Nestled on Africa’s west coast is the thriving country of Angola. It earned its independence from Portugal in 1975, and endured a 27-year long civil war that ended in 2002. The oil and diamond-rich country is currently undergoing a dramatic rebirth from decades of turmoil, finally achieving peace for its 32 million residents. Want to know more? Keep on reading to learn 20 facts about Angola.
Fact 1: Angola, officially known as the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa
- It’s the seventh-largest country on the African continent and is bordered by Namibia to the south, Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
Fact 2: Angola has served as a home to a wide variety of ethnic groups, tribes, and kingdoms since the Paleolithic Era.
- In the 16th century, the nation-state of Angola originated from Portuguese colonisation, which initially began with coastal settlements and trading posts.
Fact 3: Luanda, the capital of Angola, is a port city on the west coast of Southern Africa.
- The city has over 2.5 million inhabitants.
Fact 4: Angola has a growing economy.
- This is largely down to many new infrastructures being build and new transport policies.
Fact 5: The country is blessed with an abundance of natural resources.
- The country is awash with natural resources such as phosphates, iron ore, diamonds, petroleum, bauxite, uranium, feldspar and petroleum. In fact, it’s the second-largest producer of oil and diamonds in sub-Saharan Africa.
Fact 6: Angola achieved independence from Portugal in 1975.
- The one-party state Marxist–Leninist People’s Republic of Angola was backed by the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Fact 7: The country endured a 27-year long civil war which ended in 2002.
- The civil war between the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the insurgent anti-communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), supported by the United States and South Africa, lasted until 2002.
Fact 8: Angola is a highly multiethnic country that features a rich culture and heritage.
- Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule reflected in the predominance of the Portuguese language and of the Catholic Church.
Fact 9: In 1484, the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão set foot in the African country.
- The Portuguese established their primary early trading post at Soyo, which is now the northernmost city in Angola apart from the Cabinda exclave.
Fact 10: Luanda is also known as the “Paris of Africa”.
- Luanda’s few well-known hotels cost around $500 per night. But thanks to recent hotel openings and under-the-radar bed and breakfasts, prices are becoming more competitive.
Fact 11: Angola is twice the size of the state of Texas.
- The African country covers an area of 481,354 square miles, making it the world’s 23rd largest country and the seventh-largest country in Africa.
Fact 12: The Angolan national flag was designed with the Soviet Union flag in mind.
- Angola’s flag features a gold cogwheel and machete, which were fashioned after the hammer and sickle on the Soviet Union’s flag.
Fact 13: In 1972, Sarah Maldoror’s “Sambizanga” won the “Tanit d’Or” which is the Carthage Film Festival’s highest prize.
- The film was one of the country’s first feature films. The film centres on a man who is wrongfully arrested and tortured to death after he is suspected of being part of a revolutionary group.
Fact 14: Angola’s most popular sport is basketball.
- The country’s national team has won the AfroBasket 11 times and holds the record for most titles.
Fact 15: It’s illegal in Angola to take photographs of Government buildings, and military sites.
- You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated, risk detention, and arrest for doing so.
Fact 16: It’s more tropical in Angola’s northern region, and more arid in the country’s southern region.
- The rainy season in the north usually lasts from November to April. The south gets scattered rains twice a year, from March to July and October to November.
Fact 17: Citizens under the age of 24 make up nearly 70% of the country’s population.
- Moreover, only about 70% of the population is literate, and the rate drops to around 60% for women. Despite the country’s rapid post-war economic growth, based on oil production, more than 40% of Angolans live below the poverty line and unemployment is widespread.
Fact 18: Iona National Park is the largest national park in Angola.
- Because of its distinctive habitat and climate, Iona, and the Kaokoveld Desert, have a number of endemic animals, particularly reptiles. Of the 63 species recorded in the ecoregion, 8 are strictly endemic, including 2 lizards, 3 geckos, and 3 skinks.
Fact 19: Angola holds the record for having the highest death rate in the world.
- In fact, according to 2011 statistics, for every 1000 people, there were 23.4 deaths a year.
Fact 20: The earliest inhabitants of Angola were nomadic Khoi and San ethnic groups.
- These groups relied heavily on hunting and gathering for survival.