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Basic Info on Angola - History

Basic Info on Angola - History

Economy of Angola

The economy of Angola remains heavily influenced by the effects of four decades of conflict in the last part of the 20th Century, the war for independence from Portugal (1961–75) and the subsequent civil war (1975–2002). Despite extensive oil and gas resources, diamonds, hydroelectric potential, and rich agricultural land, Angola remains poor, and a third of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Since 2002, when the 27-year civil war ended, government policy prioritized the repair and improvement of infrastructure and strengthening of political and social institutions. During the first decade of the 21st Century, Angola was one of the fastest-growing in the world, [15] with reported annual average GDP growth of 11.1 percent from 2001 to 2010. [16] High international oil prices and rising oil production contributed to strong economic growth, although with high inequality, at that time. [17] [18] Corruption is rife throughout the economy [19] [20] and the country remains heavily dependent on the oil sector, which in 2017 accounted for over 90 percent of exports by value and 64 percent of government revenue. [21] With the end of the oil boom, from 2015 Angola entered into a period of economic contraction. [22] [23]

  • $92 billion (nominal, 2019 est.) [4]
  • $203 billion (PPP, 2019 est.) [4]
  • $3,038 (nominal, 2019 est.) [4]
  • $6,752 (PPP, 2019 est.) [4]
  • 0.574 medium (2018) [10] (149th)
  • 0.392 low IHDI (2018) [11]
  • 13,183,538 (2019) [12]
  • 40.0% employment rate (2014) [13]
  • China(-) 61.2%
  • India(+) 13%
  • United States(+) 4.2%
  • (2017) [6]
  • Portugal(+) 17.8%
  • China(-) 13.5%
  • United States(+) 7.4%
  • South Africa(+) 6.2%
  • Brazil(+) 6.1%
  • United Kingdom(+) 4%
  • (2017) [6]
  • $11.21 billion (December 31, 2017, est.) [6]
  • Abroad: $28 billion (December 31, 2017, est.) [6]


During the 16th century, the Portuguese bought, sold, traded, and transported African peoples. Brazil, with its vast territory, received almost 40% of these African people via the Atlantic slave trade. The early history of capoeira is recorded by historians such as Dr. Desch-Obi. Originally, the ancestor tradition originated from Kingdom of Kongo and was called N'golo/Engolo (known as Angola today) a type of ritual dance that used several elements of kicking, headbutting, slap boxing, walking on one's hands, deception, evasion etc. The purpose was also religious as it both provided a link to the afterlife (which was the opposite of the living world) and enabled a person to channel their ancestors into their dance. For example, during the dance, a person might become possessed by an ancestor in the past who was talented at N'golo. This could be applied to a martial setting in both combat and warfare which was called N'singa/ensinga the difference to N'golo being that it included weapon use and grappling. During the Atlantic slave trade, this tradition transferred around the Americas Brazil (capoeira), the Caribbean (Damnye) and the United States (knocking and kicking).

Origins Edit

In the 16th century, Portugal had claimed one of the largest territories of the colonial empires, but lacked people to colonize it, especially workers. In the Brazilian colony, the Portuguese, like many European colonists, chose to use slavery to build their economy.

In its first century, the main economic activity in the colony was the production and processing of sugar cane. Portuguese colonists created large sugarcane farms called "engenhos", literally "engines" (of economic activity), which depended on the labor of slaves. Slaves, living in inhumane conditions, were forced to work hard and often suffered physical punishment for small misbehaviors. [15]

Although slaves often outnumbered colonists, rebellions were rare because of the lack of weapons, harsh colonial law, disagreement between slaves coming from different African cultures, and lack of knowledge about the new land and its surroundings.

Capoeira originated within as a product of the Angolan tradition of "Engolo" but became applied as a method of survival that was known to slaves. It was a tool with which an escaped slave, completely unequipped, could survive in the hostile, unknown land and face the hunt of the capitães-do-mato, the armed and mounted colonial agents who were charged with finding and capturing escapees. [ citation needed ]

As Brazil became more urbanised in the 17th and 18th century, the nature of capoeira stayed largely the same. However, the nature of the slavery differed from that in the United States. Since many slaves worked in the cities and were most of the time outside the master's supervision, they would be tasked with finding work to do (in the form of any manual labour) and in return they would pay the master any money they made. It is here where capoeira was common as it created opportunities for slaves to practice during and after work. Though tolerated until the 1800s, this quickly became criminalised after due to its association with being African, as well as a threat to the current ruling regime. [16]

Quilombos Edit

Soon several groups of enslaved persons who liberated themselves gathered and established settlements, known as quilombos, in far and hard to reach places. Some quilombos would soon increase in size, attracting more fugitive slaves, Brazilian natives and even Europeans escaping the law or Christian extremism. Some quilombos would grow to an enormous size, becoming a real independent multi-ethnic state. [17]

Everyday life in a quilombo offered freedom and the opportunity to revive traditional cultures away from colonial oppression. [17] In this kind of multi-ethnic community, constantly threatened by Portuguese colonial troops, capoeira evolved from a survival tool to a martial art focused on war.

The biggest quilombo, the Quilombo dos Palmares, consisted of many villages which lasted more than a century, resisting at least 24 small attacks and 18 colonial invasions. Portuguese soldiers sometimes said that it took more than one dragoon to capture a quilombo warrior since they would defend themselves with a strangely moving fighting technique. The provincial governor declared "it is harder to defeat a quilombo than the Dutch invaders." [17]

Urbanization Edit

In 1808, the prince and future king Dom João VI, along with the Portuguese court, escaped to Brazil from the invasion of Portugal by Napoleon's troops. Formerly exploited only for its natural resources and commodity crops, the colony finally began to develop as a nation. [18] The Portuguese monopoly effectively came to an end when Brazilian ports opened for trade with friendly foreign nations. [19] Those cities grew in importance and Brazilians got permission to manufacture common products once required to be imported from Portugal, such as glass. [18]

Registries of capoeira practices existed since the 18th century in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife. Due to city growth, more slaves were brought to cities and the increase in social life in the cities made capoeira more prominent and allowed it to be taught and practiced among more people. Because capoeira was often used against the colonial guard, in Rio the colonial government tried to suppress it and established severe physical punishments to its practice such as hunting down practitioners and killing them openly. [20]

Ample data from police records from the 1800s shows that many slaves and free colored people were detained for practicing capoeira:

"From 288 slaves that entered the Calabouço jail during the years 1857 and 1858, 80 (31%) were arrested for capoeira, and only 28 (10.7%) for running away. Out of 4,303 arrests in Rio police jail in 1862, 404 detainees—nearly 10%—had been arrested for capoeira." [21]

End of slavery and prohibition of capoeira Edit

By the end of the 19th century, slavery was on the verge of departing the Brazilian Empire. Reasons included growing quilombo militia raids in plantations that still used slaves, the refusal of the Brazilian army to deal with escapees and the growth of Brazilian abolitionist movements. The Empire tried to soften the problems with laws to restrict slavery, but finally Brazil would recognize the end of the institution on 13 May 1888, with a law called Lei Áurea (Golden Law), sanctioned by imperial parliament and signed by Princess Isabel.

However, free former slaves now felt abandoned. Most of them had nowhere to live, no jobs and were despised by Brazilian society, which usually viewed them as lazy workers. [22] [23] Also, new immigration from Europe and Asia left most former slaves with no employment. [23] [24]

Soon capoeiristas started to use their skills in unconventional ways. Criminals and war lords used capoeiristas as body guards and asassins. Groups of capoeiristas, known as maltas, raided Rio de Janeiro. The two main maltas were the Nagoas, composed of Africans, and the Guaiamuns, composed of native blacks, people of mixed race, poor whites, and Portuguese immigrants. The Nagoas and Guaiamuns were used respectively, as a hitforce by the Conservative and Liberal party. [25] In 1890, the recently proclaimed Brazilian Republic decreed the prohibition of capoeira in the whole country. [26] Social conditions were chaotic in the Brazilian capital, and police reports identified capoeira as an advantage in fighting. [24]

After the prohibition, any citizen caught practicing capoeira, in a fight or for any other reason, would be arrested, tortured and often mutilated by the police. [27] Cultural practices, such as the roda de capoeira, were conducted in remote places with sentries to warn of approaching police.

Luta Regional Baiana Edit

By the 1920s, capoeira repression had declined, and some physical educators and martial artists started to incorporate capoeira as either a fighting style or a gymnastic method. Professor Mario Aleixo was the first in showing a capoeira "revised, made bigger and better", which he mixed with judo, wrestling and other arts to create what he called "Defesa Pessoal" ("Personal Defense"). [1] In 1928, Anibal "Zuma" Burlamaqui published the first capoeira manual, Ginástica nacional, Capoeragem metodizada e regrada, where he also introduced boxing-like rules for capoeira competition. Inezil Penha Marinho published a similar book. [1] Mestre Sinhozinho from Rio de Janeiro went further, creating a training method that divested capoeira from all its music and traditions in the process of making it a complete martial art. While those efforts helped to keep capoeira alive, [28] they also had the consequence that the pure, non-adulterated form of capoeira became increasingly rare. [1]

At the same time, Mestre Bimba from Salvador, a traditional capoeirista with both legal and illegal fights in his records, met with his future student Cisnando Lima, a martial arts aficionado who had trained judo under Takeo Yano. Both thought traditional capoeira was losing its martial roots due to the use of its playful side to entertain tourists, so Bimba began developing the first systematic training method for capoeira, and in 1932 founded the first official capoeira school. [29] Advised by Cisnando, Bimba called his style Luta Regional Baiana ("regional fight from Bahia"), because capoeira was still illegal in name. [30] At the time, capoeira was also known as "capoeiragem", with a practitioner being known as a "capoeira", as reported in local newspapers. Gradually, the art dropped the term to be known as "capoeira" with a practitioner being called a "capoeirista". [31]

In 1937, Bimba founded the school Centro de Cultura Física e Luta Regional, with permission from Salvador's Secretary of Education (Secretaria da Educação, Saúde e Assistência de Salvador). His work was very well received, and he taught capoeira to the cultural elite of the city. [30] By 1940, capoeira finally lost its criminal connotation and was legalized.

Bimba's Regional style overshadowed traditional capoeiristas, who were still distrusted by society. This began to change in 1941 with the founding of Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola (CECA) by Mestre Pastinha. Located in the Salvador neighborhood of Pelourinho, this school attracted many traditional capoeiristas. With CECA's prominence, the traditional style came to be called Capoeira Angola. The name derived from brincar de angola ("playing Angola"), a term used in the 19th century in some places. But it was also adopted by other masters, including some who did not follow Pastinha's style. [32]

Though there was some degree of tolerance, capoeira from the beginning of the 20th century began to become a more sanitised form of dance with less martial application. This was due to regions mentioned above but also due to the military coup in the 1930s to 1945, as well as the Military regime from 1964 to 1985. In both cases, capoeira was still seen by authorities as a dangerous pastime which was punishable however during the Military Regime it was tolerated as an activity for University students (which by this time is the form of capoeira that is recognised today). [ citation needed ]

Today Edit

Capoeira is an active exporter of Brazilian culture all over the world. In the 1970s, capoeira mestres began to emigrate and teach it in other countries. Present in many countries on every continent, every year capoeira attracts thousands of foreign students and tourists to Brazil. Foreign capoeiristas work hard to learn Portuguese to better understand and become part of the art. Renowned capoeira mestres often teach abroad and establish their own schools. Capoeira presentations, normally theatrical, acrobatic and with little martiality, are common sights around the world. [14]

In 2014 the Capoeira Circle was added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the convention recognised that the "capoeira circle is a place where knowledge and skills are learned by observation and imitation" and that it "promotes social integration and the memory of resistance to historical oppression". [14] [33]


Before 1835, state inmates were held in a jail in New Orleans. The first Louisiana State Penitentiary, located at the intersection of 6th and Laurel streets in Baton Rouge, was modeled on a prison in Wethersfield, Connecticut. It was built to house 100 convicts in cells of 6 ft (1.8 m) by 3.5 ft (1.1 m). [13] In 1844 the state leased operation of the prison and its prisoners to McHatton Pratt and Company, a private company. [ citation needed ]

During the American Civil War, Union soldiers occupied the prison in Baton Rouge. In 1869 during the Reconstruction era, Samuel Lawrence James, a former Confederate major, received the military lease to the future prison property along the Mississippi River. He tried to produce cotton with free labor of African Americans. [14]

The land that has been developed as Angola Penitentiary was purchased in the 1830s from Francis Rout as four contiguous plantations by Isaac Franklin. He was a planter and slave trader, co-owner of the profitable slave trading firm Franklin and Armfield, of Alexandria, Virginia and Natchez, Mississippi. After his death in 1846, Franklin's widow, by then known as Adelicia Cheatham, joined these plantations: Panola, Belle View, Killarney, and Angola, when she sold them all in 1880 to Samuel Lawrence James, the former CSA officer. The Angola plantation was named for the country in Africa from which many of its slaves had come. [15] It contained a building called the Old Slave Quarters. [16]

Under the convict lease system, Major James ran his vast plantation using convicts leased from the state as his workers. He was responsible for their room and board, and had virtually total authority over them. With the incentive to earn money from prisoners, the state passed laws directed at African Americans, requiring payment of minor fees and fines as punishment for infractions. Cash-poor men in the agricultural economy were forced into jail and convict labor. Such convicts were frequently abused, underfed, and subject to unregulated violence. The state exercised little oversight of conditions. Prisoners were often worked to death under harsh conditions. [17] [18] [ full citation needed ] James died in 1894.

20th century operations Edit

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections says that this facility opened as a state prison in 1901. [19] The state began transferring prison facilities out of the old penitentiary into Angola. The old penitentiary continued to be used as a receiving station, hospital, clothing and shoe factory, and place for executions until it finally closed in 1917. [20] The history and archaeology of the old penitentiary provide insights into the structures and daily life of inmates at the time. [20]

Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell, authors of The Life and Legend of Leadbelly, said that Angola was "probably as close to slavery as any person could come in 1930." Hardened criminals broke down upon being notified that they were being sent to Angola. White-black racial tensions in the society were expressed at the prison, adding to the violence: each year one in every ten inmates received stab wounds. Wolfe and Lornell said that the staff, consisting of 90 people, "ran the prison like it was a private fiefdom." [21]

The two authors said that prisoners were viewed as " 'niggers' of the lowest order." [22] The state did not appropriate many funds for the operation of Angola, and saved money by trying to decrease costs. Much of the remaining money ended up in the operations of other state projects Wolfe and Lornell said that the re-appropriation of funds occurred "mysteriously." [21]

In 1935, remains of a Native American individual were taken from Angola and were donated to the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science. [23]

In 1948, Governor Earl Kemp Long appointed Rollo C. Lawrence, a former mayor of Pineville, as the first Angola superintendent. Long subsequently established the position of warden as one of political patronage. Long appointed distant relatives as wardens of the prison. [24]

In the institution's history, the electric chair, Gruesome Gertie, was stored at Angola. Because West Feliciana Parish did not want to be associated with state executions, for some time the state transported the chair to the parish of conviction of a condemned prisoner before executing him or her. [25]

A former Angola prisoner, William Sadler (also called "Wooden Ear" because of hearing loss he suffered after a prison attack), wrote a series of articles about Angola in the 1940s. Hell on Angola helped bring about prison reform. [26]

In 1952, 31 inmates, in protest of the prison's conditions, cut their Achilles tendons (they were referred to as the Heel String Gang.) This caused national news agencies to write exposé stories about conditions at Angola. [27] In its November 22, 1952 issue, Collier's Magazine referred to Angola as "the worst prison in America." [27] [28] In addition, Margaret Dixon, managing editor of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate for two decades, worked for prison reform, specifically, construction of other facilities to reduce the population at Angola. The new Margaret Dixon Correctional Institution opened in 1976 and was named for her.

On December 5, 1956, five men escaped by digging out of the prison grounds and swimming across the Mississippi River. They were Robert Wallace, 25 Wallace McDonald, 23 Vernon Roy Ingram, 21 Glenn Holiday, 20 and Frank Verbon Gann, 30. The Hope Star newspaper of Arkansas reported that one body (believed to be Wallace) was recovered from the river. [29]

McDonald was captured later in Texas, after returning to the United States from Mexico. McDonald said that two of his fellow escapees drowned, but this was disputed by warden Maurice Sigler. Sigler said that he believed no more than one inmate drowned. His men had found three clear sets of tracks climbing up the river bank.

Gann's family wrote to Sigler on multiple occasions, requesting that he declare the escaped prisoner dead to free up benefits for his children. Although the family never heard again from Gann, Sigler refused to declare him dead, saying that he was likely in Mexico. Gann had been imprisoned in Angola after escaping from the Opelousas Parish Jail on April 29, 1956, where he was serving a relatively minor charge for car theft.

In 1961, female inmates were moved from Angola to the newly opened Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women. [30]

In 1971 the American Bar Association criticized the state of Angola. Linda Ashton of the Associated Press said that the bar association described Angola's conditions as "medieval, squalid and horrifying." [31] In 1972, Elayne Hunt, a reforming director of corrections, was appointed by Governor Edwin Edwards. The U.S. courts in Gates v. Collier ordered Louisiana to clean up Angola once and for all, ordering the end of the Trustee-Officer and Trusty systems. [32]

Efforts to reform and improve conditions at Angola have continued. In 1975 U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola of Baton Rouge, Louisiana declared conditions at Angola to be in a state of emergency. The state installed Ross Maggio as the warden. Prisoners nicknamed Maggio "the gangster" because he strictly adhered to rules. Ashton said that by most accounts, Maggio improved conditions. [31] Maggio retired in 1984. [31]

In the 1980s Kirksey Nix perpetrated the "Angola Lonely Hearts" scam from within the prison. [33]

On June 21, 1989, US District Judge Polozola declared a new state of emergency at Angola. [34]

In 1993 Angola officers fatally shot 29-year-old escapee Tyrone Brown. [35]

In 1999 six inmates who were serving life sentences for murder took three officers hostage in Camp D. The hostage takers bludgeoned and fatally stabbed 49-year-old Captain David Knapps. Armed officers ended the rebellion by shooting the inmates, killing 26-year-old Joel Durham, and seriously wounding another. [36]

21st century Edit

In 2004 Paul Harris of The Guardian said "Unsurprisingly, Angola has always been famed for brutality, riots, escape and murder." [37]

On August 31, 2008, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin stated in a press conference that anyone arrested for looting during the evacuation of the city due to Hurricane Gustav would not be housed in the city/parish jail, but instead sent directly to Angola to await trial. [38]

As evidence that the prison had retained its notoriety, Nagin warned:

Anybody who is caught looting in the city of New Orleans will go directly to Angola. Directly to Angola. You will not have a temporary stay in the city. You go directly to the big house, in general population. All right? So, I want to make sure that every looter, potential looter, understands that. You will go directly to Angola Prison. And God bless you when you go there. [39]

In 2009, the prison reduced its budget by $12 million by "double bunking" (installing bunk beds to increase the capacity of dormitories), reducing overtime, and replacing officers with security cameras. [40]

In 2012, 1,000 prisoners were transferred to Angola from C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center, which had closed. The state government did not increase the prison's budget, nor did it hire additional employees. [41]

On March 11, 2014 Glenn Ford, a convicted murderer and Louisiana's longest-serving death row prisoner, walked free after a court overturned his conviction a day earlier when petitioned by prosecutors. Ford had spent nearly three decades at the prison, with 26 years in solitary confinement on death row. [42] The state's policy was to house death row prisoners in solitary confinement, but lengthy appeals have created new harsh conditions of extended solitary. Convicts and their defense counsels have challenged such lengthy stays in solitary confinement, which has been shown to be deleterious to both mental and physical health, and has been considered to be "cruel and unusual punishment" under the US Constitution. [43]

In March 2019, seven members of staff at the facility were arrested for rape, smuggling items to inmates and maintaining personal relationships with prisoners. [44]

In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic in Louisiana affected Angola, with ProPublica stating that deliberate low testing rates masked an epidemic in the prison. [45]

Angola was designed to be as self-sufficient as possible it functioned as a miniature community with a canning factory, a dairy, a mail system, a small ranch, repair shops, and a sugar mill. Prisoners raised food staples and cash crops. The self-sufficiency was enacted so taxpayers would spend less money and so politicians such as Governor of Louisiana Huey P. Long would have an improved public image. In the 1930s prisoners worked from dawn until dusk. [22]

As of 2009 there are three levels of solitary confinement. "Extended lockdown" is colloquially known as "Closed Cell Restricted" or "CCR." Until a period before 2009, death row inmates had more privileges than "extended lockdown" inmates, including the privilege of watching television. [46]

"Extended lockdown" was originally intended as a temporary punishment. The next most restrictive level was, in 2009, "Camp J," referring to an inmate housing unit that houses solitary confinement. The most restrictive level is "administrative segregation," colloquially referred to by inmates as the "dungeon" or the "hole." [46]

Louisiana State Penitentiary is in unincorporated West Feliciana Parish, in east central Louisiana. [47] It is located at the base of the Tunica Hills, in a region described by Jenny Lee Rice of Paste as "breathtakingly beautiful." [48]

The prison is about 22 miles (35 km) northwest of St. Francisville, [49] about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Baton Rouge, [21] and 135 miles (217 km) northwest of New Orleans. [50] Angola is about an hour's drive from Baton Rouge, [51] and it is about a two-hour driving distance from New Orleans. [52] The Mississippi River borders the facility on three sides. [22] The prison is in proximity to the Louisiana-Mississippi border. [47] Angola is located about 34 miles (55 km) from the Dixon Correctional Institute. [53]

Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell, authors of The Life and Legend of Leadbelly, said that in the 1990s the prison remained "far away from public awareness." [22] The prison officials sometimes provide meals for official guests because of what the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections refers to as the "extreme remote location" of Angola the nearest non-prison dining facility is, as of 1999, 30 miles (48 km) away. [54] The prison property is adjacent to the Angola Tract of the Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area. Due to security reasons regarding Angola, the Tunica Hills WMA's Angola Tract is closed to the general public from March 1 through August 31 every year. [55]

The main entrance is at the terminus of Louisiana Highway 66, a road described by Wolfe and Lornell as "a winding, often muddy state road." [21] From St. Francisville one would travel about 2 miles (3.2 km) north along U.S. Highway 61, turn left at Louisiana 66, and travel on that road for 20 miles (32 km) until it dead ends at Angola's front gate. [56] The Angola Ferry provides a ferry service between Angola and a point in unincorporated Pointe Coupee Parish. The ferry is open only to employees except during special events, when members of the general public may use it. [57]

The 18,000-acre (7,300 ha) prison property occupies a 28-square-mile (73 km 2 ) area. [58] The size of the prison property is larger than the size of Manhattan. [59] Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell, authors of The Life and Legend of Leadbelly, said that Angola of the 1990s looks "more like a large working plantation than one of the most notorious prisons in the United States." Officers patrol the complex on horseback, as many of the prison acres are devoted to cultivation of crops. By 1999 the prison's primary roads had been paved. [21]

The prison property is surrounded by the Tunica Hills and by the Mississippi River. The perimeter of the property is not fenced, while the individual prisoner dormitory and recreational camps are fenced. [48] Most of the prison buildings are yellow with a red trim. [51]

Inmate-quarters Edit

The state of Louisiana considers Angola to be a multi-security institution. 29% of the prison's beds are designated for maximum security inmates. [60] The inmates live in several housing units scattered across the Angola grounds. By the 1990s air conditioning and heating units had been installed in the inmate housing units. [21]

Most inmates live in dormitories instead of cell blocks. The prison administration states that this is because having "inmates of all ages and with long sentences [to] live this way encourages cooperation and healthy peer relationships." [19]

Main Prison Complex Edit

The Main Prison Complex consists of the East Yard and the West Yard. The East Yard has 16 minimum and medium custody prisoner dormitories and one maximum custody extended lockdown cellblock the cellblock houses long-term extended-lockdown prisoners, in-transit administrative segregation prisoners, inmates who need mental health attention, and protective-custody inmates. [61]

The West Yard has 16 minimum and medium custody prisoner dormitories, two administrative segregation cellblocks, and the prison treatment center. The treatment center houses geriatric, hospice, and ill in-transit prisoners. [61] As of 1999 the main prison complex houses half of Angola's prisoners. [62]

Dormitories within the main prison include the Ash, Cypress, Hickory, Magnolia, Oak, Pine, Spruce, and Walnut dormitories. The cell blocks are A, B, C, and D. The main prison also houses the local Main Prison administration building, a gymnasium, a kitchen/dining facility, the Angola Vocational School, and the Judge Henry A. Politz Educational building. [63]

Outcamps Edit

Angola also has several outcamps. Camp C includes eight minimum and medium custody dormitories, one cellblock with administrative segregation and working cellblock prisoners, and one extended lockdown cellblock. [61] Camp C includes the Bear and Wolf dormitories and Jaguar and Tiger cellblocks. [63] Camp D has the same features as Camp C, except that it has one working cellblock instead of an extended lockdown cellblock, and its other cellblock does not have working prisoners. [61] Camp D houses the Eagle and Falcon dormitories and the Hawk and Raven cellblocks. [63]

Camp F has four minimum custody dormitories and the "Dog Pen," which houses 11 minimum custody inmates. [61] All of the prisoners housed in Camp F are trustees who mop floors, deliver food to fellow prisoners, and perform other support tasks. [64] Camp F also houses Angola's execution chamber. [65] Camp F has a lake where trustees fish. [64] A prisoner quoted in Self-governance, Normalcy and Control: Inmate-produced Media at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola described Camp F as being "off from the rest of the prison". [66]

The Close Cell Restricted (CCR) unit, an isolation unit located near the Angola main entrance, has 101 isolation cells and 40 trustee beds. Jimmy LeBlanc, the corrections secretary, said in October 2010 that the State of Louisiana could save about $1.8 million during the remaining nine months of the 2010–2011 fiscal year if it closed CCR and moved prisoners to unused death row cells and possibly some Camp D double bunks. LeBlanc said that the prisoners in isolation would remain isolated. [67]

Camp J was in operation until its 2018 closure. [68] It has four extended lockdown cellblocks, which contain prisoners with disciplinary problems, and one dormitory with minimum and medium custody inmates who provide housekeeping functions for Camp J. [61] Camp J houses the Alligator, Barracuda, Gar, and Shark cellblocks. [63]

Reception center and death row Edit

The Reception Center, the closest prison housing building to the main entrance, acts as a reception center for arriving prisoners. It is located to the right of the main highway, inside the main gate. [51] In addition it contains the death row for male inmates in Louisiana, with 101 extended lockdown cells housing condemned inmates. [61] The death row facility has a central room and multiple tiers. The entrance to each tier includes a locked door and color photographs of the prisoners located in each tier. [69]

Death row includes eight tiers, lettered A to G. Seven tiers have 15 cells each, while one tier has 11 cells. Each hallway has a cell that is used for showering. [70] The death row houses exercise areas with basketball posts. [71] The death row facility was constructed in 2006 and there is no air conditioning or cross ventilation. [72] In addition, the Reception Center has one minimum custody dormitory with inmates who provide housekeeping for the facility. [61]

In June 2013 three prisoners filed a federal lawsuit against the prison in the court in Baton Rouge, alleging that the death row facility does not have adequate measures to prevent overheating. [73] The prisoners said that due to pre-existing medical conditions, the heat may cause health problems. Brian A. Jackson, the district federal judge, ordered collection of temperature data at the Angola death row for three weeks to determine the conditions. During that time, Angola officials blasted outer walls of the prison with water cannons and installed window awnings to attempt to lower temperature data. In response, Jackson said that he was "troubled" by the possibility of manipulating the temperature data. [72]

On Monday August 5, 2013, the federal trial regarding the condition of the death row in high heat started. [72] The following day, Warden Burl Cain apologized for violating the court order regarding data collection. [74] On Wednesday August 7, 2013 closing arguments in the trial ended. [75] In December 2013 U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson ruled that the heat index of the prison was cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore, a cooling system must be installed. By 2014 a court-ordered plan to install a cooling system was underway. [76]

As of May 2019, the issue was close to being resolved after a 6-year long court battle. A settlement has been reached between the death row inmates and the prison. The settlement agreement calls for daily showers for the three Angola inmates of at least 15 minutes individual ice containers that are timely replenished by prison staff individual fans water faucets in their cells "IcyBreeze" units or so-called "Cajun coolers" and the diversion of cool air from the death-row guard pod into their cells. Even though these measures have already been put in place, the court ruling could take until November 2019 to be made final by judge Brian Jackson. [ citation needed ]

B-Line Edit

The facility includes a group of houses, called the "B-Line," [77] which function as residences for prison staff members and their families inmates perform services for the staff members and their households. The employee housing includes recreational centers, pools, and parks. [78] The Angola B-Line Chapel was dedicated on Friday, July 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm. [79]

Residents on the prison grounds are zoned to West Feliciana Parish Public Schools. Primary schools serving the Angola grounds include Bains Lower Elementary School and Bains Elementary School in Bains. [80] Secondary schools serving the Angola grounds are West Feliciana Middle School and West Feliciana High School in Bains. [81] The West Feliciana Parish Library is located in St. Francisville. [82] The library, previously a part of the Audubon Regional Library System, became independent in January 2004. [83] West Feliciana Parish is in the service area of Baton Rouge Community College. [84]

Previously elementary school children attended Tunica Elementary School in Tunica, [85] located in proximity to Angola. [86] The school building, 4 miles (6.4 km) from Angola, [87] is several miles from Angola's main entrance, and many of its students lived on the Angola grounds. [85] On May 18, 2011, due to budget cuts, the parish school board voted to close Tunica Elementary. [80]

Fire station Edit

The fire station houses the Angola Emergency Medical Services Department staff, who provide fire and emergency services to the prison. [61] The Angola Fire Department is registered as department number 63001 with the Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office. The department's equipment includes one engine, one tanker, and one rescue truck. Within Angola the department protects 500 buildings, including employee and prisoner housing quarters. The department has mutual aid agreements with West Feliciana Parish and with Wilkinson County, Mississippi. [88]

Religious sites Edit

The main entrance to Angola has an etched monument that refers to Epistle to the Philippians 3:15. [89]

Reflecting the historic dominance of the Catholic church in south Louisiana, St. Augustine Church was built in the early 1950s and is staffed by the Roman Catholic Church. The New Life Interfaith Chapel was dedicated in 1982. [61]

In the 2000s the main prison church, the churches for Camps C and D, and a grounds chapel were constructed as part of an effort to build chapels for every state-run prison facility. A staff and family of staff chapel was also under construction. Outside donations and ticket sales from the prison rodeo funded these churches. [77] The Camp C Chapel and the B-Line Chapel were both dedicated the same day. [79]

The most recent structure is Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, a 6,000-square-foot (560 m 2 ) structure built with over $450,000 worth of materials donated by Latin American businessmen Jorge Valdez and Fernando Garcia. Its design resembles The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. Built in 38 days by 50 prisoners, it opened in December 2013. The interfaith church "includes seating for more than 200 and features paintings, furniture and stained-glass windows crafted by inmates." [90]

Recreational facilities Edit

Prison staff members have access to recreational facilities on the Angola property. Angola has ball fields, the Prison View Golf Course, a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a walking track. [91] Lake Killarney, an oxbow lake of the Mississippi River located on the prison grounds, has large crappie fish. The prison administration controls access to Lake Killarney, and few people fish there. The crappie fish grow very large. [8]

Butler Park is a recreational facility on the edge of the Angola property. It houses gazebos, picnic tables, and barbecue pits. As of 1986, a prisoner who has no major disciplinary issues for at least a year may use the property. [92]

Prison View Golf Course Edit

Prison View Golf Course, a 6,000-yard (5,500 m), 9-hole, 36-par golf course, is located on the grounds of Angola. [56] Prison View, the only golf course on the property of an American prison, [93] is between the Tunica Hills and Camp J, at the intersection of B-Line Road and Camp J Road. [94] All individuals wishing to play are required to provide personal information 48 hours before their arrival, so the prison authorities can conduct background checks. Convicted felons and individuals on visitation lists are not permitted to play on the golf course. [56] Current prisoners at Angola are not permitted to play on the golf course. [93]

The golf course, constructed on the site of a former bull pasture, opened in June 2004. Prisoners performed most of the work to construct the course. Prisoners that the administration considers to be the most trustworthy are permitted to work at the golf course. Warden Burl Cain stated that he built the course so that employees would be encouraged to stay at Angola over weekends. He wanted them available to provide support in case of an emergency. [95]

Guest house Edit

The "Ranch House" is a facility for prison guests. [53] James Ridgeway of Mother Jones described it as "a sort of clubhouse where the wardens and other officials get together in a convivial atmosphere for chow prepared by inmate cooks." [96] Originally constructed to serve as a conference center to supplement the meeting room in the Angola administration building, the "Ranch House" received its name after Burl Cain was selected as Warden. Cain had the building renovated to accommodate overnight guests. The renovations, which included the conversion of one room into a bedroom and the addition of a shower and fireplace, cost approximately $7,346. [53] Traditionally, prisoners who worked successfully as cooks in the Ranch House were later assigned to work as cooks at the Louisiana Governor's Mansion.

Cemeteries Edit

Point Lookout Cemetery is the prison cemetery, located on the north side of the Angola property, at the base of the Tunica Hills. [61] Deceased prisoners from all state prisons had been buried here who were not claimed and transported elsewhere by family members. [97] A white rail fence surrounds the cemetery. The current Point Lookout was created after a 1927 flood destroyed the previous cemetery, which was located between the current Camps C and D. In September 2001 a memorial was installed here that is dedicated to "Unknown Prisoners." The Point Lookout plot established after 1927 has 331 grave markers and an unknown number of bodies it is considered full. [61]

Point Lookout II, a cemetery annex 100 yards (91 m) to the east of the original Point Lookout, opened in the mid-1990s it has a capacity of 700 grave sites. As of 2010, 90 prisoners were buried at Point Lookout II.

Angola Museum Edit

The Angola Museum, operated by the nonprofit Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum Foundation, is the on-site prison museum. Visitors are charged no admission, but may make a donation if they wish. [98] The museum is located outside the prison's main gate, [91] in a former bank building. [99]

Angola Airstrip Edit

The prison includes the Angola Airstrip (FAA LID: LA67). [100] The airstrip is used by state-owned aircraft to transport prisoners to and from Angola and for transporting officials on state business to and from Angola. The airport is used during daylight and visual flight rules times. [101]

Other prison facilities and features Edit

The facility's main entrance has a metal-roofed guard house for review of traffic to and from the prison. Michael L. Varnado and Daniel P. Smith of Victims of Dead Man Walking said that the guard house "looks like a large carport over the road. [51] " The guard house has long barriers, with Stop signs, to prevent automobiles entering and leaving the compound without the permission of the officers. To allow a vehicle access or egress, the officers manually raise the barriers. [51]

The Front Gate Visiting Processing Center, with a rated capacity of 272 persons, is the processing and security screening point for prison visitors. [61] The United States Postal Service operates the Angola Post Office on the prison grounds. [102] It was established on October 2, 1887. [103]

The David C. Knapps Correctional Officer Training Academy, [14] the state training center for correctional officers, is located at the northwest corner of Angola, [21] in front of Camp F. [63] Near the training center, Angola prisoners maintain the only nature preserve located on the grounds of a penal institution. [21] The R. E. Barrow, Jr., Treatment Center is located on the Angola premises. [14]

The C.C. Dixon K-9 Training Center is the dog-training area. [104] It was named in 2002 to commemorate Connie Conrad Dixon, a dog trainer and K-9 officer, who died in 1997 aged 89. [105]

The Louisiana State Penitentiary Wastewater Treatment Plant serves the prison complex. [106] The prison also houses an all-purpose arena. [107]

History of infrastructure at the prison Edit

Camp A, the former slave quarters for the plantation, was the first building to house inmates. In the early 21st century, Camp A did not house prisoners. [14]

Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell, authors of The Life and Legend of Leadbelly (1992), said that during the 1930s, Angola was "even further removed from decent civilization" than it was in the 1990s. The two added "that's the way the state of Louisiana wanted it, for Angola held some of the meanest inmates." [22] [ page needed ]

In 1930 about 130 women, most of them black, were imprisoned in Camp D. In 1930 Camp A, which held around 700 black inmates, was close to the center of the Angola institution. Inmates worked on levee control, as the springtime high water posed a threat to Angola. The Mississippi River was nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) wide in this area. Many inmates who tried to swim across drowned few of their bodies were recovered. [22] [ page needed ]

The prison hospital opened in the 1940s. The campus had only one permanent nurse and no permanent doctor. [24]

In the 1980s the main road to Angola had not been paved. [108] It has since been black topped. [ citation needed ]

The outcamp buildings, constructed in 1939 as a WPA project during the Great Depression, were renovated in the 1970s. During May 1993 the buildings' fire safety violations were reported. In June of that year, Richard Stalder, the Secretary of Corrections, said that Angola would close the buildings if LDP S&C did not find millions of dollars to improve the buildings. [109]

Red Hat Cell Block Edit

The most restrictive inmate housing unit was colloquially referred to as "Red Hat Cell Block," [110] after the red paint-coated straw hats that its occupants wore when they worked in the fields. [46] "Red Hat," a one-story, 30-cell building at Camp E, was built in 1933. [111] Brooke Shelby Biggs of Mother Jones reported that men who had lived in "Red Hat" "told of a dungeon crawling with rats, where dinner was served in stinking buckets splashed onto the floors." [46]

Warden C. Murray Henderson phased out solitary confinement at "Red Hat." [112] In 1972 his successor Elayn Hunt had "Red Hat" officially closed. [112]

In 1977 the administration made Camp J the most restrictive housing unit in Angola. [46] On February 20, 2003, the National Park Service listed the Red Hat Cell Block on the National Register of Historic Places as #03000041. [110]

Louisiana State Penitentiary is the largest correctional facility in the United States by population. [113] In 2010 the prison had 5,100 inmates and 1,700 employees. [114] In 2010, the racial composition of the inmates was 76% black, 24% white. 71% of inmates were serving a life sentence. 1.6% had been sentenced to death. [115] As of 2016 many inmates come from the state of Mississippi. [116]

As of 2011 the prison has about 1,600 employees, making it one of the largest employers in the State of Louisiana. [117] Over 600 "free people" live on prison property. These residents are Angola's emergency response personnel and their dependents. [91] In 1986 around 200 families of employees lived within Angola property. Hilton Butler, then Angola's Warden, estimated that 250 children lived on the Angola property. [118]

Many prison employees are from families that have lived and worked at Angola for generations. Laura Sullivan of National Public Radio said "In a place so remote, it's hard to know what's nepotism. There's simply no one else to hire." [78]

As of 2011 the annual budget of the Louisiana State Penitentiary was more than $120 million. [117] Angola is still operated as a working farm former Warden Burl Cain once said that the key to running a peaceful maximum security prison was that "you've got to keep the inmates working all day so they're tired at night." [119] In 2009 James Ridgeway of Mother Jones said Angola was "An 18,000-acre complex that still resembles the slave plantation it once was." [120]

Angola has the largest number of inmates on life sentences in the United States. As of 2009 Angola had 3,712 inmates on life sentences, making up 74% of the population that year. Some 32 inmates die each year only four generally gain parole each year. [121] Louisiana's tough sentencing laws result in long sentences for the inmate population, who have been convicted of armed robbery, murder, and rape. In 1998 Peter Applebome of The New York Times wrote, "It's impossible to visit the place and not feel that a prisoner could disappear off the face of the earth and no one would ever know or care." [59]

Most new prisoners begin working in the cotton fields. A prisoner may spend years working there before gaining a better job. [28]

In Angola parlance a "freeman" is a correctional officer. [122] Around 2000, the officers were among the lowest-paid in the United States. Like the prisoners they supervised, few had graduated from high school. [28] As of 2009, about half of the officers were female. [123]

The administration uses prisoners to provide cleaning and general maintenance services for the West Feliciana Parish School Board and other government agencies and nonprofit groups within West Feliciana Parish. [124]

Warden Burl Cain maintained an open-door policy with the media. He allowed the filming of the documentary The Farm: Angola, USA (1998) at the prison, which focused on the lives of six men. It won numerous awards. [16] Films such as Dead Man Walking, [125] Monster's Ball, [126] and I Love You Phillip Morris were partly filmed in Angola. Cain did not allow a proposed sex scene between two male inmates in I Love You Phillip Morris to be filmed at the prison. [127]

The prison hosts a rodeo every April and October. Inmates produce the newsmagazine The Angolite, which has won numerous awards. It is available to the general public and is relatively uncensored. [128]

The museum features among its exhibits Louisiana's old electric chair, "Gruesome Gertie", last used for the execution of Andrew Lee Jones on July 22, 1991. [ citation needed ] Angola Prison hosts the country's only inmate-operated radio station, KLSP. [129]

Farming Edit

Inmates cultivate, harvest and process an array of crops that make the facility self-supporting. Crops include cabbage, corn, cotton, strawberries, okra, onions, peppers, soybeans, squash, tomatoes, and wheat. In 2013, the prison resumed growing sugarcane, a practice which it had stopped in the 1970s. [130]

As of 2010 the prison has 2,000 head of cattle. Much of the herd is sold at markets for beef. Each year, the prison produces four million pounds of vegetable crops. [99]

Inmates also breed and train the horses used at Angola for field work. Trustees are mounted to supervise workers in the fields. In 2010, the Angola Prison Horse Sale was initiated at the time of the annual rodeos.

Inmate education Edit

Angola offers literacy classes for prisoners with no high school diploma and no General Equivalency Diploma (GED), from Monday through Friday in the main prison, and in camps C-D and F. Angola also offers GED classes in the main prison and in camps C-D and F. The prison also offers ABE (Adult Basic Education) classes for prisoners who have high school diplomas or GEDs, but who have inadequate Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) scores to get into vocational school. SSD (Special School District #1) provides services for special education students. [131]

Prisoners with satisfactory TABE scores may be admitted to vocational classes. Such classes include automotive technology, carpentry, culinary arts, graphic communications, horticulture, and welding. [131] In the 1990s, Angola partnered with the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to offer prisoners the chance to earn accredited bachelor's degrees in Ministry. Bruce M. Sabin wrote his doctoral dissertation evaluating the moral development among those college students. [132]

In 1994 the United States Congress voted to eliminate prisoner eligibility for Pell Grants, making religious programs such as the New Orleans Baptist program the only ones in higher education available to prisoners. [69] As of Spring 2008 95 prisoners were students in the program. Angola also offers the PREP Pre-Release Exit Program and Re-Entry Programs for prisoners who are about to be released into the outside world. [131]

Inmate library services are provided by the main Prison Library and four outcamp libraries. The prison is part of the Inter-Library Loan Program with the State Library of Louisiana. [77]

Manufacturing Edit

Angola has several manufacturing facilities. The Farm Warehouse (914) is the point of distribution of agricultural supplies. The Mattress/Broom/Mop shop makes mattresses and cleaning tools. The Printing Shop prints documents, forms, and other printed materials. The Range Herd group manages 1,600 head of cattle. The Row Crops group harvests crops. The Silk-Screen group produces plates, badges, road and highway signs, and textiles it also manages sales of sign hardware. The Tag Plant produces license plates for Louisiana and for overseas customers. The Tractor Repair shop repairs agricultural equipment. The Transportation Division delivers goods manufactured by the Prison Enterprises Division. [133]

Magazine Edit

The Angolite is the inmate-published and -edited magazine of the institution, which began in 1975 or 1976. [134] Each year, six issues are published. [91] Louisiana prison officials believed that an independently edited publication would help the prison. The Angolite gained a national reputation as a quality magazine and won international awards under two prisoner editors, Wilbert Rideau and Billy Sinclair, [135] who became co-editors in 1978. [136] Associate editor Ron Gene Wikberg joined them in 1988, moving up from a position as staff writer. He worked on the magazine until gaining parole in 1992.

Radio Edit

Angola is the only penitentiary in the U.S. to be issued an FCC license to operate a radio station. KLSP (Louisiana State Penitentiary) is a 100-watt radio station that operates at 91.7 on the FM dial from inside the prison to approximately 6,000 potential listeners including inmates and penitentiary staff. The station is operated by inmates and carries some satellite programming. Inside the walls of Angola, KLSP is called the "Incarceration Station" [137] The station airs a variety of programming including gospel, jazz, blues, rock-n-roll, country, and oldies music, as well as educational and religious programs. [137] The station has 20 hours of daily airtime, and all of the music aired by the station is donated. [89] Music from His Radio and the Moody Ministry Broadcasting Network (MBN) airs during several hours of the day. Prisoners make the majority of broadcasting decisions. [48]

A radio station was established in 1986 originally as a means of communication within the complex. Jenny Lee Rice of Paste said "the need to disseminate information rapidly is critical" because Angola is the largest prison in the United States. [113] The non-emergency uses of the station began in 1987 when Jimmy Swaggart, an evangelist, gave the prison old equipment from his radio network. [138] In the early years, the radio station emphasized announcements and music more than religion, but in the early 21st century, it broadcast more religious programming. [139]

In 2001 Christian music artist, Larry Howard of Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship visited the prison. He encouraged Jim Campbell, the President of Radio Training Network, to visit Angola. Radio Training Network sent HIS Radio Network Operations Manager, Ken Mayfield to head the team to rebuild the station. Mayfield, along with Jerry Williams (The Joy FM), Ben Birdsong (The Wind FM) Steve Swanson (WAFJ) and Rob Dempsey (HIS Radio) conducted an on-air radio fundraiser to buy new radio equipment. [89] The fundraiser exceeded its $80,000 goal, raising more than $124,000 within three hours. Warden Burl Cain used the funds to update the radio equipment and train prisoner DJs in using the new electronic systems. [48] The new radio equipment allowed KLSP to broadcast in stereo, expand its daily airtime to 20 hours, and to upgrade its programming. [89] As of 2012, KLSP had an output of 105 watts. [140] Further than 7 miles (11 km) away from Angola on Louisiana Highway 61, the signal begins to fade. At 10 miles (16 km) listeners can hear only white noise. Paul von Zielbauer of The New York Times said that "Still, 100 watts does not push the station's signal far beyond the prison gate." [89] All 24 hours are devoted to religious programming. [91] After religion became the primary focus, some inmates stopped listening to the station. [141]

Television Edit

The prison officials have started LSP-TV, a television station. According to Kalen Mary Ann Churcher of Pennsylvania State University, the television station follows the religious programming emphasis of the radio station more closely than it emulates reporting of The Angolite. [139] But its prisoner staff and technicicans also films prisoner events, such as the Angola Prison Rodeo, prize fights, and football games. As it has a closed circuit system, it allows even inmates on death row to watch the broadcasts. [142]

Burial of the deceased Edit

Coffins for deceased prisoners are manufactured by inmates on the prison grounds. Previously, deceased prisoners were buried in cardboard boxes. After one body fell through the bottom of a box, Warden Burl Cain changed a policy, allowing for the manufacture of proper coffins for the deceased. [48]

Death row Edit

In 1972, in the US Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia, the court found application of the death penalty so arbitrary under existing state laws that it was unconstitutional. It suspended executions for all persons on death row in the United States (slightly more than 600, overwhelmingly male) under current state laws in the United States, and ordered state courts to judicially amend their sentences to the next lower level of severity, generally life in prison. Louisiana passed a new death penalty statute, which was overturned by the state supreme court in 1977 for its application to convictions for rape. The death penalty statute was amended again, effective September 1977. Louisiana did not execute any prisoners until 1983.

According to Louisiana Department of Corrections policy, inmates on death row are held in solitary confinement during the entire time they are incarcerated, even if appeals take years. This means that they are severely isolated and confined to their windowless cells for 23 hours per day. For one hour per day [71] an inmate may take a shower and/or move up and down the halls under escort. Three times a week an inmate is permitted to use the exercise yard. Death row inmates are allowed to have several books at a time, and each inmate may have one five-minute personal telephone call per month. They may not participate in education or work programs. Death row inmates receive unlimited visitor access. [143] Officers patrol the death row corridors nightly as a suicide prevention tactic.

Nick Trenticosta, a New Orleans attorney with the ACLU who is involved with prison issues, has said that warden Burl Cain treated death row inmates in a more favorable manner than did wardens of other death row prisons in the United States. Trenticosta said, "It is not that these guys had super privileges. But Warden Cain was somewhat responsive to not only prisoners, but to their families." [69]

In March 2017, three death row inmates at Angola filed a federal class-action suit against the prison and LDOC over its solitary confinement policy, charging that it constituted "cruel and unusual punishment" under the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution. Each of the men had been held in solitary for more than 25 years. [144] The lawsuit describes basic conditions on death row: [145]

  • sparse cells, hot in summer, with little natural light
  • lack of recreation
  • no hobbies
  • very little religion

Execution Edit

Male death row inmates are moved from the Reception Center to a cell near the execution chamber in Camp F on the day of the execution. The only person informed of the exact time when a prisoner will be transferred is the Warden this is for security reasons and so as to not disrupt prison routine. On a scheduled execution date, an execution can occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. Michael L. Varnado and Daniel P. Smith of Victims of Dead Man Walking said that, on many occasions, the rest of Angola is not aware of the execution being carried out. In 2003 Assistant Warden of the Reception Center Lee, said that once death row inmates learn of the execution, they "get a little quieter" and "[i]t suddenly becomes more real to them." [64]

When the State of Louisiana used electrocution as its method of capital punishment, it formally referred to the anonymous executioner as "The Electrician." When the State of Louisiana referred to the executioner by name, he was called "Sam Jones," after Sam H. Jones, the Governor of Louisiana in power when electrocution was introduced as the capital punishment. [146]

Musical culture Edit

As of 2011 several Angola inmates practiced musical skills. The prison administration encourages prisoners to practice music and uses music as a reward for inmates who behave. [147]

In the 1930s John Lomax, a folklorist, and Alan Lomax, his son, traveled throughout the U.S. South to document African-American musical culture. Since prison farms, including Angola, were isolated from general society, the Lomaxes believed that prisons had the purest African-American song culture, as it was not influenced by popular trends. The Lomaxes recorded several songs, which were plantation-era songs that originated during the slavery era. The Lomaxes met Lead Belly, a famous musician, in Angola. [147]

Sexual slavery Edit

A 2010 memoir by Wilbert Rideau, an inmate at Angola from 1961 through 2000, states that "slavery was commonplace in Angola with perhaps a quarter of the population in bondage" throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. [148] The New York Times states that weak inmates served as sex slaves who were raped, gang-raped, and traded and sold like cattle. Rideau said that "The slave's only way out was to commit suicide, escape or kill his master." [148] Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, members of the Angola 3, arrived at Angola in the late 1960s. They became active members of the prison's chapter of the Black Panther Party, where they organized petitions and hunger strikes to protest conditions at the prison and helped new inmates protect themselves from rape and enslavement. [149] C. Murray Henderson, one of the wardens brought in to clean up the prison, states in one of his memoirs that the systemic sexual slavery was sanctioned and facilitated by the officers. [150] [ page needed ]

Inmate organizations Edit

Angola has several inmate organizations. They include the Angola Men of Integrity, the Lifers Organization, the Angola Drama Club, the Wonders of Joy, the Camp C Concept Club, and the Latin American Cultural Brotherhood. [122]

Angola Rodeo Edit

On one weekend in April and on every Sunday in October, Angola holds the Angola Prison Rodeo. On each occasion, thousands of visitors enter the prison complex. [91] Initiated with planning in 1964, [122] the rodeo held its first events in 1965. [151] Initially it was held for prisoner recreation, but attracted increasing crowds.

The prison charges admission. Due to the rodeo's popularity, Angola built a 10,000-person stadium to support visitors it opened in 2000. [151] As part of the prison rodeo, [152] the prison holds a semiannual Arts and Crafts Festival. [153] In 2010 it started the Angola Prison Horse Sale, also at the time of the rodeo.

Programs for fathers Edit

Angola has two programs for fathers who are incarcerated at Angola. Returning Hearts is an event where prisoners may spend up to eight hours with their children in a Carnival-like celebration. Returning began in 2005 by 2010 a total of 2,500 prisoners had participated in the program. Malachi Dads is a year-long program that uses the Christian Bible as the basis of teaching how to improve a prisoner's parenting skills. Malachi began in 2007 as of 2010 it had 119 men participating. [154] It is based on Malachi 4:6, "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers . "

Death row and non-death row Edit

Executed Edit

    – Executed in 2010 (last execution in Louisiana) [157] – Executed in 1997 [157] – Executed in 1987 [157] – Executed in 1996 [157] – Executed in 1991 (last execution via electric chair in Louisiana) [157] – Executed in 1998 [157] – Executed in 2002 (last involuntary execution in Louisiana) [157] – Executed in 1990 [157] – Executed in 1993 (first execution via lethal injection in Louisiana) [157][158] – Executed in 1984 [157] – Executed in 2000 [157] – Executed in 1995 [157] – Executed in 1999 [157] – Executed in 1983 (first execution since 1976 in Louisiana) [157] – Executed in 1984 [157] – Executed in 1987 [157]

Non-death row Edit

Musical references Edit

The prison has held many musicians and been the subject of a number of songs. Folk singer Lead Belly served over four years of his attempted murder sentence and was released early from Angola for good behavior. Tex-Mex artist Freddy Fender was pardoned from there.

The song "Grown So Ugly" by American blues musician and ex-convict Robert Pete Williams references Angola. The song's lyrics have some basis in fact, as Williams was imprisoned there and was officially pardoned (from a murder charge) in 1964, the year the song says that he left the prison.

The classic New Orleans song "Junco Partner" includes the lines:

Six months ain't no sentence, and a year ain't no time
They got boys down in Angola doin' one year to ninety-nine

In the Clash's version of "Junco Partner", the lines are a little bit different:

Singing six months ain't no sentence, and one year ain't no time
I was born in Angola, servin' fourteen to ninety-nine

Aaron and Charles Neville wrote "Angola Bound":

I got lucky last summer when I got my time, Angola bound
Well my partner got a hundred, I got ninety-nine, Angola bound

Angola also features in the Neville Brothers song "Sons and Daughters" on the album Brother's Keeper.

Folklorist Harry Oster recorded "Angola Prison Worksongs" for his Folklyric Records in 1959, now re-released on Arhoolie Records. According to Oster, between 1929 and 1940, 10,000 floggings were carried out in Angola.

Singer Gil Scott-Heron wrote and recorded the song "Angola, Louisiana" on his 1978 album with Brian Jackson, Secrets. The song deals with the imprisonment of inmate Gary Tyler.

Canadian blues and roots musician Rita Chiarelli filmed the documentary "Music From the Big House" at Angola in 2010. The film, directed by Bruce McDonald, focuses on a concert at the prison, organized by Chiarelli, that featured four bands comprising musicians incarcerated in Angola.

Comprising the entire B-Side of his album Remedies, New Orleans musician Dr. John features an extended 17:35 song titled "Angola Anthem".

Singer-songwriter Myshkin recorded "Angola" in 1998 for her album Blue Gold. The song refers to the case of former Angola warden C. Murray Henderson, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the attempted murder of his wife, writer Anne Butler:

Release me from this life I will seek my punishment
On the other side but the judge said
"Warden in cold blood you shot your poor poor wife
You're going back to Angola, there your hell to find"

New Orleans rap artist Juvenile has part of a verse in the Hot Boys song "Dirty World" that says:

They'll plant dope on ya, go to court on ya
Give ya 99 years and slam the door on us
Angola, the free man bout it, he don't play
Nigga get outta line, ship 'em to camp J

New Orleans pianist James Booker mentions Angola prison in his cover of "Goodnight, Irene" where he was sent for heroin possession:

Lead Belly and little Booker both, had the pleasure of partying,
on the pon de rosa, *laughs* you know what I mean, you dig?
Yeah, on the pon de rosa, you know, down in Angola
where they have boys doing from one year to ninety nine

(As Booker was less than 10 years old when Lead Belly died, they would not have been there at the same time.)

Ray Davies has recorded a song entitled "Angola (Wrong Side of the Law)", which was released as a bonus track on the expanded release of Working Man's Café in February 2008.

The American folk singer David Dondero in the song "20 years" describes the experiences of a prisoner released from Angola prison:

All I got on me, is my Angola prison I.D.
Ain't a place in this whole damn city willing to hire me
It's been twenty years

Jazz trumpeter Christian Scott has a track on his 2010 album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow called "Angola, LA & the 13th Amendment"

Texas Country Music artist, Sam Riggs of Sam Riggs and the Night People (Austin, Texas) wrote and recorded a song called "Angola's Lament". It was released in 2013 on the Outrun the Sun album.

Other Religious Groups

Protestant Christians are the next largest religious group with 15% of the population as followers. As with Catholics, many of these individuals also prescribe to traditional, indigenous belief systems. Protestant missionaries came to the country during colonial times as well and could also open schools and teach the public, but only if they did so in the Portuguese language. This religious group was heavily involved with political movements that supported the movement for independence.

Making up less than 1% of the population each are religions that have not yet been formally recognized by the government. These include Mormonism, Jehovah Witness Christianity, Sunni Islam, Baha’i Faith, and Judaism.


The name Angola comes from the Portuguese colonial name Reino de Angola ('Kingdom of Angola'), which appeared as early as Paulo Dias de Novais's 1571 charter. [9] The toponym was derived by the Portuguese from the title ngola held by the kings of Ndongo. Ndongo in the highlands, between the Kwanza and Lucala Rivers, was nominally a possession of the Kingdom of Kongo, but was seeking greater independence in the 16th century. [10]

Early migrations and political units Edit

Modern Angola was populated predominantly by nomadic Khoi and San prior to the first Bantu migrations. The Khoi and San peoples were neither pastoralists nor cultivators, but rather hunter-gatherers. [11] They were displaced by Bantu peoples arriving from the north in the first millennium BC, most of whom likely originated in what is today northwestern Nigeria and southern Niger. [12] Bantu speakers introduced the cultivation of bananas and taro, as well as large cattle herds, to Angola's central highlands and the Luanda plain.

A number of political entities were established the best-known of these was the Kingdom of the Kongo, based in Angola, which extended northward to what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Gabon. It established trade routes with other city-states and civilisations up to and down the coast of southwestern and western Africa and even with Great Zimbabwe and the Mutapa Empire, although it engaged in little or no transoceanic trade. [13] To its south lay the Kingdom of Ndongo, from which the area of the later Portuguese colony was sometimes known as Dongo. [14]

Portuguese colonization Edit

Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão reached the area in 1484. [14] The previous year, the Portuguese had established relations with the Kongo, which stretched at the time from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. The Portuguese established their primary early trading post at Soyo, which is now the northernmost city in Angola apart from the Cabinda exclave. Paulo Dias de Novais founded São Paulo de Loanda (Luanda) in 1575 with a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers. Benguela was fortified in 1587 and became a township in 1617.

The Portuguese established several other settlements, forts and trading posts along the Angolan coast, principally trading in Angolan slaves for plantations. Local slave dealers provided a large number of slaves for the Portuguese Empire, [15] usually in exchange for manufactured goods from Europe. [16] [17]

This part of the Atlantic slave trade continued until after Brazil's independence in the 1820s. [18]

Despite Portugal's territorial claims in Angola, its control over much of the country's vast interior was minimal. [14] In the 16th century Portugal gained control of the coast through a series of treaties and wars. Life for European colonists was difficult and progress slow. John Iliffe notes that "Portuguese records of Angola from the 16th century show that a great famine occurred on average every seventy years accompanied by epidemic disease, it might kill one-third or one-half of the population, destroying the demographic growth of a generation and forcing colonists back into the river valleys". [19]

During the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch West India Company occupied the principal settlement of Luanda in 1641, using alliances with local peoples to carry out attacks against Portuguese holdings elsewhere. [18] A fleet under Salvador de Sá retook Luanda in 1648 reconquest of the rest of the territory was completed by 1650. New treaties with the Kongo were signed in 1649 others with Njinga's Kingdom of Matamba and Ndongo followed in 1656. The conquest of Pungo Andongo in 1671 was the last major Portuguese expansion from Luanda, as attempts to invade Kongo in 1670 and Matamba in 1681 failed. Colonial outposts also expanded inward from Benguela, but until the late 19th century the inroads from Luanda and Benguela were very limited. [14] Hamstrung by a series of political upheavals in the early 1800s, Portugal was slow to mount a large scale annexation of Angolan territory. [18]

The slave trade was abolished in Angola in 1836, and in 1854 the colonial government freed all its existing slaves. [18] Four years later, a more progressive administration appointed by Lisbon abolished slavery altogether. However, these decrees remained largely unenforceable, and the Portuguese depended on assistance from the British Royal Navy to enforce their ban on the slave trade. [18] This coincided with a series of renewed military expeditions into the bush.

By the mid-nineteenth century Portugal had established its dominion as far east as the Congo River and as far south as Mossâmedes. [18] Until the late 1880s, Lisbon entertained proposals to link Angola with its colony in Mozambique but was blocked by British and Belgian opposition. [20] In this period, the Portuguese came up against different forms of armed resistance from various peoples in Angola. [21]

The Berlin Conference in 1884–1885 set the colony's borders, delineating the boundaries of Portuguese claims in Angola, [20] although many details were unresolved until the 1920s. [22] Trade between Portugal and its African territories rapidly increased as a result of protective tariffs, leading to increased development, and a wave of new Portuguese immigrants. [20]

Angolan independence Edit

Under colonial law, black Angolans were forbidden from forming political parties or labour unions. [23] The first nationalist movements did not take root until after World War II, spearheaded by a largely Westernised, Portuguese-speaking urban class which included many mestiços. [24] During the early 1960s they were joined by other associations stemming from ad hoc labour activism in the rural workforce. [23] Portugal's refusal to address increasing Angolan demands for self-determination provoked an armed conflict which erupted in 1961 with the Baixa de Cassanje revolt and gradually evolved into a protracted war of independence that persisted for the next twelve years. [25] Throughout the conflict, three militant nationalist movements with their own partisan guerrilla wings emerged from the fighting between the Portuguese government and local forces, supported to varying degrees by the Portuguese Communist Party. [24] [26]

The National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) recruited from Bakongo refugees in Zaire. [27] Benefiting from particularly favourable political circumstances in Léopoldville, and especially from a common border with Zaire, Angolan political exiles were able to build up a power base among a large expatriate community from related families, clans, and traditions. [28] People on both sides of the border spoke mutually intelligible dialects and enjoyed shared ties to the historical Kingdom of Kongo. [28] Though as foreigners skilled Angolans could not take advantage of Mobutu Sese Seko's state employment programme, some found work as middlemen for the absentee owners of various lucrative private ventures. The migrants eventually formed the FNLA with the intention of making a bid for political power upon their envisaged return to Angola. [28]

A largely Ovimbundu guerrilla initiative against the Portuguese in central Angola from 1966 was spearheaded by Jonas Savimbi and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). [27] It remained handicapped by its geographic remoteness from friendly borders, the ethnic fragmentation of the Ovimbundu, and the isolation of peasants on European plantations where they had little opportunity to mobilise. [28]

During the late 1950s, the rise of the Marxist–Leninist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the east and Dembos hills north of Luanda came to hold special significance. Formed as a coalition resistance movement by the Angolan Communist Party, [25] the organisation's leadership remained predominantly Ambundu and courted public sector workers in Luanda. [27] Although both the MPLA and its rivals accepted material assistance from the Soviet Union or the People's Republic of China, the former harboured strong anti-imperialist views and was openly critical of the United States and its support for Portugal. [26] This allowed it to win important ground on the diplomatic front, soliciting support from nonaligned governments in Morocco, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and the United Arab Republic. [25]

The MPLA attempted to move its headquarters from Conakry to Léopoldville in October 1961, renewing efforts to create a common front with the FNLA, then known as the Union of Angolan Peoples (UPA) and its leader Holden Roberto. Roberto turned down the offer. [25] When the MPLA first attempted to insert its own insurgents into Angola, the cadres were ambushed and annihilated by UPA partisans on Roberto's orders—setting a precedent for the bitter factional strife which would later ignite the Angolan Civil War. [25]

Angolan Civil war Edit

Throughout the war of independence, the three rival nationalist movements were severely hampered by political and military factionalism, as well as their inability to unite guerrilla efforts against the Portuguese. [29] Between 1961 and 1975 the MPLA, UNITA, and the FNLA competed for influence in the Angolan population and the international community. [29] The Soviet Union and Cuba became especially sympathetic towards the MPLA and supplied that party with arms, ammunition, funding, and training. [29] They also backed UNITA militants until it became clear that the latter was at irreconcilable odds with the MPLA. [30]

The collapse of Portugal's Estado Novo government following the 1974 Carnation Revolution suspended all Portuguese military activity in Africa and the brokering of a ceasefire pending negotiations for Angolan independence. [29] Encouraged by the Organisation of African Unity, Holden Roberto, Jonas Savimbi, and MPLA chairman Agostinho Neto met in Mombasa in early January 1975 and agreed to form a coalition government. [31] This was ratified by the Alvor Agreement later that month, which called for general elections and set the country's independence date for 11 November 1975. [31] All three factions, however, followed up on the ceasefire by taking advantage of the gradual Portuguese withdrawal to seize various strategic positions, acquire more arms, and enlarge their militant forces. [31] The rapid influx of weapons from numerous external sources, especially the Soviet Union and the United States, as well as the escalation of tensions between the nationalist parties, fueled a new outbreak of hostilities. [31] With tacit American and Zairean support the FNLA began massing large numbers of troops in northern Angola in an attempt to gain military superiority. [29] Meanwhile, the MPLA began securing control of Luanda, a traditional Ambundu stronghold. [29] Sporadic violence broke out in Luanda over the next few months after the FNLA attacked MPLA forces in March 1975. [31] The fighting intensified with street clashes in April and May, and UNITA became involved after over two hundred of its members were massacred by an MPLA contingent that June. [31] An upswing in Soviet arms shipments to the MPLA influenced a decision by the Central Intelligence Agency to likewise provide substantial covert aid to the FNLA and UNITA. [32]

In August 1975, the MPLA requested direct assistance from the Soviet Union in the form of ground troops. [32] The Soviets declined, offering to send advisers but no troops however, Cuba was more forthcoming and in late September dispatched nearly five hundred combat personnel to Angola, along with sophisticated weaponry and supplies. [30] By independence, there were over a thousand Cuban soldiers in the country. [32] They were kept supplied by a massive airbridge carried out with Soviet aircraft. [32] The persistent buildup of Cuban and Soviet military aid allowed the MPLA to drive its opponents from Luanda and blunt an abortive intervention by Zairean and South African troops, which had deployed in a belated attempt to assist the FNLA and UNITA. [31] The FNLA was largely annihilated, although UNITA managed to withdraw its civil officials and militia from Luanda and seek sanctuary in the southern provinces. [29] From there, Savimbi continued to mount a determined insurgent campaign against the MPLA. [32]

Between 1975 and 1991, the MPLA implemented an economic and political system based on the principles of scientific socialism, incorporating central planning and a Marxist–Leninist one-party state. [33] It embarked on an ambitious programme of nationalisation, and the domestic private sector was essentially abolished. [33] Privately owned enterprises were nationalised and incorporated into a single umbrella of state-owned enterprises known as Unidades Economicas Estatais (UEE). [33] Under the MPLA, Angola experienced a significant degree of modern industrialisation. [33] However, corruption and graft also increased and public resources were either allocated inefficiently or simply embezzled by officials for personal enrichment. [34] The ruling party survived an attempted coup d'état by the Maoist-oriented Communist Organisation of Angola (OCA) in 1977, which was suppressed after a series of bloody political purges left thousands of OCA supporters dead. [35]

The MPLA abandoned its former Marxist ideology at its third party congress in 1990, and declared social democracy to be its new platform. [35] Angola subsequently became a member of the International Monetary Fund restrictions on the market economy were also reduced in an attempt to draw foreign investment. [36] By May 1991 it reached a peace agreement with UNITA, the Bicesse Accords, which scheduled new general elections for September 1992. [36] When the MPLA secured a major electoral victory, UNITA objected to the results of both the presidential and legislative vote count and returned to war. [36] Following the election, the Halloween massacre occurred from 30 October to 1 November, where MPLA forces killed thousands of UNITA supporters. [37]

21st century Edit

On 22 March 2002, Jonas Savimbi was killed in action against government troops. UNITA and the MPLA reached a cease-fire shortly afterwards. UNITA gave up its armed wing and assumed the role of a major opposition party. Although the political situation of the country began to stabilise, regular democratic processes did not prevail until the elections in Angola in 2008 and 2012 and the adoption of a new constitution in 2010, all of which strengthened the prevailing dominant-party system.

Angola has a serious humanitarian crisis the result of the prolonged war, of the abundance of minefields, of the continued political (and to a much lesser degree) military activities in favour of the independence of the exclave of Cabinda (carried out in the context of the protracted Cabinda conflict by the FLEC), but most of all, by the depredation of the country's rich mineral resources by the régime. [ citation needed ] While most of the internally displaced have now squatted around the capital, in musseques (shanty towns) the general situation for Angolans remains desperate. [38] [39]

Drought in 2016 caused the worst food crisis in Southern Africa in 25 years. Drought affected 1.4 million people across seven of Angola's 18 provinces. Food prices rose and acute malnutrition rates doubled, with more than 95,000 children affected.

José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down as President of Angola after 38 years in 2017, being peacefully succeeded by João Lourenço, Santos' chosen successor. [40]

At 1,246,620 km 2 (481,321 sq mi), [41] Angola is the world's twenty-third largest country - comparable in size to Mali, or twice the size of France or of Texas. It lies mostly between latitudes 4° and 18°S, and longitudes 12° and 24°E.

Angola borders Namibia to the south, Zambia to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north-east and the South Atlantic Ocean to the west.

The coastal exclave of Cabinda in the north has borders with the Republic of the Congo to the north and with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south. [42] Angola's capital, Luanda, lies on the Atlantic coast in the northwest of the country.

Angola had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 8.35/10, ranking it 23rd globally out of 172 countries. [43]

Climate Edit

Angola, although located in a tropical zone, has a climate uncharacteristic of this zone, due to the confluence of three factors:

  • the cold Benguela Current flowing along the southern part of the coast
  • the relief in the interior
  • the influence of the Namib Desert in the southwest

Angola's climate features two seasons:

  • rainfall from November to April
  • drought, known as Cacimbo, from May to October, drier, as the name implies, and with lower temperatures

While the coastline has high rainfall rates, decreasing from north to south and from 800 millimetres (31 inches) to 50 millimetres (2.0 inches), with average annual temperatures above 23 °C (73 °F), one can divide the interior zone into three areas: [44] [45]

  • North, with high rainfall and high temperatures
  • Central Plateau, with a dry season and average temperatures of the order of 19 °C
  • South, with very high thermal amplitudes due to the proximity of the Kalahari Desert and the influence of masses of tropical air
Climate data for Luanda, Angola (1961–1990, extremes 1879–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.9
Average high °C (°F) 29.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.7
Average low °C (°F) 23.9
Record low °C (°F) 18.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 30
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 4 5 9 11 2 0 0 1 3 5 8 5 53
Average relative humidity (%) 80 78 80 83 83 82 83 85 84 81 82 81 82
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217.0 203.4 207.7 192.0 229.4 207.0 167.4 148.8 150.0 167.4 186.0 201.5 2,277.6
Mean daily sunshine hours 7.0 7.2 6.7 6.4 7.4 6.9 5.4 4.8 5.0 5.4 6.2 6.5 6.2
Source 1: Deutscher Wetterdienst [46]
Source 2: Meteo Climat (record highs and lows) [47]

Administrative divisions Edit

As of March 2016 [update] , Angola is divided into eighteen provinces (províncias) and 162 municipalities. The municipalities are further divided into 559 communes (townships). [48] The provinces are:

Number Province Capital Area (km 2 ) [49] Population
(2014 Census) [50]
1 Bengo Caxito 31,371 356,641
2 Benguela Benguela 39,826 2,231,385
3 Bié Cuíto 70,314 1,455,255
4 Cabinda Cabinda 7,270 716,076
5 Cuando Cubango Menongue 199,049 534,002
6 Cuanza Norte N'dalatando 24,110 443,386
7 Cuanza Sul Sumbe 55,600 1,881,873
8 Cunene Ondjiva 87,342 990,087
9 Huambo Huambo 34,270 2,019,555
10 Huíla Lubango 79,023 2,497,422
11 Luanda Luanda 2,417 6,945,386
12 Lunda Norte Dundo 103,760 862,566
13 Lunda Sul Saurimo 77,637 537,587
14 Malanje Malanje 97,602 986,363
15 Moxico Luena 223,023 758,568
16 Namibe Moçâmedes 57,091 495,326
17 Uíge Uíge 58,698 1,483,118
18 Zaire M'banza-Kongo 40,130 594,428

Exclave of Cabinda Edit

With an area of approximately 7,283 square kilometres (2,812 sq mi), the Northern Angolan province of Cabinda is unusual in being separated from the rest of the country by a strip, some 60 kilometres (37 mi) wide, of the Democratic Republic of Congo along the lower Congo River. Cabinda borders the Congo Republic to the north and north-northeast and the DRC to the east and south. The town of Cabinda is the chief population centre.

According to a 1995 census, Cabinda had an estimated population of 600,000, approximately 400,000 of whom live in neighbouring countries. Population estimates are, however, highly unreliable. Consisting largely of tropical forest, Cabinda produces hardwoods, coffee, cocoa, crude rubber and palm oil.

The product for which it is best known, however, is its oil, which has given it the nickname, "the Kuwait of Africa". Cabinda's petroleum production from its considerable offshore reserves now accounts for more than half of Angola's output. [51] Most of the oil along its coast was discovered under Portuguese rule by the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company (CABGOC) from 1968 onwards.

Ever since Portugal handed over sovereignty of its former overseas province of Angola to the local independence groups (MPLA, UNITA and FNLA), the territory of Cabinda has been a focus of separatist guerrilla actions opposing the Government of Angola (which has employed its armed forces, the FAA—Forças Armadas Angolanas) and Cabindan separatists. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda-Armed Forces of Cabinda (FLEC-FAC) announced the virtual Federal Republic of Cabinda under the Presidency of N'Zita Henriques Tiago. One of the characteristics of the Cabindan independence movement is its constant fragmentation, into smaller and smaller factions.

The Angolan government is composed of three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch of the government is composed of the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Council of Ministers.

The legislative branch comprises a 220-seat unicameral legislature, the National Assembly of Angola, elected from both provincial and nationwide constituencies. For decades, political power has been concentrated in the presidency.

After 38 years of rule, in 2017 President dos Santos stepped down from MPLA leadership. [52] The leader of the winning party at the parliamentary elections in August 2017 would become the next president of Angola. The MPLA selected the former Defense Minister João Lourenço as Santos' chosen successor. [53]

In what has been described as a political purge [54] to cement his power and reduce the influence of the Dos Santos family, Lourenço subsequently sacked the chief of the national police, Ambrósio de Lemos, and the head of the intelligence service, Apolinário José Pereira. Both are considered allies of former president Dos Santos. [55] He also removed Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of the former president, as head of the country's state oil company Sonangol. [56]

Constitution Edit

The Constitution of 2010 establishes the broad outlines of government structure and delineates the rights and duties of citizens. The legal system is based on Portuguese law and customary law but is weak and fragmented, and courts operate in only 12 of more than 140 municipalities. [57] A Supreme Court serves as the appellate tribunal a Constitutional Court does not hold the powers of judicial review. [58] Governors of the 18 provinces are appointed by the president. After the end of the civil war, the regime came under pressure from within as well as from the international community to become more democratic and less authoritarian. Its reaction was to implement a number of changes without substantially changing its character. [59]

The new constitution, adopted in 2010, did away with presidential elections, introducing a system in which the president and the vice-president of the political party that wins the parliamentary elections automatically become president and vice-president. Directly or indirectly, the president controls all other organs of the state, so there is de facto no separation of powers. [60] In the classifications used in constitutional law, this government falls under the category of authoritarian regime. [61]

Armed forces Edit

The Angolan Armed Forces (FAA, Forças Armadas Angolanas ) are headed by a Chief of Staff who reports to the Minister of Defence. There are three divisions—the Army (Exército), Navy (Marinha de Guerra, MGA) and National Air Force (Força Aérea Nacional, FAN). Total manpower is 107,000 plus paramilitary forces of 10,000 (2015 est.). [62]

Its equipment includes Russian-manufactured fighters, bombers and transport planes. There are also Brazilian-made EMB-312 Tucanos for training, Czech-made L-39s for training and bombing, and a variety of western-made aircraft such as the C-212Aviocar, Sud Aviation Alouette III, etc. A small number of AAF personnel are stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville).

Police Edit

The National Police departments are Public Order, Criminal Investigation, Traffic and Transport, Investigation and Inspection of Economic Activities, Taxation and Frontier Supervision, Riot Police and the Rapid Intervention Police. The National Police are in the process of standing up an air wing, [ when? ] to provide helicopter support for operations. The National Police are developing their criminal investigation and forensic capabilities. The force has an estimated 6,000 patrol officers, 2,500 taxation and frontier supervision officers, 182 criminal investigators and 100 financial crimes detectives and around 90 economic activity inspectors. [ citation needed ]

The National Police have implemented a modernisation and development plan to increase the capabilities and efficiency of the total force. In addition to administrative reorganisation, modernisation projects include procurement of new vehicles, aircraft and equipment, construction of new police stations and forensic laboratories, restructured training programmes and the replacement of AKM rifles with 9 mm Uzis for officers in urban areas.

Justice Edit

A Supreme Court serves as a court of appeal. The Constitutional Court is the supreme body of the constitutional jurisdiction, established with the approval of Law no. 2/08, of 17 June – Organic Law of the Constitutional Court and Law n. 3/08, of 17 June – Organic Law of the Constitutional Process. The legal system is based on Portuguese and customary laws, but it is weak and fragmented. There are only 12 courts in more than 140 counties in the country. Its first task was the validation of the candidacies of the political parties to the legislative elections of 5 September 2008. Thus, on 25 June 2008, the Constitutional Court was institutionalized and its Judicial Counselors assumed the position before the President of the Republic. Currently, seven advisory judges are present, four men and three women.

In 2014, a new penal code took effect in Angola. The classification of money-laundering as a crime is one of the novelties in the new legislation. [63]

Foreign relations Edit

Angola is a founding member state of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth, an international organization and political association of Lusophone nations across four continents, where Portuguese is an official language.

On 16 October 2014, Angola was elected for the second time a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, with 190 favorable votes out of a total of 193. The term of office began on 1 January 2015 and expired on 31 December 2016. [64]

Since January 2014, the Republic of Angola has been chairing the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL). [80] In 2015, CIRGL Executive Secretary Ntumba Luaba said that Angola is the example to be followed by the members of the organization, due to the significant progress made during the 12 years of peace, namely in terms of socio-economic stability and political-military. [65]

Human rights Edit

Angola is classified as 'not free' by Freedom House in the Freedom in the World 2014 report. [66] The report noted that the August 2012 parliamentary elections, in which the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola won more than 70% of the vote, suffered from serious flaws, including outdated and inaccurate voter rolls. [66] Voter turnout dropped from 80% in 2008 to 60%. [66]

A 2012 report by the U.S. Department of State said, "The three most important human rights abuses [in 2012] were official corruption and impunity limits on the freedoms of assembly, association, speech, and press and cruel and excessive punishment, including reported cases of torture and beatings as well as unlawful killings by police and other security personnel." [67]

Angola ranked forty-two of forty-eight sub-Saharan African states on the 2007 Index of African Governance list and scored poorly on the 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. [68] : 8 It was ranked 39 out of 52 sub-Saharan African countries, scoring particularly badly in the areas of participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development. The Ibrahim Index uses a number of variables to compile its list which reflects the state of governance in Africa. [69]

In 2019, homosexual acts were decriminalized in Angola, and the government also prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. The vote was overwhelming: 155 for, 1 against, 7 abstaining. [70]

Angola has diamonds, oil, gold, copper and rich wildlife (which was dramatically depleted during the civil war), forest and fossil fuels. Since independence, oil and diamonds have been the most important economic resource. Smallholder and plantation agriculture dramatically dropped in the Angolan Civil War, but began to recover after 2002.

Angola's economy has in recent years moved on from the disarray caused by a quarter-century of Angolan civil war to become the fastest-growing economy in Africa and one of the fastest-growing in the world, with an average GDP growth of 20% between 2005 and 2007. [72] In the period 2001–10, Angola had the world's highest annual average GDP growth, at 11.1%.

In 2004, the Exim Bank of China approved a $2 billion line of credit to Angola, to be used for rebuilding Angola's infrastructure, and to limit the influence of the International Monetary Fund there. [73]

China is Angola's biggest trade partner and export destination as well as the fourth-largest source of imports. Bilateral trade reached $27.67 billion in 2011, up 11.5% year-on-year. China's imports, mainly crude oil and diamonds, increased 9.1% to $24.89 billion while China's exports to Angola, including mechanical and electrical products, machinery parts and construction materials, surged 38.8%. [74] The oil glut led to a local price for unleaded gasoline of £0.37 a gallon. [75]

The Angolan economy grew 18% in 2005, 26% in 2006 and 17.6% in 2007. Due to the global recession, the economy contracted an estimated −0.3% in 2009. [58] The security brought about by the 2002 peace settlement has allowed the resettlement of 4 million displaced persons and a resulting large-scale increase in agriculture production. Angola's economy is expected to grow by 3.9 per cent in 2014 said the International Monetary Fund (IMF), robust growth in the non-oil economy, mainly driven by a very good performance in the agricultural sector, is expected to offset a temporary drop in oil production. [76]

Angola's financial system is maintained by the National Bank of Angola and managed by the governor Jose de Lima Massano. According to a study on the banking sector, carried out by Deloitte, the monetary policy led by Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA), the Angolan national bank, allowed a decrease in the inflation rate put at 7.96% in December 2013, which contributed to the sector's growth trend. [77] Estimates released by Angola's central bank, said country's economy should grow at an annual average rate of 5 per cent over the next four years, boosted by the increasing participation of the private sector. [78]

Although the country's economy has grown significantly since Angola achieved political stability in 2002, mainly due to fast-rising earnings in the oil sector, Angola faces huge social and economic problems. These are in part a result of almost continual armed conflict from 1961 on, although the highest level of destruction and socio-economic damage took place after the 1975 independence, during the long years of civil war. However, high poverty rates and blatant social inequality chiefly stems from persistent authoritarianism, "neo-patrimonial" practices at all levels of the political, administrative, military and economic structures, and of a pervasive corruption. [79] [80] The main beneficiaries are political, administrative, economic and military power holders, who have accumulated (and continue to accumulate) enormous wealth. [81]

"Secondary beneficiaries" are the middle strata that are about to become social classes. However, almost half the population has to be considered poor, with dramatic differences between the countryside and the cities (whereby now slightly more than 50% of the people live).

A study carried out in 2008 by the Angolan Instituto Nacional de Estatística found that in rural areas roughly 58% must be classified as "poor" according to UN norms but in the urban areas only 19%, and an overall rate of 37%. [82] In cities, a majority of families, well beyond those officially classified as poor, must adopt a variety of survival strategies. [83] [ clarification needed ] In urban areas social inequality is most evident and it is extreme in Luanda. [84] In the Human Development Index Angola constantly ranks in the bottom group. [85]

In January 2020, a leak of government documents known as the Luanda Leaks showed that U.S. consulting companies such as Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, and PricewaterhouseCoopers had helped members of the family of former President José Eduardo dos Santos (especially his daughter Isabel dos Santos) corruptly run Sonangol for their own personal profit, helping them use the company's revenues to fund vanity projects in France and Switzerland. [86]

The enormous differences between the regions pose a serious structural problem for the Angolan economy, illustrated by the fact that about one third of economic activities are concentrated in Luanda and neighbouring Bengo province, while several areas of the interior suffer economic stagnation and even regression. [87]

One of the economic consequences of social and regional disparities is a sharp increase in Angolan private investments abroad. The small fringe of Angolan society where most of the asset accumulation takes place seeks to spread its assets, for reasons of security and profit. For the time being, the biggest share of these investments is concentrated in Portugal where the Angolan presence (including the family of the state president) in banks as well as in the domains of energy, telecommunications, and mass media has become notable, as has the acquisition of vineyards and orchards as well as of touristic enterprises. [88]

Angola has upgraded critical infrastructure, an investment made possible by funds from the nation's development of oil resources. [89] According to a report, just slightly more than ten years after the end of the civil war Angola's standard of living has overall greatly improved. Life expectancy, which was just 46 years in 2002, reached 51 in 2011. Mortality rates for children fell from 25 per cent in 2001 to 19 per cent in 2010 and the number of students enrolled in primary school has tripled since 2001. [90] However, at the same time the social and economic inequality that has characterised the country for so long has not diminished, but on the contrary deepened in all respects.

With a stock of assets corresponding to 70 billion Kz (US$6.8 billion), Angola is now the third-largest financial market in sub-Saharan Africa, surpassed only by Nigeria and South Africa. According to the Angolan Minister of Economy, Abraão Gourgel, the financial market of the country grew modestly from 2002 and now lies in third place at the level of sub-Saharan Africa. [91]

On 19 December 2014, the Capital Market in Angola started. BODIVA (Angola Stock Exchange and Derivatives, in English) received the secondary public debt market, and it is expected to start the corporate debt market by 2015, but the stock market should be a reality only in 2016. [92]

Natural resources Edit

The Economist reported in 2008 that diamonds and oil make up 60% of Angola's economy, almost all of the country's revenue and all of its dominant exports. [93] Growth is almost entirely driven by rising oil production which surpassed 1.4 million barrels per day (220,000 m 3 /d) in late 2005 and was expected to grow to 2 million barrels per day (320,000 m 3 /d) by 2007. Control of the oil industry is consolidated in Sonangol Group, a conglomerate owned by the Angolan government. In December 2006, Angola was admitted as a member of OPEC. [94]

According to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative American think tank, oil production from Angola has increased so significantly that Angola now is China's biggest supplier of oil. [95] "China has extended three multibillion dollar lines of credit to the Angolan government two loans of $2 billion from China Exim Bank, one in 2004, the second in 2007, as well as one loan in 2005 of $2.9 billion from China International Fund Ltd." [96]

Growing oil revenues also created opportunities for corruption: according to a recent Human Rights Watch report, 32 billion US dollars disappeared from government accounts in 2007–2010. [97] Furthermore, Sonangol, the state-run oil company, controls 51% of Cabinda's oil. Due to this market control, the company ends up determining the profit received by the government and the taxes it pays. The council of foreign affairs states that the World Bank mentioned that Sonangol " is a taxpayer, it carries out quasi-fiscal activities, it invests public funds, and, as concessionaire, it is a sector regulator. This multifarious work programme creates conflicts of interest and characterises a complex relationship between Sonangol and the government that weakens the formal budgetary process and creates uncertainty as regards the actual fiscal stance of the state." [98]

In 2002 Angola demanded compensation for oil spills allegedly caused by Chevron Corporation, the first time it had fined a multinational corporation operating in its waters. [99]

Operations in its diamond mines include partnerships between state-run Endiama and mining companies such as ALROSA which operate in Angola. [100]

Access to biocapacity in Angola is higher than world average. In 2016, Angola had 1.9 global hectares [101] of biocapacity per person within its territory, slightly more than world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. [102] In 2016 Angola used 1.01 global hectares of biocapacity per person - their ecological footprint of consumption. This means they use about half as much biocapacity as Angola contains. As a result, Angola is running a biocapacity reserve. [101]

Agriculture Edit

Agriculture and forestry is an area of potential opportunity for the country. The African Economic Outlook organization states that "Angola requires 4.5 million tonnes a year of grain but grows only about 55% of the maize it needs, 20% of the rice and just 5% of its required wheat". [103]

In addition, the World Bank estimates that "less than 3 per cent of Angola's abundant fertile land is cultivated and the economic potential of the forestry sector remains largely unexploited" . [104]

Before independence in 1975, Angola was a breadbasket of southern Africa and a major exporter of bananas, coffee and sisal, but three decades of civil war (1975–2002) destroyed fertile countryside, left it littered with landmines and drove millions into the cities.

The country now depends on expensive food imports, mainly from South Africa and Portugal, while more than 90% of farming is done at the family and subsistence level. Thousands of Angolan small-scale farmers are trapped in poverty. [105]

Transport Edit

Transport in Angola consists of:

  • Three separate railway systems totalling 2,761 km (1,716 mi)
  • 76,626 km (47,613 mi) of highway of which 19,156 km (11,903 mi) is paved
  • 1,295 navigable inland waterways
  • five major sea ports
  • 243 airports, of which 32 are paved.

Angola centers its port trade in five main ports: Namibe, Lobito, Soyo, Cabinda and Luanda. The port of Luanda is the largest of the five, as well as being one of the busiest on the African continent. [71]

Travel on highways outside of towns and cities in Angola (and in some cases within) is (which year ?) often not best advised for those without four-by-four vehicles. While a reasonable road infrastructure has existed within Angola, time and the war have taken their toll on the road surfaces, leaving many severely potholed, littered with broken asphalt. In many areas drivers have established alternate tracks to avoid the worst parts of the surface, although careful attention must be paid to the presence or absence of landmine warning markers by the side of the road. The Angolan government has contracted the restoration of many of the country's roads. The road between Lubango and Namibe, for example, was completed recently with funding from the European Union, [106] and is comparable to many European main routes. Completing the road infrastructure is likely to take some decades, but substantial efforts are already being made. [ citation needed ]

Telecommunications Edit

The telecommunications industry is considered one of the main strategic sectors in Angola. [107]

In October 2014, the building of an optic fiber underwater cable was announced. [108] This project aims to turn Angola into a continental hub, thus improving Internet connections both nationally and internationally. [109]

On 11 March 2015, the First Angolan Forum of Telecommunications and Information Technology was held in Luanda under the motto "The challenges of telecommunications in the current context of Angola", [110] to promote debate on topical issues on telecommunications in Angola and worldwide. [111] A study of this sector, presented at the forum, said Angola had the first telecommunications operator in Africa to test LTE – with speeds up to 400 Mbit/s – and mobile penetration of about 75% there are about 3.5 million smartphones in the Angolan market There are about 25,000 kilometres (16,000 miles) of optical fibre installed in the country. [112] [113]

The first Angolan satellite, AngoSat-1, was launched into orbit on 26 December 2017. [114] It was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on board a Zenit 3F rocket. The satellite was built by Russia's RSC Energia, a subsidiary of the state-run space industry player Roscosmos. The satellite payload was supplied by Airbus Defence & Space. [115] Due to an on-board power failure during solar panel deployment, on 27 December, RSC Energia revealed that they lost communications contact with the satellite. Although, subsequent attempts to restore communications with the satellite were successful, the satellite eventually stopped sending data and RSC Energia confirmed that AngoSat-1 was inoperable. The launch of AngoSat-1 was aimed at ensuring telecommunications throughout the country. [116] According to Aristides Safeca, Secretary of State for Telecommunications, the satellite was aimed at providing telecommunications services, TV, internet and e-government and was expected to remain in orbit "at best" for 18 years. [117] A replacement satellite named AngoSat-2 is in the works and is expected to be in service by 2020. [118] As of February 2021, Ango-Sat-2 was about 60% ready. The officials reported the launch is expected in about 17 months, by July 2022. [119]

Technology Edit

The management of the top-level domain '.ao' passed from Portugal to Angola in 2015, following new legislation. [120] A joint decree of Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technologies José Carvalho da Rocha and the minister of Science and Technology, Maria Cândida Pereira Teixeira, states that "under the massification" of that Angolan domain, "conditions are created for the transfer of the domain root '.ao' of Portugal to Angola". [121]

Angola has a population of 24,383,301 inhabitants according to the preliminary results of its 2014 census, the first one conducted or carried out since 15 December 1970. [3] It is composed of Ovimbundu (language Umbundu) 37%, Ambundu (language Kimbundu) 23%, Bakongo 13%, and 32% other ethnic groups (including the Chokwe, the Ovambo, the Ganguela and the Xindonga) as well as about 2% mestiços (mixed European and African), 1.6% Chinese and 1% European. [58] The Ambundu and Ovimbundu ethnic groups combined form a majority of the population, at 62%. [124] The population is forecast to grow to over 60 million people in 2050, 2.7 times the 2014 population. [125] However, on 23 March 2016, official data revealed by Angola's National Statistic Institute – Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE), states that Angola has a population of 25,789,024 inhabitants.

It is estimated that Angola was host to 12,100 refugees and 2,900 asylum seekers by the end of 2007. 11,400 of those refugees were originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who arrived in the 1970s. [126] As of 2008 [update] there were an estimated 400,000 Democratic Republic of the Congo migrant workers, [127] at least 220,000 Portuguese, [128] and about 259,000 Chinese living in Angola. [129] 1 million Angolans are mixed race (black and white).

Since 2003, more than 400,000 Congolese migrants have been expelled from Angola. [130] Prior to independence in 1975, Angola had a community of approximately 350,000 Portuguese, [131] [132] but the vast majority left after independence and the ensuing civil war. However, Angola has recovered its Portuguese minority in recent years currently, there are about 200,000 registered with the consulates, and increasing due to the debt crisis in Portugal and the relative prosperity in Angola. [133] The Chinese population stands at 258,920, mostly composed of temporary migrants. [134] Also, there is a small Brazilian community of about 5,000 people. [135]

As of 2007 [update] , the total fertility rate of Angola is 5.54 children born per woman (2012 estimates), the 11th highest in the world. [58]

Languages Edit

The languages in Angola are those originally spoken by the different ethnic groups and Portuguese, introduced during the Portuguese colonial era. The most widely spoken indigenous languages are Umbundu, Kimbundu and Kikongo, in that order. Portuguese is the official language of the country.

Although the exact numbers of those fluent in Portuguese or who speak Portuguese as a first language are unknown, a 2012 study mentions that Portuguese is the first language of 39% of the population. [136] In 2014, a census carried out by the Instituto Nacional de Estatística in Angola mentions that 71.15% of the nearly 25.8 million inhabitants of Angola (meaning around 18.3 million people) use Portuguese as a first or second language. [137]

According to the 2014 census, Portuguese is spoken by 71.1% of Angolans, Umbundu by 23%, Kikongo by 8.2%, Kimbundu by 7.8%, Chokwe by 6.5%, Nyaneka by 3.4%, Ngangela by 3.1%, Fiote by 2.4%, Kwanyama by 2.3%, Muhumbi by 2.1%, Luvale by 1%, and other languages by 4.1%. [138]

Religion Edit

There are about 1,000 religious communities, mostly Christian, in Angola. [140] While reliable statistics are nonexistent, estimates have it that more than half of the population are Catholics, while about a quarter adhere to the Protestant churches introduced during the colonial period: the Congregationalists mainly among the Ovimbundu of the Central Highlands and the coastal region to its west, the Methodists concentrating on the Kimbundu speaking strip from Luanda to Malanje, the Baptists almost exclusively among the Bakongo of the north-west (now present in Luanda as well) and dispersed Adventists, Reformed and Lutherans. [141] [142]

In Luanda and region there subsists a nucleus of the "syncretic" Tocoists and in the north-west a sprinkling of Kimbanguism can be found, spreading from the Congo/Zaïre. Since independence, hundreds of Pentecostal and similar communities have sprung up in the cities, whereby now about 50% of the population is living several of these communities/churches are of Brazilian origin.

As of 2008 [update] the U.S. Department of State estimates the Muslim population at 80,000–90,000, less than 1% of the population, [143] while the Islamic Community of Angola puts the figure closer to 500,000. [144] Muslims consist largely of migrants from West Africa and the Middle East (especially Lebanon), although some are local converts. [145] The Angolan government does not legally recognize any Muslim organizations and often shuts down mosques or prevents their construction. [146]

In a study assessing nations' levels of religious regulation and persecution with scores ranging from 0 to 10 where 0 represented low levels of regulation or persecution, Angola was scored 0.8 on Government Regulation of Religion, 4.0 on Social Regulation of Religion, 0 on Government Favoritism of Religion and 0 on Religious Persecution. [147]

Foreign missionaries were very active prior to independence in 1975, although since the beginning of the anti-colonial fight in 1961 the Portuguese colonial authorities expelled a series of Protestant missionaries and closed mission stations based on the belief that the missionaries were inciting pro-independence sentiments. Missionaries have been able to return to the country since the early 1990s, although security conditions due to the civil war have prevented them until 2002 from restoring many of their former inland mission stations. [148]

The Catholic Church and some major Protestant denominations mostly keep to themselves in contrast to the "New Churches" which actively proselytize. Catholics, as well as some major Protestant denominations, provide help for the poor in the form of crop seeds, farm animals, medical care and education. [149] [150]

Urbanization Edit

Health Edit

Epidemics of cholera, malaria, rabies and African hemorrhagic fevers like Marburg hemorrhagic fever, are common diseases in several parts of the country. Many regions in this country have high incidence rates of tuberculosis and high HIV prevalence rates. Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in the region. Angola has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and one of the world's lowest life expectancies. A 2007 survey concluded that low and deficient niacin status was common in Angola. [152] Demographic and Health Surveys is currently conducting several surveys in Angola on malaria, domestic violence and more. [153]

In September 2014, the Angolan Institute for Cancer Control (IACC) was created by presidential decree, and it will integrate the National Health Service in Angola. [154] The purpose of this new centre is to ensure health and medical care in oncology, policy implementation, programmes and plans for prevention and specialised treatment. [155] This cancer institute will be assumed as a reference institution in the central and southern regions of Africa. [156]

In 2014, Angola launched a national campaign of vaccination against measles, extended to every child under ten years old and aiming to go to all 18 provinces in the country. [157] The measure is part of the Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Measles 2014–2020 created by the Angolan Ministry of Health which includes strengthening routine immunisation, a proper dealing with measles cases, national campaigns, introducing a second dose of vaccination in the national routine vaccination calendar and active epidemiological surveillance for measles. This campaign took place together with the vaccination against polio and vitamin A supplementation. [158]

A yellow fever outbreak, the worst in the country in three decades [159] began in December 2015. By August 2016, when the outbreak began to subside, nearly 4,000 people were suspected of being infected. As many as 369 may have died. The outbreak began in the capital, Luanda, and spread to at least 16 of the 18 provinces.

Education Edit

Although by law education in Angola is compulsory and free for eight years, the government reports that a percentage of pupils are not attending due to a lack of school buildings and teachers. [160] Pupils are often responsible for paying additional school-related expenses, including fees for books and supplies. [160]

In 1999, the gross primary enrollment rate was 74 per cent and in 1998, the most recent year for which data are available, the net primary enrollment rate was 61 per cent. [160] Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of pupils formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. [160] There continue to be significant disparities in enrollment between rural and urban areas. In 1995, 71.2 per cent of children ages 7 to 14 years were attending school. [160] It is reported that higher percentages of boys attend school than girls. [160] During the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), nearly half of all schools were reportedly looted and destroyed, leading to current problems with overcrowding. [160]

The Ministry of Education recruited 20,000 new teachers in 2005 and continued to implement teacher training. [160] Teachers tend to be underpaid, inadequately trained and overworked (sometimes teaching two or three shifts a day). [160] Some teachers may reportedly demand payment or bribes directly from their pupils. [160] Other factors, such as the presence of landmines, lack of resources and identity papers, and poor health prevent children from regularly attending school. [160] Although budgetary allocations for education were increased in 2004, the education system in Angola continues to be extremely under-funded. [160]

According to estimates by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the adult literacy rate in 2011 was 70.4%. [161] By 2015, this had increased to 71.1%. [162] 82.9% of men and 54.2% of women are literate as of 2001. [163] Since independence from Portugal in 1975, a number of Angolan students continued to be admitted every year at high schools, polytechnical institutes and universities in Portugal and Brazil through bilateral agreements in general, these students belong to the elites.

In September 2014, the Angolan Ministry of Education announced an investment of 16 million Euros in the computerisation of over 300 classrooms across the country. The project also includes training teachers at a national level, "as a way to introduce and use new information technologies in primary schools, thus reflecting an improvement in the quality of teaching". [164]

In 2010, the Angolan government started building the Angolan Media Libraries Network, distributed throughout several provinces in the country to facilitate the people's access to information and knowledge. Each site has a bibliographic archive, multimedia resources and computers with Internet access, as well as areas for reading, researching and socialising. [165] The plan envisages the establishment of one media library in each Angolan province by 2017. The project also includes the implementation of several media libraries, in order to provide the several contents available in the fixed media libraries to the most isolated populations in the country. [166] At this time, the mobile media libraries are already operating in the provinces of Luanda, Malanje, Uíge, Cabinda and Lunda South. As for REMA, the provinces of Luanda, Benguela, Lubango and Soyo have currently working media libraries. [167]

Angolan culture has been heavily influenced by Portuguese culture, especially in terms of language and religion, and the culture of the indigenous ethnic groups of Angola, predominantly Bantu culture.

The diverse ethnic communities—the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Chokwe, Mbunda and other peoples—to varying degrees maintain their own cultural traits, traditions and languages, but in the cities, where slightly more than half of the population now lives, a mixed culture has been emerging since colonial times in Luanda, since its foundation in the 16th century.

In this urban culture, Portuguese heritage has become more and more dominant. African roots are evident in music and dance and is moulding the way in which Portuguese is spoken. This process is well reflected in contemporary Angolan literature, especially in the works of Angolan authors.

In 2014, Angola resumed the National Festival of Angolan Culture after a 25-year break. The festival took place in all the provincial capitals and lasted for 20 days, with the theme ”Culture as a Factor of Peace and Development. [168]

Cinema Edit

In 1972, one of Angola's first feature films, Sarah Maldoror's internationally co-produced Sambizanga, was released at the Carthage Film Festival to critical acclaim, winning the Tanit d'Or, the festival's highest prize. [169]

Sports Edit

Basketball is the most popular sport in Angola. Its national team has won the AfroBasket 11 times and holds the record of most titles. As a top team in Africa, it is a regular competitor at the Summer Olympic Games and the FIBA World Cup. Angola is home to one of Africa's first competitive leagues. [170]

In football, Angola hosted the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. The Angola national football team qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, their first appearance in the World Cup finals. They were eliminated after one defeat and two draws in the group stage. They won three COSAFA Cups and finished runner-up in the 2011 African Nations Championship.

Angola has participated in the World Women's Handball Championship for several years. The country has also appeared in the Summer Olympics for seven years and both regularly competes in and once has hosted the FIRS Roller Hockey World Cup, where the best finish is sixth. Angola is also often believed to have historic roots in the martial art "Capoeira Angola" and "Batuque" which were practised by enslaved African Angolans transported as part of the Atlantic slave trade. [171]

Political Life

Government. Angola is a presidential republic. Until the 1990s, the MPLA monopolized the central state, and, despite the existence of government institutions, presidential powers were extensive. The MPLA leader, Agostinho Neto, was president until his death in September 1979, after which Eduardo dos Santos took over. Since independence, the power center has been rivaled by Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA. The formal government changed in 1992 from a socialist, one-party system to a multiparty, free market system. Many parties have been founded since then, apart from the MPLA and UNITA, but only the revived FNLA continues to have an impact. In April 1997, UNITA joined the government, but it was suspended in August 1998 for failing to observe the peace agreements signed in Lusaka. The parties began fighting again, and the government won considerable terrain from UNITA. UNITA has become internationally isolated, and the whereabouts of Savimbi is unclear, although UNITA continues to buy weapons through the illegal diamond trade. A number of UNITA defectors, including some in leadership functions, have formed a group called UNITA-renovada and are calling for adherence to the Lusaka protocols. The government announced elections for late 2001, but there is no guarantee that they will be held, or will be free and fair.

Leadership and Political Officials. Both in UNITA-held and government areas, political rallies are an important aspect of the political culture. These meetings usually include songs, dances, speeches, and parades. Often they show conflicting tendencies: Although they are used by politicians to bolster their position, many people criticize their leaders during these gatherings. For people from Luanda and the surrounding area, the yearly carnival in Luanda has become a political arena. For a long time, the MPLA government regarded the continuing importance of traditional leaders in local political life with suspicion, while in UNITA the role of chiefs in political life was more widely accepted.

Social Problems and Control. Administrative and political life is corrupt, and the bureaucracy often borders on the absurd. "Disappearance" has been the fate of many people suspected of political opposition. The armies have been accused of misbehavior, extrajudicial executions, forced enlistment, and child soldiering. The government has acted against freedom of expression and an independent press, while the Ninjas, a special police force, spread terror among the population. In UNITA areas, reports have confirmed extreme human rights abuses, such as torture, kangaroo courts, and unlawful executions. Civilians regard politics with extreme suspicion, and the continuation of the war is widely regarded as resulting from greed for power among the political leaders. It is remarkable how many people find the courage and creativity to continue living in a context of extreme violence and poverty. Nonetheless, some people do not manage: alcoholism and theft are increasing. Witchcraft is perceived by a great number of people as a problem that is not adequately addressed by politicians, the police, and the judiciary.

Military Activity. Political life is centered on the military. After independence, UNITA held the southeast and continued to hold a sway over the central highlands and Lunda Norte. Despite the ongoing war, there have been intervals of negotiation and peace. Between May 1991 and October 1992 a cease-fire was respected by both parties. After UNITA refused to accept the results of the elections held in September 1992, intense fighting broke out again. It is estimated that in the town Huambo alone, 300,000 people died during this phase of the war. In 1994 the Lusaka Protocol was signed by both parties, and in April 1997 a government of national unity and reconciliation was installed that included representatives of UNITA and MPLA. However fighting began again in 1998. Control over the diamond areas in Lunda Norte became an important war aim. The forces of the MPLA have pushed UNITA out of its former capital, Jamba, in the southeast, but fighting along the Zambian and Namibian borders has remained intense. The same situation exists in the Central Highlands, where UNITA is conducting a guerrilla war. In Cabinda, various factions of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) have fought for secession for a long time.

10 Favourite Foods of Angola

An oil and diamond-rich country in Central Africa, Angola was a Portuguese colony until 1975 when she gained independence. This accounts for the major influence that Portugal has on Angola’s cuisine, including the large number of food products imported into the country.

Possessing one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Angola is gradually becoming a hotbed for new businesses and tourism to flourish. Food is a serious affair for Angolans as seen in the beliefs many attach to several of their dishes. For instance, the caldeirada de peixe (a kind of fish stew) is believed to help cure hangovers if eaten before the onset of a headache. Staple ingredients used by Angolans in making dishes include beans, rice, flour, chicken, vegetables and spices like garlic.

Below is a list of the most popular Angolan foods in no particular order.

A most adventurous dish, Cabidela is made with poultry or rabbit cooked in its own blood, added to water with a little vinegar. The blood used in the dish is caught in a bowl while the animal is being slaughtered. The rice eaten with the meal is either cooked separately or with the meat, it’s resulting brownish colour explained by the blood.

A dish made with dried fish, delicious vegetables, red palm oil and spices, fish calulu or calulu de peixe is an Angolan signature dish typically served with Funje, a mashed potato-like substance made from cassava flour. This traditional and filling stew is very rich in flavours and spices and must be given a try.

Funge or funje is a type of cassava flour porridge. It is a classic porridge recipe that is made by stirring fufu (cassava flour) into boiling water. It is used as an accompaniment to many dishes in Angola such as fish calulu, chicken, beans or pork. It is also used to create a tasty balance to the forceful flavor and spiciness of most Angolan dishes.

Moamba de galinha or chicken moamba is an aromatic Angolan chicken stew flavoured with chili, okra, vegetables, and garlic and cooked in red palm oil. This dish, as well as funje, are considered the national dishes of Angola. Another variant of the dish is the moamba de ginguba (which uses peanut sauce instead of red palm oil). Spicy and delicious, moamba de galinha is a must-have for all food lovers.

Made from manioc (cassava flour), Chikuanga is a typical northeastern Angolan specialty for bread lovers. It is served, wrapped in banana leaves, which imbue Chikuanga with a distinctive flavor.

A heavy dessert and pudding made with egg yolks, sugar, ground cinnamon, and grated coconuts, cocada amarela is a popular dessert in Angola. The name, which literally translates to “yellow coconut candy”, draws from the large quantities of egg yolks used, that give the dessert its yellow hue.

This toasted manioc (cassava) flour dish is common in Angola but is originally Brazilian. Farofa can look like large grains, couscous or even table salt sized and is often served with meat, rice, and bean-based dishes due to its tasteless nature. It is also toasted and flavoured with sausages, olives, garlic, boiled eggs, onions, and pork until the farofa is golden brown.

A goat meat stew served with rice, caldeirada de cabrito is a traditional dish served on November 11 to celebrate Angola’s Independence. Seasoned with crushed garlic, bay leaves, white wine and marinated to allow the flavours of the spices sink in properly, Angola’s caldeirada de cabrito is a delight for food lovers.

This favourite white rice dish is complemented with a variety of seafood. When paired with white fish, lobster, or prawns, it is called arroz de marisco. Another variation of the dish is arroz de garoupa da Ilha, which is white rice with grouper fish.

A traditional Angolan dish, feijão de óleo de palma is prepared with beans and palm oil. The palm oil adds a sauce of dark orange with garlic, salt, and onions as spices. Accompanying bananas, toasted manioc (or garri as known in some parts of Africa) as well as grilled fish, and this local dish has its widely eaten variant in Nigeria and some other countries on the African continent.

These are just some of the several local delicacies to savour in Angola. Did I leave out your favourite dish?

1997-98 Tensions Build

When Kabila first became president of the Democratic Repubilc of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, who had helped bring him to power, exerted considerable influence over him. Kabila appointed the Rwandan officers and troops who had participated in the rebellion key positions within the new Congolese army (the FAC), and for the first year, he pursued policies in regard to the continued unrest in the eastern part of the DRC that were consistent with Rwanda's aims.

The Rwandan soldiers were hated, though, by many Congolese, and Kabila was constantly caught between angering the international community, Congolese supporters, and his foreign backers. On July 27, 1998, Kabila dealt with the situation by summarily calling for all foreign soldiers to leave the Congo.


In 1575, the Portuguese started to colonize parts of what is now Angola. Before, some of the land was part of the Kingdom of Kongo.


The MPLA was a communist group fighting for Angolan independence. Its leader was Agostinho Neto. They were supported by the Soviet Union.


UNITA was an anti-communist group also fighting for Angolan independence. Its leader was Jonas Savimbi.


FNLA was another anti-communist independence group. Its leader was Holden Roberto. The US gave them money by funneling it through Zaire.

1970s Edit

In 1975, Portugal signed the Alvor Agreement with MPLA, UNITA, and FNLA. The agreement said that Angola would become independent on 11 November 1975.

1980s Edit

1990s Edit

2000s Edit

The war destroyed a lot of buildings in Angola.

There are still a lot of landmines in Angola from the war. Sometimes they still go off and kill and hurt people.