Luanda is the largest city and capital of Angola. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, it is both Angola's chief seaport and administrative centre. It has a population of approximately 3 million (1995), and is the capital city of Luanda Province.
Manufactures include processed foods, beverages, textiles, cement and other construction materials, plastic products, metalware, cigarettes, and shoes. Petroleum, found nearby, is refined in the city although this facility has been repeatedly damaged during the civil war. Luanda has an excellent natural harbour, and the chief exports are coffee, cotton, sugar, diamonds, iron, and salt. However, the economy of Luanda continues to be severely disrupted by the ongoing military conflicts in Angola.
The inhabitants of Luanda are primarily members of African ethnic groups, including the Ovimbundu , Kimbundu and Bakongo tribes. The official language is Portuguese, although many Bantu-related indigenous languages are spoken. There is a very small population of European origin.
Founded in 1575 by the Portuguese as São Paulo de Luanda, the city has been the administrative centre of Angola since 1627 (except for 1640–1648). From c.1550 to c.1850 it was the center of a large slave trade to Brazil.
After Angolan independence (1975), much of the city's large Portuguese population left and was replaced by large numbers of Cubans, many of them soldiers. It is the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop. It is also the location of the University of Angola, the 17th-century Fort of São Miguel, and the Governor's Palace.