Angola Nzinga and Portuguese Peace NegotiationsPhoto : Public domain

In 1575 the Portuguese settled in Angola, in what is now Luanda. From this base on the coast, Portugal led a thriving slave trade. In the 19th century, Angola formally became a Portuguese colony and at the beginning of the 20th century, the interior also came into the hands of the Portuguese. From 1932 to 1974, the Portuguese dictator Salazar ruled and anti-colonial movements were brutally suppressed. Around 1960 an armed struggle against Portuguese rule began, waged by highly rival movements. The three most important of these were, first, the Marxist Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) mainly supported by the southern tribes and communist allies;secondly, the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA), supported by the Ovimbundu and the South African apartheid regime (UNITA) and thirdly, the Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA) which its support is mainly among the northern tribes and anti-communist western countries. A nonviolent coup in Lisbon (the so-called Carnation Revolution) brought to power a government in favor of the independence of the colonies. On November 11, 1975, power was transferred to the MPLA and the People's Republic of Angola was proclaimed. The country became a one-party state with the MPLA as the only permitted party.

Independence certainly did not mean peace and stability to Angola. Under the Angolan liberation movements, the old rivalry flared up again and a very bloody civil war started which, with some interruptions, would last 27 years. The MPLA led the country according to Marxist-Leninist ideology until 1990. With the end of the Cold War, a multiparty system was introduced in 1991. But the peace that was made between both sides was short-lived. After the 1992 elections in which the MPLA came out as the winner, the battle flared up again. In the following years, UNITA, with the help of South Africa and the United States, conducted a very violent fight against the MPLA. This guerrilla war claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Angolans and caused many whites to leave the country. Moreover, it ruined the economy and much of the infrastructure. The 1994 'Lusaka Peace Agreement' has been consistently violated by both the MPLA and UNITA led by Jonas Savimbi.

Jonas Savimbi AngolaPhoto: Savimbi Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Under pressure from the United Nations, a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation (GURN) was established in April 1997. However, the peace process reached a deadlock again in mid-1998. The UN tried to restart negotiations But the Angolan government refused to talk any longer with Savimbi, the leader of UNITA. At the end of 1998, the attack on the UNITA strongholds Andulo and Bailundo was launched, restarting the civil war. The rebels hit back hard. supervision of the implementation of the Lusaka peace process and the demobilization, both parties appeared to have rearmed themselves on a large scale, which meant that the confidence of the Angolan government in the role of the UN had completely disappeared and the mandate of the UN monitoring mission (MONUA ) was ended in February 1999. The humanitarian situation of the population had deteriorated dramatically.

At the end of the 1990s, UNITA was increasingly cornered. reefing and on February 22, 2002, leader Savimbi was killed in a shootout with the government army. Savimbi's death paved the way for peace negotiations with the now very weakened UNITA. These negotiations led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 4, 2002. The UNITA Party Congress was held in June 2003. At this congress, the former UNITA representative in Paris and London, Isaias Samakuva, elected new leader of UNITA.

Dos Santos and Lula Angola Photo : Wilson Dias/ABr Photo: Wilson Dias/ABr Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil no changes made

Meanwhile, the security situation in most parts of the country has greatly improved as a result of peace. However, a large part of the population is afraid of the outcome of the upcoming elections. However, conflict between government forces and the FLEC rebels for independence continues in Cabinda province. In February 2007, President dos Santos says he will organize parliamentary elections in 2008 and presidential elections in 2009. In June 2008, the parliamentary elections will be greenlit later in the year, the first elections since 1992. In September 2008, President dos Santos's MPLA won the elections with more than 80% of the vote. President dos Santos proposes to postpone the elections for years to come. Parliament approved this in January 2010. Elections will be held in September 2012 and again the MPLA wins and dos Santos remains president. A census will be taken in May 2014, there are 24.3 million Angolans. In 2015 and 2016, Angola occupied a seat on the UN Security Council. In August 2017, the MPLA wins the election, despite complaints from the opposition. In 2018, Jao Laurenco will become president of the MPLA in addition to being president of Angola. In 2019 there will be unrest due to fuel shortages, a fairly absurd situation for this large oil-exporting country.

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BBC - Country Profiles

CIA - World Factbook

Elmar Landeninformatie

Oyebade, Adebayo / Culture and customs of Angola
Greenwood Press

Stead, Mike / Angola
Lonely Planet

Last updated September 2021
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