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Angola: From Ancient Kingdoms to Modern Challenges




To give you a brief overview, Angola is a Southern African country that was a former Portuguese colony for almost 500 years. It gained its independence in 1975, the last one in Africa to do so. Before the colonial era, it was part of the Kingdom of Kongo and the Ndongo kingdom of the Mbundu people. It has been ravaged by war, land mines, and malnutrition, but it is also rich in natural resources, especially oil and precious gems. It is the largest and wealthiest of the Portuguese-speaking African states.

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The Portuguese colony of Angola was founded in 1575 with the arrival of Paulo Dias de Novais with a hundred Portuguese families and four hundred soldiers. Its center at Luanda was granted the status of city in 1605. The King of the Kongo soon converted to Christianity and adopted a similar political structure to the Europeans. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was founded in 1956 with the help of the clandestine Portuguese Communist Party, and from 1962 it was led by Agostinho Neto. It was one of the main forces that fought for Angola’s independence from Portugal.