A Short History of Angola

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Angola's history can be divided in 3 periods:

The beginning of its history prior the the arrivals of European settlers.

The arrival of Portuguese settlers in the 15th century and subsequent developments.

The more recent history and its tragic events.

The land of Angola was inhabited 7,000 years BC by hunter-gatherers as well as communities of settled fishermen.

Those early inhabitants developed the know-how of working with iron. They were known as Bushmen, Khosian or San.

It is believed the the technique of casting iron was utilize in west Africa around year 300 BC through the old commerce routes that crossed the Sahara.

The Bantu people—it is believed they came from the present day Cameroon—they had an advance knowledge of the techniques of working with iron.

Bantu-speakers migrated to Angola around 500 years AC.

Around the year 1,000 AC, there were several kingdoms in Angola. Around the year 1,200 the most powerful of the kingdoms was the Kongo kingdom.

To the south there was a smaller kingdom called Ndongo.

Another kingdom was Matamba, based west of the Cuango river.

In the 16th century a powerful kingdom developed, the Kingdom of Lunda.

In the 15th century Portuguese settlers began to arrive in the coasts of Angola. The first contact they made was with the king of Kongo. First it was a friendly contact. The king of Kongo was happy to trade his slaves for the arms that the Portuguese brought with them.

In the 16th century the Portuguese began to conquer Angola.

In the 19th century the established cotton, rubber and coffee plantations. Slavery was abolished in 1834, however forced labor was permitted.

In 1920 Angola was a colony with its own civil administration.

Before independence was granted 1975 many lives were lost in Angola. Hundreds of Portuguese were murdered and 20,000 Angolans lost there lives.

At the end of 1975, Portuguese people, about 300,000 left Angola.

There are 3 nationalist movements in Angola, MPLA, FNLA and UNITA. After the country acquired independence, those national movements began to fight for power, which lead into a civil war.

MPLA and UNITA signed a treaty in 1991 and a new order apparently emerged with the promise of free elections. However the country went back into civil war when UNITA was not happy at loosing the elections in 1992.

Another peace treaty was signed in 1994, when United Nations took control of supervising the cease fire. There was a four-year period of relative peace.

In 1998 Angola was submerged again into civil war.

In 2002 government troops killed Jonas Savimbi, leader of UNITA Four weeks later, the 4th of April rebel leaders signed a cease fire agreement with the government, which brought to an end the 30-year civil war.

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