Angola, the general name of the Portuguese possessions on the west coast of Africa south of the equator. With the exception of the enclave of Kabinda (q.v.) the province lies wholly south of the river Congo. Bounded on the W. by the Atlantic Ocean, it extends along the coast from the southern bank of the Congo (6° S., 12° E.) to the mouth of the Kunene river (17° 18' S., 11° 50' E.). The coast-line is some 900 m. long. On the north the Congo forms for 80 m. the boundary separating Angola from the Congo Free State. The frontier thence (in 5° 52' S.) goes due east to the Kwango river. The eastern boundary - dividing the Portuguese possessions from the Congo State and Barotseland (N. W. Rhodesia) - is a highly irregular line. On the south Angola borders German South-West Africa, the frontier being drawn somewhat S. of the 17th degree of S. latitude. The area of the province is about 480,000 sq. m. The population is estimated (1906) at 4,119,000.

The name Angola (a Portuguese corruption of the Bantu word Ngola) is sometimes confined to the 105 m. of coast, with its hinterland, between the mouths of the rivers Dande and Kwanza, forming the central portion of the Portuguese dominions in West Africa; in a looser manner Angola is used to designate all the western coast of Africa south of the Congo in the possession of Portugal; but the name is now officially applied to the whole of the province. Angola is divided into five districts: four on the coast, the fifth, Lunda, wholly inland, being the N.E. part of the province. Lunda is part of the old Bantu kingdom of Muata Yanvo, divided by international agreement between Portugal and the Congo Free State.

The coast divisions of Angola are Congo on the N. (from the river Congo to the river Loje), corresponding roughly with the limits of the "kingdom of Congo" (see History below); Loanda, which includes Angola in the most restricted sense mentioned above; Benguella and Mossamedes to the south. Mossamedes is again divided into two portions - the coast region and the hinterland, known as Huilla.

Physical Features

The coast is for the most part flat, with occasional low cliffs and bluffs of red sandstone. There is but one deep inlet of the sea - Great Fish Bay (or Bahia dos Tigres), a little north of the Portuguese-German frontier. Farther north are Port Alexander, Little Fish Bay and Lobito Bay, while shallower bays are numerous. Lobito Bay has water sufficient to allow large ships to unload close inshore. The coast plain extends inland for a distance varying from 30 to 100 m. This region is in general sparsely watered and somewhat sterile. The approach to the great central plateau of Africa is marked by a series of irregular terraces. This intermediate mountain belt is covered with luxuriant vegetation. Water is fairly abundant, though in the dry season obtainable only by digging in the sandy beds of the rivers. The plateau has an altitude ranging from 4000 to 6000 ft. It consists of well-watered, wide, rolling plains, and low hills with scanty vegetation. In the east the tableland falls away to the basins of the Congo and Zambezi, to the south it merges into a barren sandy desert. A large number of rivers make their way westward to the sea; they rise, mostly, in the mountain belt, and are unimportant, the only two of any size being the Kwanza and the Kunene, separately noticed.

The mountain chains which form the edge of the plateau, or diversify its surface, run generally parallel to the coast, as Tala Mugongo (4400 ft.), Chella and Vissecua (5250 ft. to 6500 ft.). In the district of Benguella are the highest points of the province, viz. Loviti (7780 ft.), in 12° 5' S., and Mt. Elonga (7550 ft.). South of the Kwanza is the volcanic mountain Caculo-Cabaza (3300 ft.). From the tableland the Kwango and many other streams flow north to join the Kasai (one of the largest affluents of the Congo), which in its upper course forms for fully 300 m. the boundary between Angola and the Congo State. In the south-east part of the province the rivers belong either to the Zambezi system, or, like the Okavango, drain to Lake Ngami.