Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Historic City Series: Sumbe

On the South coast of Angola, a few miles from Luanda, is located the splendorous city of Sumbe, capital of the Kwanza-South province.  Sumbe comes from the word, in the national language kimbundo, “Kussumba”, which in Portuguese means “Buy”.

Historians indicate that the location of the city of Sumbe was significant as the city was always a central trade hub. Regular trade items between the peoples of the interior and the coast occured in the trade of salt and fish, as well as the fabrics brought by the Europeans have long served to feed the supply chain.  Significantly, historians note that Sumbe was a major trade port involved in the transfer and sale of black slaves. 

The importance of the place led the Portuguese colonial authorities to think about the founding of a city, also motivated by the “necessity of defense against incursions of English and French pirates and the link between the realms of Luanda and Benguela, as well as the copper mines”.  It was in this region, more precisely in Kicombo, that the Portuguese-Brazilian Salvador Corrêa de Sá e Benevides first anchored his fleet of caravels from Brazil, in 1648, and prepared the expedition which was to expel the Dutch who occupied Luanda.

According to historical data, the foundation of the city beganon January 7, 1768, when Governor Inocêncio de Sousa Coutinho commanded a brigade of engineers to make the choice of where they should establish a prison under the name of Novo Redondo. Its development took place from 1785 with the construction of the first stone fortress; the first church was built in 1811, while the first health services emerged in 1872 through the doctor Francisco Joaquim Vieira.

According to History, Novo Redondo was the first Angolan place to have home lighting, supplied by the hydroelectric dam of Cambongo’s River, later expanded and improved with the current treatment station for 50 years.

But the city has also been called Ngunza Cabolo after Angola's independence in 1975, in honor of the resistant leader to colonial occupation also called "Prince of the Wild."  But the city regained its original name – Sumbe, until today, equipped with its coastline of beautiful beaches, but also with
highlands such as Gungo, where we can find Hill Chamaco, which exceeds the thousand feet. It is a population of about 35 000 inhabitants, consisting predominantly of Mupindas, Mussel, Bailundos, Lumbar and Amboins and that in what concerns education benefits from loans from organic units of
the Katyavala Bwila University. This University has 13 courses in three Faculties and Institutes installed both in Sumbe, as in cities of Benguela and Lobito.  

The Economic activity of the population is centered on fishing and agriculture, particularly corn, potato and horticultural, as well as livestock and cattle.(TAAG Austral Magazine, 2011)

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