Benguela is a city in the Central Angola Highlands.
Benguela is a city in western Angola that lies on the bay of the same name and is one of Angola's most populous cities. "Benguela was once among the grimmest slave ports on earth...it is estimated that as many as four million slaves were shipped out of Angola or died in raids, on marches to the coast, or at sea." according to Paul Theroux (Th last train to zona verde).
Benguela, a Portuguese fort from 1587 was founded in 1617 by the Portuguese under Manuel Cerveira Pereira. It was a centre of slave trading. Besides the churches of S. Felipe and S. António, the hospital, and the fortress, there were, as of 1911, only a few stone-built houses. A short way beyond Benguela is Baía Farta, where salt was manufactured and sulphur was extracted. Close to Baia Farta was the most beautiful beach of Baia Azul. The city prospered and grew in the following decades. The Benguela Railway was built in the early 20th century by Portugal to connect the city and Lobito to the interior, and it achieved great success when linked to the Copperbelt of Katanga, DR Congo and Zambia. Starting in the early 20th century, Benguela attracted, developed, and retained quality businesses and professionals into its thriving and growing economy. Sisal and fishing industries expanded and the financial, construction and services market boomed until 1974.
During the Angolan civil war, the Benguela Railway was closed with a short distance of 30 km remaining operation.
The town is served by the Benguela Railway.