The Portuguese colony of Angola dates from 1576. From 1596 it was placed within the newly established (RC) diocese of San Salvador, comprising the Congo kingdom and Angola. Despite the demoralization of the slave trade, and long periods when there was no bishop, the Church survived; areas in Angola are the only part of sub-Saharan Africa where there has been a continuous local Church since the 16th cent., though by the mid-19th cent. there were few priests. In 1865 French Holy Ghost Fathers took responsibility for the mission and the Church began to revive. Protestant activity, based in Britain and America, began later in the 19th cent. The Independence of Angola in 1975 was followed until 2002 by civil war, in which Baptists and Methodists were often linked with forces opposed to the government, with RCs being more sympathetic to the Marxist rulers. Nearly half the population belongs to the RC Church and under a quarter to Protestant denominations.