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Luanda is the capital and largest city in the country of Angola on the west coast of Africa. Angola was a Portuguese colony begun when explorers from that contry arrived in the late fifteenth century. Prior to this, the territory was ruled by an African monarch who reigned over a region known as the Kingdom of Kongo. Luanda was founded in 1576 by Portuguese colonists, and a brisk slave trade soon developed in the city. The city remained a large center of the slave trade until the 19th-century, with most of its slaves being sent to plantations in Brazil.
Portugal retained control of the country until the mid-20th century, when Angolans mounted a struggle for independence. This was granted by the Portuguese in 1975, and Luanda was proclaimed the capital. Early years of independence were chaotic, as the Angolans did not have the experience needed to run the country after the Portuguese left. Initially, Cuban soldiers were sent to aid Luandans in governing the country. Since then, civil conflict has engulfed much of the country. In 2002, a cease fire was called between the government and rebel factions that ended much of the fighting, including fighting in Luanda. The country is still developing, and services for tourists are scarce outside of Luanda.