Angola - Country history and economic development

1575. Portuguese settlement established at Luanda.

17TH CENTURY. Portugal controls the slave trade from its base in Angola, though the Dutch, French, and British began to establish a presence on the African continent.

1836. The export of slaves is banned.

1850s. Angola's exports are dominated by ivory, wax, and rubber.

1912. Alluvial diamond mining becomes an important industry in northeast Angola.

1930. With the Colonial Act of 1930, Portugal modernizes Angola's economy and binds it to that of Portugal by a system of protective tariffs .

1956. The Popular Liberation Movement of Angola (MPLA) is founded. It is supported by the Soviet Union.

1957. The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) is founded. It is supported by the United States.

1961. A major revolt against Portuguese rule erupts in northern Angola, followed by a long guerrilla war.

1966. Political leader Jonas Savimbi breaks from the FNLA and sets up the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). UNITA, FNLA, and MPLA all fight a guerrilla war against Portuguese forces.

1975. Portugal releases its claim to Angola, and independence is declared. A government is established, consisting of the 3 nationalist groups and a Portuguese representative. However, this government collapses and civil war ensues. Over the next 25 years the MPLA acts as official government, and the coalition of UNITA/FNLA has been in rebellion. The MPLA is backed by the U.S.S.R. and Cuba, while UNITA and the FNLA are backed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. The civil war claims a total of 500,000 lives by 2000.

1981. An undeclared war with South Africa begins. Its origins lie in the refusal of South Africa to grant independence to Namibia and South Africa's struggle against the nationalist groups in Namibia fighting against South African rule.

1989. The United Nations monitors the withdrawal of Cuban troops.

1991. The government and UNITA conclude a peace agreement.

1992. The Forcas Armadas Populares de Libertacao de Angola (FAPLA) and UNITA forces are disbanded and a new national army established. Elections are held, and the MPLA wins a narrow majority. Refusing to accept the results of the elections, UNITA forces resume fighting.

1993. The UN sponsors peace talks amidst continued fighting.

1999. It is estimated that there are 1.5 million refugees inside Angola displaced by the civil war.

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