Lat: -5.558046000000200, Long: 12.193837000138000


Cabinda, Angola

Historical Background and Urbanism

The present day province of Cabinda in the Republic of Angola was, in the period of colonial rule, a district that Henrique Galvão considered, in the 1940s, “the most valuable territory of the entire Portuguese empire”, although he regarded the town as “sleepy and sad”. He alluded particularly to the natural resources which, way before the start of oil exploration, placed the enclave in a leading position within the Angolan context – timber, coffee, cocoa, and palm groves. Dating roughly from the same period, there is a known Plano de Urbanização de Cabinda e suas zonas (Urbanization plan of Cabinda and its areas) – which uses the model of the garden city, heavily promoted in the first quarter of the 20th century, with an open, tree-lined plan. Notwithstanding, the contacts of Portuguese and other Europeans with the coastal region of Cabinda – the former kingdoms of Loango, Kakongo and N’Goio – were precarious until the late 19th century and were focused on the slave trade. It was only in the late 19th century that a small settlement named Porto Rico was established, purchased in 1885 from the Cabinda family Franque to serve as the seat of government for the district of Congo and which was the origin of the present day city. In that year Cabinda was visited by a Porto-born photographer based in Luanda, Cunha Moraes, who described it as “a large bay where some rivers discharge; trade in this port is of little importance, with only four Portuguese factories, two Dutch and one English (which is the main one), belonging to Hatton & Cookson”. But even before the stage of effective occupation that followed the Berlin Conference (1885), there are accounts on the construction of a Portuguese fortress and a trading post in 1783, which were destroyed the following year by a French naval force. There is a plan of the fortress, designed by its public works contractor, colonel Luís Pinheiro Furtado, reproduced by Luís Silveira. Cabinda was elevated to city status in 1956, although it was already the capital of the homonymous district (once much larger and called district of Congo). The beginning of the activity of the concessions for oil prospecting and exploitation in 1954, with the establishment of the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, made for significant urban expansion and the construction of modern buildings, not only residential, such as hotels, cinemas, sports pavilions, a hospital and a regional airport. To the much altered hundred-year-old residential palace of the governors, located at the top of a hill dominating the bay, were added modern buildings including the cathedral, the town hall and the Cinema Chiloango. In the vicinity of the city stands the monument celebrating the Treaty of Simulambuco, signed on the 1st February 1885 between Portugal and the “Princes of Cabinda”, the local authorities, recognizing Portuguese sovereignty over the enclave.

Religious Architecture

Equipment and Infrastructures