History in Luanda

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Luanda is the capital of Angola and is located on the Atlantic coast of the country. For Luanda, history dates back to when the Portuguese ruled centuries ago. Once referred to as the "Paris of Africa," Luanda is a land of rich culture and is home to at least 5 million inhabitants.

Early History and Portuguese Rule

In 1575, a Portuguese explorer, Paulo Dias de Novals, founded Luanda with hundreds of families and soldiers, and called the city "São Paulo de Loanda." The Portuguese later built the fortresses known as Fortaleza Sao Pedro de Barra, Fortaleza de Sao Miguel and Forte de Sao Francisco do Penedo. The Fortaleza de Sao Miguel is well-preserved today.

Luanda was the center for a large slave trade to Brazil until 1836. The slave trade was performed mostly with the Portuguese colony of Brazil, as Brazilian ships were abundant in the ports of Luanda. The trade also included local black merchants and warriors who gained from the trade. In the 17th century, the Mbundu became the biggest rivals of the Imbangala in supplying slavery to Luanda. During this time, thousands of slaves were sold yearly. The slave trade was abolished in 1836 when Luanda experienced a dramatic economic change.

in 1844, Angola's ports were opened to foreign shipping, and soon after, Luanda had become one of the most developed Portuguese cities. Luanda was abundant with trading companies that exported supplies and products. Governor Brito Capelo opened the gates of an aqueduct in 1889, supplying Luanda with water which had been scarce before. This laid the infrastructure for major growth within the city, and Luanda soon became a cosmopolitan city. In 1972, Luanda was called the "Paris of Africa" by a report, as the city had grown into a wealthy and cultivated area.

Modern History and Separation from the Portuguese

Following the Carnation Revolution in 1974, most of the Portuguese left Luanda as refugees. This caused an immediate catastrophe due to the fact that the local African population lacked the knowledge and skill needed to maintain Luanda's sophisticated infra-structure. A number of skilled technicians were sent from Cuba to help restore the city, but soon after, slums developed within the city due to migration during the war and there was a massive increase in population. In 2002, the civil war ended, and the economy of Luanda grew because of increasing diamond and oil production. Major city restorations began at that time.

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