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Luanda

History

Founded as São Paulo de Loanda on the Ilha de Cabo by 400 Portuguese soldiers and 100 families in 1575, the settlement was moved to the mainland one year later. In 1605 Luanda became a city, and two centuries later its resplendent buildings and flourishing trade earned it the title of the ‘Paris of Africa’. But the Napoleonic comparisons didn’t last. Despite sitting out the worst of the disastrous civil war, Luanda quickly became a refugee camp for millions of desperate internally displaced people fleeing the fighting. Packed to the rafters, it’s still getting over the shock.