Cabinda (kəbĭnˈdə) [key], Angolan exclave (1991 est. pop. 163,000), c.2,800 sq mi (7,300 sq km), W Africa; administered as a province. The town of Cabinda is the chief population center. The territory is bounded on the N by Congo (Brazzaville), on the E and S by Congo (Kinshasa), and on the W by the Atlantic Ocean. Cabinda was once geographically contiguous with Angola but was separated from it in 1885 when the Belgian Congo (Congo [Kinshasa]) acquired a corridor to the sea along the lower Congo River. The inhabitants, in addition to the local languages, speak French typically instead of Portuguese (the European language that predominates in Angola). Largely tropical forest, the region produces hardwoods, coffee, cacao, crude rubber, and palm oil products. Petroleum production from large offshore reserves began in 1968 and now accounts for most of Angola's output.
A Portuguese protectorate was established in Cabinda in 1880s; in the 1950s the region was absorbed into Portugal's overseas province of Angola. Cabinda was the scene of heavy fighting during the war for independence from Portugal (1961–75). After independence, the region did not benefit from its offshore oil wealth, fueling resentment of the Angolan government and persistent fighting by Cabindan separatists. The Angolan army, which has been accused of human rights abuses in Cabinda, gained the upper hand in the fighting in 2002. In 2006 the main separatist group declared a cease-fire and was a party to a peace agreement for the province, but splinter forces have continued to fight.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.