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The central part of the plateau is drained by the Cuanza (Kwanza), the largest river entirely within Angola’s frontiers, which is about 620 miles (1,000 km) in length.

It runs for roughly half its length in a northerly direction before bending westward through a break in the escarpment between the Malanje highlands and the Bié Plateau, and it flows into the sea about 40 miles (65 km) south of Luanda.

The highest point in the country is The Lunda Divide forms a watershed on the plateau, separating north- and south-flowing rivers.

In the northeast, rivers such as the Cuango (Kwango) flow out of Angola into the mighty Congo River, which forms the boundary between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the final 90 miles (145 km) of its course.

An anticolonial struggle that began in 1961 finally led to independence in 1975.

From a narrow coastal plain, the land rises abruptly to the east in a series of escarpments to rugged highlands, which then slope down toward the centre of the continent.

The southwestern part of the country is drained by the Cunene River (Kunene), which heads south before turning west and breaking through the escarpment at the Ruacana Falls, after which it marks the boundary between Angola and Namibia to the Atlantic Ocean.

Some rivers in the southeast of the plateau flow into the Zambezi River, which itself crosses the Cazombo region in the far eastern extension of the country.

A large country, Angola takes in a broad variety of landscapes, including the semidesert Atlantic littoral bordering Namibia’s “Skeleton Coast,” the sparsely populated rainforest interior, the rugged highlands of the south, the Cabinda exclave in the north, and the densely settled towns and cities of the northern coast and north-central river valleys.

The capital and commercial centre is Angola at the beginning of the 21st century was a country ravaged by war and the related effects of land mines and malnutrition, and it was often dependent on the international community for the basics of survival.

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