In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Angola

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies, General Works, and Dictionaries
  • Journals
  • Disaster Assistance
  • Ecology and Tourism
  • Economy
  • Women and Gender Issues

African Studies Angola
W. Martin James
  • LAST REVIEWED: 09 August 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 May 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0016


Angola is a land of contrast. It has abundant natural resources—petroleum, diamonds, phosphates, timber, uranium, copper, gold, and fish. It also has numerous rivers for hydroelectric energy and fertile farmland. The people are resilient and keen to improve their socioeconomic status. Although, Angola has suffered through five hundred years of Portuguese colonialism and war, peace has reigned since 2002, yet problems remain. The farmland rife with landmines. In 2022, experts estimate that eleven hundred active land-mine fields remain, with somewhere between a half million to one million land mines buried. Many former combatants remain unemployed, with 159,000 awarded a pension of sixty-seven dollars per month, but budgetary constraints have limited disbursement. Many displaced Angolans still reside in neighboring nations or have been removed from their tribal home areas. Health problems are on the rise with polio and malaria, yet HIV/AIDS is contained. Democracy has yet to fully take root in Angola as the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) continues to dominate the political system. Angola could have a bright future, but first the nation must exorcise the ghosts of the past. On a more positive note, Angola’s artistic culture is reviving through poetry, novels, and theater. More and more Angolan writers, artists, and filmmakers are beginning to explore the rich variety of their nation’s long, varied history and the personalities who shaped it. The government is making a concerted effort to increase tourism.

Bibliographies, General Works, and Dictionaries

Several definitive works are available on Angola. See James 2018 for a more recent and Martin 1980 for a more dated source. The Central Intelligence Agency 2023 provides strictly data with little interpretation or analysis. Menses and McNamara 2018, Silva 2017, Maier 2007, and Weigert 2011 provide a broad overview of Angola, while Wheeler and Opello 2010 focuses on Portugal’s role in Angola.

  • Central Intelligence Agency. “Angola.” In The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2023.

    The CIA presents a very factual examination of the people, government, economy, geography, communication, and transnational issues facing Angola.

  • James, W. Martin. Historical Dictionary of Angola. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.

    James offers a useful reference work on Angola covering early history to postwar reconstruction. The book includes maps, bibliography, chronology, acronyms, and more than six hundred entries.

  • Maier, Karl. Angola: Promises and Lies. London: Serif, 2007.

    Maier presents an excellent account of the civil war, which was rooted in ethnicity, ideology, and Cold War tensions. The author ably guides us through the various leaders, factions, and nations that contributed to the long conflict.

  • Martin, Phyllis. Historical Dictionary of Angola. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1980.

    This is an earlier edition from the Historical Dictionary series with more of an emphasis on early Angolan history and colonialism.

  • Menses, Felipe Riberio de, and Robert McNamara. The White Redoubt, the Great Powers and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1960–1980. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018.

    DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-44758-6

    The authors vividly describe how Portugal, Rhodesia, and South Africa attempted to “save the white redoubt” (p. XXV) from African independence movements.

  • Silva, Daniel B. Domingues da. The Atlantic Slave Trade from West Central Africa, 1780–1867. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    DOI: 10.1017/9781316771501

    A thorough examination of the African slave trade in terms of organization, methods employed, demographic profiles, and distribution of financial remittent or commodities.

  • Weigert, Stephen. Angola: A Modern Military History, 1961–2002. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230337831

    This book presents the first complete military analysis of Angola’s modern history, the colonial war, the civil war, and the postwar era. In addition, the author, a US State Department official, examines the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) insurgency.

  • Wheeler, Douglas L., and Walter C. Opello Jr. Historical Dictionary of Portugal. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2010.

    Wheeler’s dictionary has many entries on Angola and Portugal’s role there.

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