History of Angola

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Angola is a country in southwestern Africa. Its name derives from the Kimbundu word for king, 'N'gola'. It was first settled by Bushmen hunter-gatherer societies before the northern domains came under the rule of Bantu states such as Kongo and Ndongo. From the 15th century Portuguese colonists began trading and a settlement was established at Luanda in the 16th century. Portugal annexed territories in the region which were ruled as a colony from 1655, and Angola was incorporated as an overseas province of Portugal in 1951. After the Angolan War of Independence (1961–1974) which ended with an army mutiny and leftist coup in Lisbon, Angola's independence from Portugal was achieved on November 11, 1975 through the Alvor Agreement.

Contents

From prehistory to the sovereign country

The area of current day Angola was inhabited during the paleolithic and neolithic eras, as attested by remains found in Luanda, Congo and the Namibe desert, eventually, at the beginning of recorded history other cultures and people also arrived.

The first to settle were the Bushmen, great hunters, similar to Pygmies in stature. This changed at the beginning of the sixth century AD, when the Bantu, already in possession of metal-working technology, ceramics and agriculture began one of the greatest migrations in history. They came from the north, probably originating from somewhere near the present day Republic of Cameroon. When they reached what is now Angola they encountered the Bushmen and other groups. The establishment of the Bantu took many centuries and gave rise to various groupings that took on different ethnic characteristics. The first large political entity in the area, known to history as the Kingdom of Kongo, appeared in the thirteenth century and stretched from Gabon in the north to the river Kwanza in the south, and from the Atlantic in the west to the river Cuango in the east.

The wealth of the Kongo came mainly from agriculture. Power was in the hands of the Mani, aristocrats who occupied key positions in the kingdom and who answered only to the all-powerful King of the Kongo. Mbanza was the name given to a territorial unit administered and ruled by a Mani; Mbanza Congo, the capital, had a population of over fifty thousand in the sixteenth century.

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