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Luanda is the capital and largest city in Angola. It is Angola's primary port, and its major industrial, cultural and urban centre. Located on Angola's northern Atlantic coast, Luanda is Angola's administrative centre, its chief seaport, and also the capital of the Luanda Province. Luanda and its metropolitan area is the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world, with over 8 million inhabitants in 2019 (a third of Angola's population).
Luanda, the capital of Angola, is on the Atlantic coast. Its current renaissance is an inspiring success story. Decades of conflict, which only ended in 2002, had long held Angola back. Since the start of the 21st century there has been a massive boom in construction in Luanda, where peace and stability have attracted numerous foreign companies to invest in offices in the city. The government of Angola, getting rich off revenue from oil, diamond and other natural resources, is also investing heavily in and around Luanda, including large social housing high-rise blocks of flats to replace slums and existing dilapidated (and often bullet-ridden) tower blocks; extensive repaving; the construction of several six-lane highways leading out of the city; the reconstruction of railway lines leading out of the city; and a large new airport on the south side is under construction.
Luanda is divided into two parts, the Baixa de Luanda (lower Luanda, the old city) and the Cidade Alta (upper city or the new part). The Baixa de Luanda is situated next to the port, and has narrow streets and old colonial buildings. The city of Luanda is divided in six urban districts: Ingombota, Angola Quiluanje, Maianga, Rangel, Samba and Sambizanga. In Samba and Sambizanga, more high-rise developments are to be built. The capital Luanda is growing constantly - and in addition, increasingly beyond the official city limits and even provincial boundaries. Luanda is the seat of a Roman Catholic 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.
The climate is largely influence by the offshore Benguela current. The current gives the city a surprisingly low humidity despite its low latitude, which makes the warmer months considerably more bearable than similar cities in Western/Central Africa. The city receives an average of 405mm (15.9 in) of rain a year, mostly in heavy amounts in March and April and in lighter amounts from November through February. However, this is quite variable depending on the strength of the current and the coefficient of variation is 40% (there can be a sixfold difference between rain received in the driest of years and wettest of years). The temperatures are fairly stable year-round, with the mildest months being between May (29° max/23° min) and October and the warmest months being November (31° max/25° min) and April.
Luanda was founded in 1575 under the name São Paulo de Loanda by a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers. Two forts were constructed in the early 17th century and the city became Portuguese Angola's administrative centre in 1627. From the late 16th century until 1836, Luanda was the port where nearly all slaves bound for Brazil left. Aside from a brief period of Dutch rule (1640–48), this period was relatively uneventful, with Luanda growing much like many other colonial cities, albeit with a strong Brazilian influence as a result of the extensive shipping trade between these Portuguese colonies. The independence of Brazil in 1822 and the end of slavery in 1836 left Luanda's future looking bleak, but the opening of the city's port to foreign ships in 1844 led to a great economic boom. By 1850, the city was arguably the most developed and one of the greatest cities in the Portuguese empire outside Portugal itself and fuelled by trade in palm and peanut oil, wax, copra, timber, ivory, cotton, coffee, and cocoa. After slavery officially ended (resisted by the Portuguese but enforced by the British) forced labour began. Numerous imported crops grew well in the surrounding area to support residents, such as maize, tobacco, and cassava. In 1889, an aqueduct opened, supplying fresh water and removing the only inhibitor to growth in the city. The city blossomed even during the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–74), which did not affect the city, and this modern city was even labelled the "Paris of Africa" in 1972.
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Johannesburg was a city built for the car and so public transport is in the development process. The Gautrain (a speed train not part of the metro system) is a good, clean and safe way to jump fast between the airport, Malboro, Midrand, Rosebank, Pretoria and Centurion. There are buses and minicabs on the streets, but there tends to be no designated stops, so buses may be flagged down on main roads such as Oxford street and Jan Smuts.
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