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The oil-rich enclave of Cabinda lies north of the Zaire river. Because of the ongoing war, it is difficult to obtain reliable population figures.
Also, the numbers fluctuate as people attempt to flee when the fighting is intense and return when the fighting has calmed down.
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.
The Kongo, Ndongo, and Ovimbundu kingdoms had early contact with the Portuguese, who in the sixteenth century created colonies on the coast.
Portuguese, mestiço, (person of mixed descent) and African merchants and middle men sold millions of slaves who were transported to the Americas on Dutch and Portuguese vessels.
Although the slave trade was stopped in the 1880s, internal slavery continued into the twentieth century.
Many people are able to understand one or more of the national languages, but some forty languages are spoken. The political culture is highly militarized, and in both the National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA) and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) many symbols stem from the military tradition.
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.It is estimated that in May 2000, 350,700 Angolans lived outside the country and another 2.5 million to 4 million were displaced within the national borders.About a million residents have died because of the war.Since a census has not been held since 1970, the figures are difficult to evaluate.Angola has a young population, over 45 percent of which is below fifteen years of age. Over the years, the urban population has grown strongly and more than half the people now live in towns. Many Angolans are bilingual, speaking Portuguese and one or several African languages.
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The capital, Luanda, has drawn in many immigrants—a quarter of all residents now live there. In nearly all cases this is a Bantu language; those speaking a Khoisan language number less than 6,000.