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Before that date, fighting had broken out between the three major nationalist parties: the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), MPLA, and UNITA.
After independence, UNITA received support from South African troops and was later backed by the United States, while the MPLA came to depend largely on Russian and Cuban aid.
Despite a high annual growth rate, in the beginning of 2000 the population was estimated at 12.6 million.
Since a census has not been held since 1970, the figures are difficult to evaluate.
The Kongo, Ndongo, and Ovimbundu kingdoms had early contact with the Portuguese, who in the sixteenth century created colonies on the coast.
Wars fought against the immigrant Portuguese, such as that waged by Queen Njinga of the Ndongo kingdom, often have been interpreted in a nationalistic framework.
It is difficult to obtain reliable information because the war precludes research in many areas. Angola is a country of 482,625 square miles (approximately 1.25 million square kilometers) in western Africa, south of the Equator.
Thus one cannot speak of a single national culture.
About a million residents have died because of the war.
Nonetheless the population has increased considerably. In 1973 there were 5.6 million residents; by 1992 that number had risen to 12.7 million.
Parades, uniforms, and flags are prominent during many political meetings. Present-day Angola is a construct designed by European politicians at the Conference of Berlin in 1885.
The national flag is red and black with a yellow machete, a star, and a cogwheel segment. Before that time, the area was inhabited by people with different political traditions, ranging from decentralized mobile groups to autocratic kingdoms.
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Six of the Bantu languages were selected as national languages: Chokwe, Kikongo, Kimbundo, Mbunda, Oxikuanyama, and Umbundu.