The Republic of Angola is an African nation located in the southwestern part of the continent where it shares its borders with Namibia, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since the 16th century, Angola was a Portuguese colony until the country and its people were granted their independence in 1975. As of 2009, the estimated population is said to be 18,498,000where it is composed of 37% Ovimbundu, 25% Ambundu, 13% Bakongo, 2% mixed European and African, 1% European, and 22% of other ethnic groups. The majority of Angola’s population is comprised from Ambundu and Ovimbundu which combines for 62% of the population in the country. The official language of Angola is Portuguese but due to the many different ethnic groups in the country from previouscenturies, other languages are spoken as well. Luanda, the capital and the largest city of Angola, is the economic stronghold and workhorse for the county. Over a third of Angolans live in the city, although around 50% live in poverty.
Throughout the years, Angola has faced many different challenges and problems that have shaped the country for the better or worse. Since their independence in 1975, Angolafell into a severe and deadly civil war that lasted three decades that was brought to an end in 2002. Through this transformation of the country, Angola has seen its fair share of changes and improvements. Angola’s economy has had a strong turnaround ever since the civil war ceased in 2002. Currently, Angola has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world with the GDP, or gross domesticproduct, rising over 20% between the years 2005 and 2007. Oil and diamonds make up a large percentage of the economy in the country and with growing demand and prices for oil, Angola continues to thrive economically.
In the early 1970’s, Angola was facing a transitional period where the colonial power, Portugal, was losing its grasp on the country. As rebel groups fought against the Portuguesemilitary, three parties formed in Angola, the MPLA, UNITA, and FNLA. They more or less fought against one another but also used their resources to combat against their colonial power and each had their own motive to declare independence and rule the country. In the mist of all this, Portugal failed to keep peace within Angola and eventually matters became worse when the Portuguese regime fell to amilitary coup in 1974. Due to the end of the dictatorship in Portugal, the Portuguese new government was unwilling to mend Portugal’s collapsing empire in regards to its African colonies it once held a strong influence in. It became very expensive to maintain and control a lost cause within these colonies as the rebel groups continued to push forth and seek for their independence. As a result, thenew Portuguese government quickly granted independence to all of their African colonies such as Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde in the mid 1970’s.
Following the declaration of independence in November of 1975, Angola immediately fell into a long and devastating cold war. The MPLA (The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola) political party gained control of Angola after theirindependence in 1975. Agostinho Neto, who lead the MPLA party, became the first president of Angola but died of cancer shortly after and was replaced by Jose Eduardo dos Santos in 1979 who currently still holds power. The main focus of the civil war in Angola stemmed from the ongoing conflicts and disagreements between the MPLA, UNITA, and the FNLA political parties. With the support from the Soviet Unionand Cuba, the MPLA had a significant advantage. As a response to the Soviet Union, the United States began providing support to the UNITA and FNLA political parties, essentially making the Angolan civil war part of the Cold War that was taking place between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Over the ensuing years, the conflict in Angola becomes an ever increasing problem. The oil rich...