During the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch West India Company occupied the principal settlement of Luanda in 1641, using alliances with local peoples to carry out attacks against Portuguese holdings elsewhere.A fleet under Salvador de Sá retook Luanda in 1648; reconquest of the rest of the territory was completed by 1650.
Life for European colonists was difficult and progress slow.
John Iliffe notes that "Portuguese records of Angola from the 16th century show that a great famine occurred on average every seventy years; accompanied by epidemic disease, it might kill one-third or one-half of the population, destroying the demographic growth of a generation and forcing colonists back into the river valleys".
The previous year, the Portuguese had established relations with the Kongo, which stretched at the time from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south.
The Portuguese established their primary early trading post at Soyo, which is now the northernmost city in Angola apart from the Cabinda exclave.
A highly multiethnic country, Angola's 25.8 million people span tribal groups, customs, and traditions.
Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, in the predominance of the Portuguese language and of the Catholic Church.
The Portuguese established several other settlements, forts and trading posts along the Angolan coast, principally trading in Angolan slaves for Brazilian plantations.
Local slave dealers provided a large number of slaves for the Portuguese Empire, In the 16th century Portugal gained control of the coast through a series of treaties and wars.
The exclave province of Cabinda borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, what is now Angola was molded by Portuguese colonisation.