1. Angola was colonised for nearly 500 years

Portuguese explorers first reached Angola in 1484. Luanda, which is today the capital of Angola, was established in 1575. Angola was a major source for slaves, destined for the Americas. About a million people were taken from what is today Angola to the Americas between 1580 and the 1820s. Angola finally became independent from Portugal in 1975 after a continuous Portuguese presence for nearly 500 years.

2. The country is very rich in resources

Angola is the world’s fourth-biggest producer of diamonds (and second in Africa). It is the eighth-biggest oil exporter in the world, and the second-most prolific producer in Africa, after Nigeria. Oil accounts for more than 90% of Angola’s exports, with nearly half of all exports going to China. China is also a major importer, as are Portugal, the United States, and South Africa.

Over 90% of Angola’s exports are made up of crude petroleum.

3. Angola is actually split into two parts

The province of Cabinda is an exclave of Angola (an exclave is a part of a country separated from the rest of the country by a piece of land). It is found to the north of the main part of Angola and is separated by a strip of land belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo (which gives the DRC access to the sea). Most of Angola’s oil is found in Cabinda with some estimates putting it as high as 60%.

4. Angola endured 40 years of constant war

In the early 1960s, armed resistance against Portuguese colonial rule in Angola began. Portugal eventually relented and gave Angola independence in 1975, but the various Angolan independence movements soon turned on each other. The main belligerents in this phase of the war were the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), supported by Cuba and the Soviet Union, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), supported by South Africa. The war finally ended in 2002, with the death of UNITA’s leader, Jonas Savimbi.

5. Angola’s capital is one of the world’s most expensive cities

In 2017 Luanda, the capital of Angola, was rated as the most expensive city in the world for expats, pushing Hong Kong into second place. Renting a three-bedroom flat in Luanda can cost as much as  $13 000 per month. Tokyo, Zurich and Singapore comprised the rest of the top five.

See also: Five things you didn’t know about Zimbabwe