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A National Institute for Cultural Heritage does exist in Luanda, but material from other local museums was either looted or removed to Luanda during the course of the war.
The National Historical Archive, also in Luanda, houses material dating to the 17th century.
Portuguese contact beginning in the late 15th century produced an overlay of European culture that was accepted to varying degrees in much of the northwestern part of the country.
The Portuguese settled at Luanda in 1575 and established the core of colonial Angola in the area approximately 90 miles (150 km) inland from Luanda.
Since independence various government research agencies have tried to collect ethnographic material and to do archaeological studies, but their work has been sporadic and limited by the war.
Western influences, which tend to predominate in the towns, have increasingly overshadowed traditional culture.
In contrast, a class of mixed origin (including government officials, the assimilated African and mulatto population, and, later, the settlers that moved to the country after 1945) that was strongly Portuguese in language and cultural expression developed after 1850 with the Portuguese conquest of the rest of Angola and with the programs of assimilation that were begun in 1910 and intensified after 1926.
Basketball is growing in popularity in Angola, especially owing to the influence of foreign armed forces fighting on Angolan soil.
Precolonial culture in Angola was broadly similar from one end of the country to another, albeit with local variations and some differences stemming from the many, though mostly related, languages spoken in the area.
A common traditional culture is still noticeable in Angola.
Angola’s poverty and civil unrest have provided few opportunities for professional musicians, especially because the Ministry of Culture has exerted much control over commercial music production since independence; despite this, musical expression has flourished in informal sectors.
An ambitious program to expand museums, libraries, and archives, initiated in the postindependence era, has borne little fruit.