The regime was established in 1975, after Portuguese Angola, a colony, was granted independence from Portugal through the Alvor Agreement. The situation in Portugal's other former large African colony, the People's Republic of Mozambique, was similar. The newly-founded nation had friendly relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the People's Republic of Mozambique. The country was governed by the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which was responsible for the transition into a Marxist-Leninist one-party state. The group was backed by both Cuba and the Soviet Union.
An opposing group, known as the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), led by Jonas Savimbi, sparked a civil war with the MPLA, with the backing from both apartheid South Africa and the United States, establishing the Democratic People's Republic of Angola in opposition to the People's Republic of Angola.
In 1991, the MPLA and UNITA signed the peace agreement known as the Bicesse Accords, which allowed for multiparty elections in Angola.
In 1992, the People's Republic of Angola was constitutionally succeeded by the Republic of Angola and elections were held. However, the peace agreement did not last, as Savimbi rejected the election results and fighting resumed across the country until his death in 2002.