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Since 1961, war has destroyed cultural institutions, forced people to flee, and divided the territory between the belligerent.
About a million residents have died because of the war.
Nonetheless the population has increased considerably. In 1973 there were 5.6 million residents; by 1992 that number had risen to 12.7 million.
The legacy of the colonial divide-and-rule tactics is still felt.
The war for liberation started in 1961 with rebellions in Luanda and the northern region.
Parades, uniforms, and flags are prominent during many political meetings. Present-day Angola is a construct designed by European politicians at the Conference of Berlin in 1885.
The national flag is red and black with a yellow machete, a star, and a cogwheel segment. Before that time, the area was inhabited by people with different political traditions, ranging from decentralized mobile groups to autocratic kingdoms.
A Portuguese colony founded on the coast in 1575 also came to be known as Angola.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the name was given to a much larger territory that was envisaged to come under Portuguese influence.
Angola has a young population, over 45 percent of which is below fifteen years of age. Over the years, the urban population has grown strongly and more than half the people now live in towns. Many Angolans are bilingual, speaking Portuguese and one or several African languages.
The capital, Luanda, has drawn in many immigrants—a quarter of all residents now live there. In nearly all cases this is a Bantu language; those speaking a Khoisan language number less than 6,000.
Before that date, fighting had broken out between the three major nationalist parties: the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), MPLA, and UNITA.