Angola, Republic of - (Africa)

Information about Angola, Republic of

1246700 square kilometres
indigenous beliefs 15%, Roman Catholic 70%, Protestant 15% (1998 est.)
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

Christianity came to Angola through Portuguese navigators. Though first efforts seemed promising — notably, in 1518 the son of the King of Congo was conse cratedas a bishop — Christianity did not really expand. Only after 1866 was the country systematically evangelized. The Spiritan Fathers arrived at that time. To this day they have remained the most important missionary order in Angola. Twelve years later the (British) Baptist Missionary Society, which was working in the Belgian Congo, began missionary activities in Northern Angola. They were followed by other missions of different confessional backgrounds from the USA, Canada, Finland, and even Portugal; there were also individual missionary efforts. Today, Angolan Protestantism represents a heterogeneous reality. In the colonial period the various groups worked together in the Evangelical Alliance without official recognition. The Association of Evangelicals in Angola (AEA) and the Council of Evangelical Churches (CAIE) were founded in 1974 and in 1977 respectively, and later the CAIE was transformed into the Council of Churches in Angola (CICA).
Before independence the RCath church was considered to bethechurch. Through a concordat it was closely linked to the State. The Prot churches were considered a foreign presence by the authorities. Their activities were often restricted.
In the 1950s and ’60s various nationalist movements engaged in wars for independence. Portugal finally granted independence in 1975, but the wars continued for many years afterward. Government and liberation movements competed for power. The parties in the conflict were supported by outside partners seeking their own interests. On the one side were the USSR and Cuba and on the other South Africa and the United States. In 1991 a peace agreement was signed in Bicesse, near Lisbon. But conflicts continued. The elections, which had been held in accordance with the Bicesse Agreement, were recognized by the UN and the international community but not by UNITA, one of the liberation movements. The war resumed and brought terrible suffering upon the country. A lasting solution is still not in sight.



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