A small territory sandwiched between the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) and the larger Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). Cabinda is the eighteenth province of Angola though they are not contiguous.
The major export from Cabinda is oil. It also exports palm oil, timber (from its tropical forests),coffee and bananas. Wildlife in the area include the elephant, hippopotamus and black antelope. Mineral resources include gold and diamonds. Major urban centers include Thchiowa, Landana and Buco Zau. Cabinda is on the north bank of the river Congo.
Cabinda was settled 2000 years ago. In the fifteenth century a Bantu speaking Ngoy kingdom was established. In 1783, the Portugese established a fort here. The European powers carved up the Congo between them in 1885. Cabinda became a protectorate or Portugal.
The Cabinese are and culturally and racially distinct from the Angolan people (Angola was a Portugese colony between 1482 and 1975). However, in 1975 shortly after Angola gained independence (under communist leadership), Cabinda was annexed1 with Soviet and Cuban military help and the complicity of the socialist government in Lisbon.
Oil was discovered during the sixties off the coast of Cabinda. Chevron have drilled the oil which is a major source of revenue for the Angolan goverment (the MPLA). The oil has helped them secure weapons supplies in the long struggle against UNITA.
A seccionist guerrilla war has raged sporadically in Cabinda. The front of liberation of the state of Cabinda (FLEC), riven by internal disputes, has split into FLEC-FAC and FLEC-Renovah. FLEC-FAC is headed by N'zita Tchiago. The provisional government of Cabinda sits in exile in Paris. FLEC and the MPLA have concluded various half-hearted ceasefires quickly followed by more violence. FLEC habitually kidnap foreigners, (e.g. the kidnap of Chevron employees) to garner ransom monies.
In 1992 a clear majority in Cabinda abstained from Angolan elections. Their struggle for self-determination has been largely ignored by the international community.
1It is uncertain whether Cabinda could be set to have been formally annexed by Angola. According to Gritchka Cabinda never enjoyed any separate existence after 1956. It was in the same administrative region as Angola and didn't have its own governor and didn't issue its own stamps. In that case Angola had every right to move its troops into the area to quell any seccessionist activity.