LocationBenguela (São Felipe de Benguela, formerly spelled Benguella) is a city in western Angola, south of Luanda, and capital of Benguela Province. It lies on a bay of the same name.
Benguela was founded in 1617 by the Portuguese under Manoel Cerveira Pereira.
A short way beyond Benguela is Baía Farta, where salt is manufactured and sulphur excavated. Close to Baia Farta is the most beautiful beach of Baia Azul. Benguela is Angola's second most famous city and self-appointed cultural capital.
The Benguela Railway was built in the early 20th century 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. Due to the civil war in Angola, which lasted more than 25 years, up to 2002, this railway is not operating any more. Only the short distance of 30 km between Benguela and Lobito remained operational. In the last two years, rehabilitation of the railway between Benguela and Huambo commenced.
In 1983 Benguela had a population of 155,000. During the civil war the city of Benguela increased its population due to refugees from the countryside. While the pre-war part of the city consists of good quality houses, most of the refugees are living today in slum areas.