Like several other northern African nations, Angola is a member of OPEC and generates a great amount of its wealth from oil production. It is Africa’s second largest oil producer, trailing only behind Algeria. Due to newly found oil reserves, Angola now has one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Portugal began colonizing Angola in the 1300s when they identified Angola as a convenient coastal trading location. Portugal officially designated territorial rights to Angolan land to itself in 1575. This long history of Portuguese occupation has had heavy influence on modern Angola. The country’s official language is Portuguese, though smaller populations speak several native Bantu languages as well.
- Angola’s motto, ‘Virtus Unita Fortior’ means ‘Virtue is stronger when united’ in Latin.
- Angola received its independence in 1974 when a Portuguese military coup overthrew Portugal’s dictatorship and gave Portugal’s African colonies their independence.
- Angola houses the Ruacana Falls, which are southern Africa’s fourth-largest set of waterfalls, and one of Africa’s natural wonders.
- The Iona National Park, located in southwest Angola, near the Namibian border, is Angola’s largest national park. It covers 5,850 square miles (15,200 sq. km.), and is one of Angola’s many game reserves and national parks.
- Angola is Africa’s third biggest diamond producer, but 60 percent of Angolan land thought to possess diamonds has gone unexplored.
- Luanda, Angola’s capital city, has been consistently ranked as the world’s most expensive city for foreigners. Construction in the city has been booming in order to appeal to luxury-seeking expats and the country’s own growing wealthy population.
- Angola’s flag was inspired by the Soviet Union’s. They feature the same design pattern and similar imagery.
- In Angola, it is typical to bow one’s head when greeting elders.
- Until recently, it was illegal to take the country’s currency, kwanza, outside of its borders.