessions of the UN General Assembly adopted resolutions sharply condemning the policies of the Portuguese colonizers in Angola. In response to the appeal of the OAU, most of the independent states of Africa have broken off diplomatic relations with Portugal and declared an economic boycott against it.

In May 1961 the Soviet government issued the declaration “On the Situation in Angola,” which condemned Portuguese colonialism and called for the world to defend the rights of the Angolan people. The Soviet Union, other socialist countries, and the progressive community of the world give constant support to the Angolan freedom fighters.


Angola is an economically underdeveloped agrarian country which supplies plant produce and mineral raw goods to the world capitalist market. Foreign capital—primarily Portuguese and British—holds the key positions in Angola’s economy; American and West German capital is increasingly penetrating the economy.

Agriculture. Agriculture is the main branch of the economy. Along with the numerous small farms of African peasants—to a large extent, oriented to the consumers’ market—there are large plantations and farms owned by European companies and individual colonists; they provide the bulk of agricultural commodity production. The most important exported plantation crops are coffee in the northwest and sisal in the northern and central parts of the interior plateau. In 1967, 204,000 tons of coffee were harvested, of which 196,500 tons were exported; the 1967 export of sisal amounted to 47,000 tons. There are sugarcane plantations (67,000 tons of sugar were produced in 1967) on the coastal lowland and along the Cuanza River and oil palm plantations in the north. Natural palm plantations are also exploited; in 1967 the export of palm oil totaled 15,500 tons and of palm kernels 16,800 tons.

On the European farms in the central areas of the interior plateau, maize and wheat are cultivated; in 1967, 500,000 hectares of maize were planted, yielding 380,000 tons. Cacao, Para rubber trees, castor-oil plants, tobacco, fruit, and other plants are grown in small quantities. On African farms, mainly in the north, cotton is cultivated; cotton fiber yield amounted to 9,000 tons in 1967. African peasants raise manioc, cacao, maize, millet, sorghum, rice, kidney beans, peanuts, and other crops for their own consumption.

Livestock breeding is developed mainly in the elevated regions free from tsetse flies in the southern and central sections, primarily on African farms. The livestock population in 1965–66 totaled 1.5 million cattle, 135,000 sheep, 478,000 goats, and 312,000 pigs. Sea fishing-is developed, with a total catch of 292,100 tons in 1967. Timber exploitation is centered in the Cabinda District; the export of round timber amounted to 79,500 tons in 1967.

Industry. Industry is poorly developed. The leading branch is mining, and most of the output is exported. Most important is diamond mining in the Lunda District in the northeast (1,667,000 carats in 1968). Oil is extracted on the coastal strip, with the main deposits located at Tobiash; 550,000 tons were extracted in 1968. Iron ores are mined, totaling 1,154,300 tons in 1967; the main deposits are at Cassinga and Cuíma. There are manganese and copper mines. Natural asphalt is extracted in the northern coastal belt (27,000 tons in 1967), and common salt is obtained from seawater (77,700 tons).

In 1967 the total output of all installed engines at power plants was 286,800 kW, including 215,200 kW in hydroelectric plants; the production of electric power was 373 million kW-hrs in 1967. There are enterprises for processing raw agricultural products—coffee, cotton, vegetable oil, and sugar refineries, distilleries, breweries, tobacco factories, factories for dairy and meat products, and other plants. In coastal cities there are fish-drying and canning enterprises. There is an oil refinery in Luanda. The country has cement (279,300 tons in 1967) and asbestos-cement goods plants in Lobito, sawmills, and plants for the production of agricultural implements and hardware; there are textile and clothing factories, shipyards for the construction of small—primarily fishing—vessels, a tire factory, a cellulose and paper factory, and so forth.

Transportation. There are over 3,000 km of railroads (1966). The Benguela line is the main one, forming part of the trans-African Lobito-Beira line; it is important for transporting the mineral raw materials exported from the Congo (Kinshasa). Highways total over 45,000 km (1964); in 1967 there were 55,500 automobiles and 21,900 trucks. The lower course of the Cuanza River is navigable for a distance of 240 km from its mouth. The main seaports are Lobito (1967 freight turnover was 1.5 million tons), Luanda (1.2 million tons), and Moçâmedes (435,000 tons). Coastal trade is developed. A number of international airlines pass through Luanda.

Foreign trade. The main export products are coffee (about one-half of the total value in 1967), diamonds (about one-sixth), sisal, maize, iron ore, palm kernels and oil, fish meal, fuel oil, cotton, timber, and dried fish. Imports include machines and equipment, transport vehicles, textiles, metals and metalwares, and wine. Portugal plays the leading role in Angola’s foreign trade; the USA, WestGermany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain are also prominent.

The monetary unit is the angolar, equal to one Portuguese escudo.


In 1960 the birthrate per 1,000 population was 48.4, the general death rate, 33.3. The population included 50 percent who were under 20 years of age and only 4.5 percent over 60. Since 1960 there has been no demographic data for the entire population of Angola. Infectious diseases predominate in Angola, especially malaria and schistosomiasis. Most widespread are tuberculosis, childhood and intestinal diseases, leprosy, yaws, and venereal diseases.

According to the principles of medical geography, the country can be divided into northern and southern regions. In the coastal lowland of the northern region, common colds resulting from the influence of the cold Benguela current are common. In the damp northern sections of this region, malaria, onchocerciasis, Gambian-type African sleeping sickness, urogenital schistosomiasis, and intestinal diseases (such as dysentery and poliomyelitis) are prevalent; smallpox, yaws, leprosy, and tuberculosis also appear. In the south of this region, Rhodesian-type African sleeping sickness and acarid spirochetosis are common; rabies is often encountered. On the plateaus (above 1,500 m), in regions with developed livestock raising, persistent beds of Q fever, echinococcosis, taeniarhynchosis, and woolsorter’s disease have been noted. In the southern region, cases of maduromycosis, histoplasmosis, trachoma, and syphilis have been recorded. There are two known breeding grounds of plague.

In 1964 there were 669 hospital institutions with 12,800beds (2.5 beds per 1,000 population) in Angola. Of these there were 95 general hospitals with 6,600 beds (17 state hospitals with 2,656 beds). In 1964 there were 387 doctors (one per 13,000 population) in Angola, including 253 in state service. There were 19 dentists (six in state service), 66 pharmacists (21 in state service), 332 sanitary engineers and other sanitary personnel, 97 mid wives (40 in state service), and 515 secondary medical personnel (267 in state service).


Veterinary services. Angola is unfavorable because of highly dangerous livestock diseases. The presence of carriers—tsetse flies and ticks—in areas of damp, high-grass and park savannas and in damp, sparse forests leads to the development of trypanosomiasis in cattle (37 outbreaks in 1965–66), anaplasmosis (237 outbreaks), babesiasis (185 out breaks), and streptotrichosis (104 outbreaks). In the zone of park and high-grass savannas of the western region there are endemic beds of rickettsial diseases (hydropericarditis) of cattle (360 outbreaks), in which a high degree of livestock mortality (up to 80 percent) is observed. In the south a large breeding ground of cattle peripneumonia (136 outbreaks) and African horse plague (three outbreaks) has not been eliminated. Angola is one of the oldest breeding grounds of African swine fever (61 outbreaks). Tuberculosis (177 outbreaks) and brucellosis occur among the cattle of southern Angola. Along cattle trails and in the regions of freely grazing livestock raising in southern Angola, there are stationary breeding grounds of woolsorter’s disease and blackleg attributable to the absence of places equipped for the burial of dead livestock. The country has a high level of agricultural livestock diseases caused by worms: echinococci, fasciolae, and nematodes. The Institute of Veterinary Research is in Nova Lisboa. The number of veterinary personnel is negligible—41 specialists in 1966.


Under the rule of the Portuguese colonizers, education is at an extremely low level in Angola; there are neither enough teachers nor school buildings, and most children do not attend school. Over 90 percent of the native population is illiterate (1960). The contemporary system of education is constructed along the Portuguese model. Tuition is charged; instruction is in Portuguese. The children of the European (white) population and of the Africans study in separate institutions. There are a few kindergartens for children aged four to six years. At the ages of six or seven, children may be accepted into four-year elementary schools. The secondary seven-year school has three cycles (2 + 3 + 2); completion gives the pupil access to institutions of higher learning. During the 1965/66 academic year, there were 1,600 children in kindergartens, over 218,000 pupils in elementary schools, and over 15,000 in secondary schools. Vocational training is given primarily in three-year trade schools which follow elementary schools; there are secondary vocational schools with five- to seven-year programs. Elementary school teachers are trained in pedagogical schools and secondary teachers in the university. During the 1965/66 academic year, there were about 14,000 students in vocational and trade schools and 936 students in pedagogical schools. The only institution of higher learning is the university in Luanda (founded 1963); during the 1966/67 academic year, it had 600 students. Luanda is the site of the National Library, containing 10,000 volumes, the Municipal Library, containing 14,000 volumes, the Museum of Angola (founded 1938), and the Dundo Museum.


Angola has a rich oral literature in the Bantu languages— Kimbundu, Umbundu, Kikongo, Nganguela, and others. At the end of the 19th century, the writer Cordeiro da Matta kept a record of works of folk art and published the Portuguese-language book Popular Wisdom in Angolan Proverbs. The writer O. Ribas also worked systematically in this direction. His book Missosso (vols. 1–3, 1961), which includes about 100 fairy tales and 500 proverbs, and his book Angolan Rites and Deities (1958), although both permeated by a procolonial bias, serve as vast sources for the study of Angola’s folklore. The writer Castro Soromenho created History of the Black Land (vols. 1–2,1960) on the basis of folk legends. Some authors writing in the popular languages Umbundu and Kimbundu are unable to publish their works. Contemporary written literature in Angola exists primarily in Portuguese.

The basic trends of Angolan literature are the procolonialist orientation and the opposing patriotic literature typical of colonial countries. The two trends appear as early as the 19th century. Since the 1950’s, a literary trend which is remote from the people and from reality has been dominant—the novel Fetish (1951) and collection of stories Echoes of My Land (1952) by O. Ribas and the verses of the poets M. Antonio and G. Bassa Victor. The Baobab publishing house, founded in 1960 in the city of Sá da Bandeira, publishes authors living in Angola and Portugal.

The initial period of the development of progressive literature (1855–1930) was characterized by themes of national self-assertion expressed in poems, journal articles, and feuilletons. Only two novels written during this period are well known: African Scenes by Pedro Masado and Secret of the Dead by Antonio di Assiz Junior. From 1930 to 1947, a complete stagnation in the literary movement became evident. The denunciation of colonialism formed the subject matter for the literature of the second period (1948–60). The cultural-enlightenment patriotic movement “Let Us Discover Angola” arose in this period. A press was established at the House of Students of the Empire in Lisbon which published the works of progressive writers from the Portuguese colony until 1964. The novels Dead Land (1949) and Turns (1957) by Castro Soromenho, the collections Anthology of African Poetry in Portuguese (1958), and other works appeared. The last period (from about 1960) has been characterized by themes of the liberation struggle, armed uprising, and mobilization of the people’s forces to resist the oppressors. The novella The Path of Dominux Xavier by Mundele dia Cuanza was translated from manuscript and published in the magazine Inostrannaia literatura (1963, no. 9). Progressive literature is developing in emigration, since most writers who lead the national liberation movement work outside Angola. This group includes A. Neto, author of the anthologies Poems (1961) and With Dry Eyes (1963); M. de Andrade, who compiled three anthologies of poetry from the Portuguese colony; and C. Andrade, author of Poems of Accusation (1961) and the anthologies of poems Land of Purple Acacias (1961) and Angolan Time in Italy (1963). L. Vieira, author of the short-story cycle Young Lives (the magazine Cultura. 1957–61) and the collected short stories Luanda (1965) and Waiting for the Light (Moscow, 1969), and A. Jacinto have been incarcerated in a special concentration camp for their involvement with the national liberation movement.


The villages of Angola have a circular plan: the centered meetinghouse is surrounded by homes, behind which there are farm buildings. Homes are rectangular (more rarely, circular) and built from stakes braided with branches or coated with clay. The roofs are gabled or hipped, with grass or straw roofing. The doors and walls are frequently decorated with carved figures and have burnt in or drawn geometrical designs. With the coming of the Europeans to Angola, cities with baroque or early classical stone buildings appeared, modeled on the provincial cities of Portugal. Since the early 20th century, buildings have been erected in the spirit of modern European architecture, using new structures and materials.

Decorative carving has existed since ancient times in Angola. Stylized, sketchy figurines of people and animals endowed with magic power, according to popular belief, and ritual masks are carved. Wooden furniture and household utensils are covered with carved representations which sometimes form complex decorative compositions. Baskets, mats, and bags woven from grass, twigs, and straw are decorated with clear-cut geometric designs in black, yellow, and reddish brown. The development of traditional decorative crafts in Angola was greatly undermined by Portuguese colonization.


Oganis’ian, Iu. S. Natsional’naia revoliutsiia v Angole. Moscow, 1968.
Khazanov, A. M. Politika Portugalii v Afrike i Azii. Moscow, 1967.
Mountinho, M. Padua. Voina v Angole. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from Portuguese.)
Davidson, B. “Angola, 1961.” New Statesman, 1961, vol. 62.
Esteves, F. H. Historia do Congo português. Carmona, 1958.
Oliveira, M. Para a historia do trabalho em Angola. Luanda, 1963.
Oleinikov, I. N. Angola. Moscow, 1960.
Silva, J. de. Portugal’skie kolonii v Afrike. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Portuguese.)
Caderno de poesía negra de expressāo portuguesa. Lisbon, 1953.
Andrade, M. de. Antologia da poesia negra de expressāo portuguesa. Paris, 1958.
Présence africaine, no. 57.
Contistas angolanos. Lisbon, 1960.
Contos d’Africa. Sá de Bandeira, 1961.
Novos contos d’Africa. Introduction by G. de Andrade. Sá de Bandeira, 1962. (Anthology.)
Poetas e contistas africanos de expressāo portuguesa. Introduction and selections by J. Alves das Neves. Sāo Paulo, 1963.
Poetas angolanos. Edited by the House of Students of the Empire. Lisbon, 1962. (Anthology.)
Ervedosa, C. A literatura angolana (resenha historica). Lisbon, 1963.
Poesia antologia tematica. Algiers, 1967.
In Russian translation:
Doroga: Rasskazy i povesti angol’skikh pisatelei. Moscow, 1964.
Zdes’i trava roditsia krasnoi: Stikhi. [Moscow, 1967.]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Republic of Angola

Capital city: Luanda

Internet country code: .ao

Flag description: Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and black with a centered yellow emblem consisting of a five-pointed star within half a cogwheel crossed by a machete (in the style of a hammer and sickle)

Geographical description: Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo

Land area: 481,400 sq. mi. (1,246,700 sq. km.)

Climate: Semiarid in south and along coast to Luanda; north has cool, dry season (May to October) and hot, rainy season (November to April)

Nationality: noun: Angolan(s); adjective: Angolan

Population: 12,263,596 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Ovimbundu 37%, Mbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mestico (mixed European and African) 2%, European 1%, other 22%

Languages spoken: Portuguese (official), Umbundu, Kim­bundu, Kikongo dialects

Religions: indigenous religions 47%, Roman Catholic 38%, Protestant 15% (1998 country est.)

Legal Holidays:

Africa DayMay 25
All Souls' DayNov 2
Day Inicio de Luta ArmadaFeb 4
Family DayDec 25
Foundation of the MPLA Workers' Party DayDec 10
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Independence DayNov 11
International Children's DayJun 1
International Women's DayMar 8
International Workers' DayMay 1
Martyrs of Colonial Repression DayJan 4
National Hero's DaySep 17
New Year's DayJan 1
Peace and National Reconciliation DayApr 14
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in SW Africa, on the Atlantic: includes the enclave of Cabinda, north of the River Congo; a Portuguese possession from 1575 until its independence in 1975; multiparty constitution adopted in 1991; factional violence. It consists of a narrow coastal plain with a large fertile plateau in the east. Currency: kwanza. Religion: Christian majority. Capital: Luanda. Pop.: 14 078 000 (2004 est.). Area: 1 246 693 sq. km (481 351 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
' He is well in Angola and we need to find out on what charges was he arrested for but we have communicated with them (Angolan police) and we will pay them a visit and hand over to our seniors to take it up from there,'' explained Kupembona.
He Bin, Deputy General Manager of ACEG Angolan Branch, headed to the airport to meet them in the afternoon on July 29 and attended the welcome ceremony for the returned students held by the Zaire Provincial Authority in Mbanza Kongo City.
The nearest Angolan embassy to Kenya, for instance, was in Tanzania, which was also accredited to Nairobi.
Despite the throngs of Zebras supporters who came to the match, the Angolans were a better side in the first half in terms of speed and strength.
Maria learned how to circumnavigate this frustration by calling her family from the residence of the Angolan ambassador and from the homes of other friends in Berlin.
Angolan security forces stormed the town, according to 15 witnesses, killing dozens of people, burning down homes, looting property and forcing people to leave.
Mensah also left the Phobians under similar condition to sign a three-year contract with the same Angolan outfit.
"The Angolan Government is attracting inward foreign investment by establishing public private partnerships such as Porto do Caio.
While the terms of agreement are not clear, CaixaBank and dos Santos have previously said that they were looking for a settlement under which CaixaBank would acquire dos Santos's 18.6 percent stake in BPI and, in return, sell BPI's Angolan bank, Banco de Fomento Angola, to her.
The new constraints are: (i) a need -- in these sectors -- to have a partnership with Angolan citizens or Angolan companies, with the "Angolan Partner" having at least 35% of the share capital; and (ii) effective participation of the "Angolan Partner" in the management of the company, clearly stated in the shareholders' agreement.
South Sudanese foreign affairs and international cooperation, minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, in reaction described as a "surprise and regrettable" the decision of the Angolan government to support the draft proposal.
* The Angolan insurance industry's growth prospects by segment and category