Angola is a large country which covers some 1 246 700 square kilometres, somewhat larger than the Republic of South Africa, and about as large as France, Spain, and the United kingdom put together. After Zaire, Angola is the largest state in Africa south of the Sahara. It is located between the fourth and eighteenth latitudes south, therefore completely within the tropics, and between the eleventh and thirtieth longitudes east. The country is divided into 16 districts, of which one, Cabinda, forms a completely separate enclave north on the Congo river estuary.
Because it is located in the tropics, the climate of Angola is warm. Because of the size of the country, the differences in altitude as well as the cold Benguela current, there are significant temperature fluctuations. And the decline in humidity from north to south must also be taken into account. Over the largest part of the highlands the humidity is quite low, which causes a relatively pleasant climate.
Angola is considered a relatively unpopulated country. In 1960 the population were counted at 4 840 719, of which 95.3 percent were black, 3.6 percent white and 1.1 percent coloured (mulato). The population density was on average four people per square kilometre. In the same period in South Africa it was fourteen per square kilometre. The distribution was very uneven. Because of climatological differences it was as low as one person per square kilometre in some areas and in others as much as eighteen!
By 1970 the population had grown to 5 673 000 (4.54 people per square kilometre), and by 1977 it was estimated to be close to seven million. Although immigration showed a strong increase in the decade since 1960, and the white population estimated to be about half a million in 1973 (some sources seem to think that's too high), the ratio of black to white was not majorly impacted on at that stage. There were no accurate population count immediately after independence, though. According to René Péllissier about 90 percent of the white population left the country and about 150 000 were killed during the stormy happenings. On the other side, an unknown number of refugees returned from neighbouring states. (Africa South of the Sahara, 1977-78, p. 132.)
Seen from north to south, the following ethnic-linguistic groups are found in Angola: Bakongo, Mbundu, Ovimbundu, Lunda-Chokwe, Nganguela, Nyaneka-Humbe, Herero and Ovambo.
The Kikongo-speaking Bakongo (about 700 000) lives in Cabinda and the area just south of the lower branch of the Congo river, in the districts of Zaïre and Uige. A large part of this nation also lives in the neighbouring Republic of Congo and there is a continual movement across the borders in both directions.
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