Angola's land has been inhabited by Bantu tribes for thousands of years. The Portuguese arrived in 1575 and began an enormous slave trade from Angola to Brazil that took over 3 million people into slavery over the course of 3 centuries. By the late 19th century, Angola was a colony of Portugal, with Portuguese in control of the local government, commerce, and agriculture. But by the 1950s, there was a call for independence, led by the National Front. Guerilla activity soon ensued. The Portuguese ultimately fled and independence was declared on November 11, 1975. Peace did not arrive, however, with civil war erupting between the MPLA and UNITA factions. Though the MPLA set up a Marxist regime, many parts of the country were actually under UNITA control. Fighting continued through the 1980s and it was not until 1991 that a cease-fire was obtained between the government and UNITA. It was short-lived, however, since renewed fighting began after the results of the 1992 elections (the first in the country since 1975). The MPLA won but UNITA's Jonas Savimbi did not accept the election outcome. Though the United Nations tried for 4 years to get the situation under control, the conflict continues and has taken at least 100,000 lives since the 1970s.

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