Luanda is the capital of Angola. It is on the Angola's Atlantic coast. Its current renaissance is a truly inspiring success story. In recent history, the center of decades of conflict, the start of the 21st century has seen 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 highrises to replace slums and existing dilapidated (and often bullet-ridden) highrises; extensive repaving; the construction of several six-lane highways leading out of the city; the reconstruction of railroad lines leading out of the city; and a large new airport currently being constructed outside of town (projected opening in 2019).
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 center in 1627. From the late 16th century until 1836, Luanda was port where nearly all slaves bound for Brazil left. Aside from a brief period of Dutch rule (1640-48), this time 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. With 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 the 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 fueled by trade in palm and peanut oil, wax, copal, timber, ivory, cotton, coffee, and cocoa. Post-emancipation (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 labeled the "Paris of Africa" in 1972.