History

Official Name: República de Angola
The name Angola derives from Ngola (King) Kiluange, who was the king of the Ndongo Kingdom at the time of the Portuguese arrival in today's northwestern region of Angola.

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 ones 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 Portuguese colony of Angola was founded in 1575 with the arrival of Paulo Dias de Novais with a hundred families of colonists and four hundred soldiers. Luanda was granted the status of city in 1605.The Portuguese were present in some - mostly coastal - points of the territory of what is now Angola, from the 16th to the 19th century, interacting in diverse ways with the peoples that lived there. In the 19th century they slowly and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior. Angola as a Portuguese colony encompassing the present territory was not established before the end of the 19th century.  Independence was achieved in 11th November 1975, after the liberation war. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002.

Today Angola is rebuilding its country after the end of a 27-year civil war. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost - and 4 million people displaced - in the quarter century of fighting. Jonas Savimbi's death in 2002 ended the insurgence of National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and strengthened the power of Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). President DOS SANTOS held legislative elections in September 2008 and, despite promising to hold presidential elections in 2009, has since pushed through a new constitution that calls for elections in 2012.