Bom Jesus, São José do Calumbo and Cacuaco

Lat: -8.776144006827100, Long: 13.369432986414000

Bom Jesus, São José do Calumbo and Cacuaco

Luanda, Bengo and Kwanza Norte, Angola

Historical Background and Urbanism

The expansion and occupation of Angola started with Luanda before crossing the Kwanza River which was the crucial axis for the penetration and establishment of the first colonial villages in the interior. These were naturally located near the crossroads of both the land and river trading routes. This resulted in the arimos, small properties of varied size, usually located near rivers and close to the markets they supplied. The first references date back to the 17th century, and were located near the Bengo River. In order that the territorial occupation should succeed, a series of forts and fortifications was developed along the Kwanza River and towards the interior which generally gave rise to small settlements whose location was determined by political, strategic, military and economic concerns. Its outline showed how it adapted to the topography of the land, giving rise to an orthogonal layout with long streets and squares. Some of these cores became important posts for colonization and/or evangelization such as Massangano, Kambambe and Muxima. Also worthy of mention are, although of secondary importance in relation to the aforementioned places: the village of São José do Calumbo, an important rearguard post on the Kwanza River; the village of Bom Jesus, on the right bank of the Kwanza River which originated in an arimo (later named “fazenda”); and, near Luanda to the north, a small fishing settlement established in the 18th century, named Cacuaco.

Religious Architecture

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