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Angolan Civil War
Part of the Cold War and the South African Border War
Date 1975–2002

MPLA military victory; transition towards

a multiparty political system; dissolution of the armed forces of UNITA and FNLA; participation of these movements, as political parties, in the new political system, from 1991/92 onwards; resistance of FLEC continued beyond 2002
 Cuba (1975-1991)
Supported by:
 Soviet Union (1975-89)
East Germany East Germany
 South Africa (until 1989)
Supported by:
 United States
 People's Republic of China
Commanders and leaders
Agostinho Neto
José Eduardo dos Santos
Cuba Arnaldo Ochoa
Cuba Leopoldo Cintra
Soviet Union Konstantin Schaganovich
Jonas Savimbi
Holden Roberto

Angolan troops:

  • 40,000 - 70,000 (1987)
  • 130,000 (2001)

Cuba Cuban troops:

  • 35 000 - 37 000 (1982)
  • 60,000 (1988)

Soviet Union Soviet troops:

  • 1,200 (1985)

UNITA militants:

  • 65,000 (1990, highest)

FNLA militants:

  • 22,000 (1975)
  • 4,000-7,000 (1976)

Union of South Africa South African troops:

  • 20,000 (1976)
Casualties and losses

Cuba 2,077 killed,
15,000 dead, wounded or missing

Soviet Union 54 killed


Union of South Africa 2,300 dead
Over 500,000 civilians killed

The Angolan Civil War was a major civil war in the African country of Angola. It started in 1975 and continued until 2002. The war began right after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975. The Civil War was mostly a fight for power between two former liberation movements, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Other countries got involved in the war because they wanted their own ideologies to win. This made the Angolan war part of the Cold War. In 2002 the MPLA won.

About 500,000 people died in the war. The war also did a lot of damage to buildings in Angola. Because of all the damage, in 2003 80% of Angolans lacked access to basic medical care, 60% lacked access to water, and 30% of Angolan children would die before the age of 5, with an overall national life expectancy of less than 40 years of age.


In 1575, the Portuguese started to colonize parts of what is now Angola. Before, some of the land was part of the Kingdom of Kongo.



The MPLA was a communist group fighting for Angolan independence. Its leader was Agostinho Neto. They were supported by the Soviet Union.


UNITA was an anti-communist group also fighting for Angolan independence. Its leader was Jonas Savimbi.


FNLA was another anti-communist independence group. Its leader was Holden Roberto. The US gave them money.



In 1975, Portugal signed the Alvor Agreement with MPLA, UNITA, and FNLA. The agreement said that Angola would become independent on 11 November 1975.





The war destroyed a lot of buildings in Angola.

There are still a lot of landmines in Angola from the war. Sometimes they still go off and kill and hurt people.

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See also

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