Soyo is a historic city that well reflects the encounter between peoples of different cultures. It was in this region where the first contacts occurred between the first landed-Europeans and ancient peoples from the Kingdom of Congo in the fifteenth century, precisely at the mouth of the great Zaire or Congo’s river, which traverses the city of Soyo.
Formerly known as Santo António do Zaire, Soyo is a city located in the province of Zaire in Angola and has recently become the largest oil-producing region in the country, with an estimate of 1,200,000 barrels per day.
Portuguese navigator Diogo Cão docked his caravels in 1482, in the fifteenth century, serving King D. João II of Portugal. He arrived in the territory that today comprises Angola, having found a well-organized administrative region. Thinking he had reached the extreme point of Africa (originally called the “Cape of Storms”, then Cape of Good Hope), Diogo Cão entered the river and reached M'Banza Congo, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Congo, which, like the Soyo watched the arrival of the Portuguese and later the Christian evangelization.
the nearby port in M'Pinda, where a huge cross marks the first Catholic Mass prayed in Angola. At the base of the cross, says: "From the Cross the Light" and "In Memory of the First Baptizes" (where the first inhabitants of Soyo were baptized in 1491, including Mani-Soyo, uncle and representative of King Nzinga Nkuvo from Congo, who was baptized 'Manuel').
At the time, M'Pinda was an important port of Soyo, where the first product trades such as copper and ivory were made, but then was used to trade slaves. It is estimated that more than 60,000 slaves were sent to S. Tomé and Brazil from M'Pinda; trades that would eventually provoke rebellion against the Portuguese colonists.
A gift of nature geographically adjacent to Soyo is the passage of the Zaire River, the second largest in Africa after the Nile; it is also the second in flow and forms the second largest hydrographic basin in the world. At its present flow levels, it is the seventh largest river in the world and the second in extend of water. It is navigable in Angolan territory to the county of Nóqui, about 80 nautical miles from the city of Soyo, along which inhabit small fishing communities.
The province of Zaire, where Soyo is located has six municipalities, about 600 000 inhabitants and borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The climate is tropical humid, suitable for the production of coffee (which is no longer made), cassava, sweet potato, banana, beans, citrus fruits, peanuts and cashews, among others, as part of a subsistence peasant agriculture. (TAAG Austral Magazine)