Luanda (formerly spelled
Loanda) is the capital and largest city of Angola.
Angola's coast with the Atlantic Ocean, Luanda is both Angola's chief seaport and administrative center and has a
population of at least 5 million (2008). It is also the capital
city of Luanda
Luanda is located at (-8.83833, 13.23444). The city is currently
undergoing a major reconstruction, with many large developments
taking place that will alter the cityscape significantly.
Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias
de Novais founded Luanda in 1575 as "São Paulo de Loanda", with
a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers.
the Portuguese built the fortress called Fortaleza São Pedro da
Barra, subsequently building two more: Fortaleza de São
Miguel (1634) and Forte de São
Francisco do Penedo (1765-6).
Of these, the Fortaleza de São
Miguel is the best preserved.
Luanda was Portuguese Angola's administrative centre from 1627,
except during the Dutch rule of Luanda, from 1640 to 1648, as Fort
Aardenburgh. The city served as the centre of a large
slave trade to Brazil from c.1550
The slave trade was conducted mostly with the
Portuguese colony of Brazil; Brazilian ships were the most numerous
in the ports of Luanda and Benguela. This slave trade also involved
local black merchants and warriors who profited from the
In the 17th century, the Imbangala
the main rivals of the Mbundu
slaves to the Luanda market. In the 1750s
between 5,000 to 10,000 slaves were annually sold. By this time,
Angola, a Portuguese colony, was in fact like a colony of Brazil,
paradoxically another Portuguese colony. A strong degree of
Brazilian influence was noted in Luanda until the Independence of Brazil
in 1822. In
the 19th century, still under Portuguese rule, Luanda experienced a
major economic revolution. The slave
was abolished in 1836, and in 1844 Angola's ports were
opened to foreign shipping. By 1850, Luanda was one of the greatest and
most developed Portuguese cities in the vast Portuguese Empire outside Mainland Portugal, full of trading
companies, exporting (together with Benguela) palm and
peanut oil, wax, copal, timber, ivory, cotton, coffee, and cocoa,
among many other products.
Maize, tobacco, dried meat and
cassava flour also began to be produced locally. The Angolan
bourgeoisie was born by this time.
In 1889 Governor Brito Capelo opened the gates of an aqueduct which
supplied the city with water, a formerly scarce resource, laying
the foundation for major growth. Like most of Portuguese Angola, the cosmopolitan city of Luanda was not
affected by the Portuguese
Colonial War (1961-1974); economic growth and development in
the entire region reached record highs during this period.
In 1972 a
report called Luanda the "Paris of Africa".
Independence from Portugal
By the time of Angolan independence
1975, Luanda was a modern city and the majority of the city's
population was of Portuguese origin. After the Carnation Revolution
in April 1974,
with the advent of independence and the start of the Angolan Civil War
(1975-2002), most of the
Portuguese left as refugees
for Portugal, with many travelling overland to South Africa. There
was an immediate crisis, because the local African population
lacked the skills and knowledge needed to run the city and maintain
its well-developed infrastructure. The large numbers of skilled technicians
among the force of Cuban soldiers
sent in to support the MPLA government in the
Angolan Civil War were able to
make a valuable contribution to restoring and maintaining basic
services in the city.
stretched for miles beyond Luanda's
former city limits, as a result of the decades-long civil war, and
because of the rise of deep social inequalities due to large-scale
migration of civil war refugees from other Angolan regions. For
decades, Luanda's facilities were not adequately expanded to handle
this massive increase in the city's population. After 2002, with
the end of the civil war and high economic growth rates fuelled by
the wealth provided by the increasing oil and diamond production,
major reconstruction started.
Geography and climate
Luanda is divided into two parts, the Baixa de Luanda
(lower Luanda, the old city) and the Cidade Alta
city or the new part). The Baixa de Luanda
next to the port, and has narrow streets and old colonial
Luanda is the seat of a Roman
archbishop. It is also the location of most of
Angola's educational institutions, including the private Catholic University of Angola
and the public University
of Agostinho Neto
. It is also the home of the colonial
Governor's Palace and the Estádio da Cidadela (the "Citadel Stadium"), Angola's main stadium,
with a total seating capacity of 60,000.
Under the Koppen climate
, Luanda features a hot semi-arid
climate. The climate is hot and humid
but surprisingly dry, owing to the cool Benguela Current
, which prevents moisture
from easily condensing into rain. Frequent fog prevents
temperatures from falling at night even during the completely dry
months from June to October. Luanda has an annual rainfall of , but
the variability is among the highest in the world, with a
co-efficient of variation above 40 percent. The short rainy season
in March and April depends on a northerly counter current bringing
moisture to the city: it has been shown clearly that weakness in
the Benguela current can increase rainfall about sixfold compared
with years when that current is strong.
Population of Luanda, 1750-2007
The inhabitants of Luanda are primarily members of African
ethnic groups, including the Ovimbundu
. The official and the most widely
used language is Portuguese
although many Bantu
indigenous languages are also used. There is a small population of
origin, especially Portuguese.
The population of Luanda has exploded in recent years, due in large
part to war-time migration to the city, which is safe compared to
the rest of the country. However, Luanda has recently seen an
increase in violent crime, particularly in the shanty towns that
surround the colonial urban core.
Around one-third of Angolans live in Luanda, 57% of whom live in
poverty. Living conditions in Luanda are extremely poor, with
essential services such as safe drinking water still in short
supply. Luanda is the world's most expensive city, ahead of several
Japanese & European cities.
Manufacturing includes processed foods,
beverages, textiles, cement and other building materials, plastic
products, metalware, cigarettes, and shoes/clothes. Petroleum
(found in nearby off-shore deposits) is refined in the city,
although this facility was repeatedly damaged during the Angolan Civil War
(1975–2002). Luanda has
an excellent natural harbour; the chief exports are coffee
, and salt
. The city also has a
thriving building industry, an effect of the nationwide economic
boom experienced since 2002, when political stability returned with
the end of the civil war. Economic growth is largely supported by
place. Large investment
International), along with strong economic growth, has dramatically
increased construction of all economic sectors in the city of
TAAG Angolan Airlines
head office in Luanda.
Luanda is the starting point of the Luanda railway
that goes due east to Malanje.
The civil war
left the railway
non-functional, but a Chinese firm has taken up a contract to
rebuild many Angolan railways, including the Luanda Railway which
has almost been completed (Oct. 2009.
airport of Luanda is Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, which acts as the largest in the country.
Currently, Luanda has a major International Airport
construction in the southern part of the city, which is expected to
be opened in 2011.
of Luanda is currently serves as the largest port of Angola, and
connects Angola to the rest of the world.
of this port is also taking place, with
the completion of a new complex just last year, the port is
Luanda's roads are currently in a poor state of repair, but are
currently undergoing a massive reconstruction process by the
government in order to relieve traffic
congestion in the city. Major road repairs can be found taking
place in nearly every neighborhood, including a major 6-lane
connected Luanda to Viana
, which is nearing partial completion in October.
Many of the citizens of Luanda rely on privately owned combi taxis
for transport, although recently the city has invested more into a
public bus system.
Angola, which is forecast to be one of the world's fastest growing economies
, has been undergoing a
massive national reconstruction. The central government allocates
funds to all regions of the country, but the capital region
receives the bulk of these funds. Since the end of the Angolan Civil War
has been widespread in the country, and major reconstruction has
been ongoing since 2002.
Major reconstruction in Luanda has been in nearly all aspects of
society. Major road rehabilitation, including road widening,
application of asphalt, and re-routing efforts are all currently
being done throughout Luanda. The Brazilian construction firm Odebrechet, are currently
constructing two six-lane highways. One highway will
provide speedy access to Cacuaco, Viana, Samba, and the Kilamba
Kiaxi district of Luanda to the new airport of Luanda.
The other highway
will connect the city center
of Luanda to Viana
, and is expected to be completed by the end of
Major social housing
is also being
constructed to house those who currently reside in slums, which
dominate the landscape of Luanda. A large Chinese firm has been
given a contract to construct the majority of replacement housing
in Luanda. The Angolan minister of health recently stated poverty
in Angola will be overcome by an increase in jobs and the housing
of every citizen.
- Hugo Ferreira, lead singer of the
band Tantric, was born and lived very
briefly in Luanda.
- Kabongo, artist, prolific production of
oil paintings depicting contemporary scenes (e.g. markets).