Luanda Day in Angola Date in the current year: January 25, 2024

Luanda Day in Angola Luanda Day is an Angolan municipal holiday celebrated to commemorate the foundation of the capital and largest city in Angola by the Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais. It is marked with various festive events.

Angola, alongside Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe, is one of African countries that used to be Portuguese colonies. The Portuguese first explored the northwestern coast of what is now Angola in 1484, but it took them almost a century to establish their first settlement there.

Paulo Dias de Novais (the grandson of the famous explorer Bartolomeu Dias who was the first European to sail around the southernmost tip of Africa) first arrived in Angola with several Jesuit priests in 1560. He intended to negotiate with the ruler of the Kingdom of Ndongo, but negotiations fell through, and Dias de Novais returned to Portugal in 1564.

In 1571, King Sebastian, determined to strengthen the Portuguese presence in North Africa, appointed Dias de Novais as Captain-Governor of Angola and tasked him with expanding Portuguese territory in Angola and building forts and churches. Dias de Novais spent several years preparing for his next expedition and set sail from Portugal on October 23, 1574. He was accompanied by four hundred soldiers, and about a hundred families that would become the first Portuguese settlers in Angola.

On February 11, 1575, Dias de Novais arrived in Ilha de Luanda, a sandspit of the coast de Luanda. The settlers spent several months there and even erected a church before moving to the mainland in 1576, having received a permission to do so from the king of Ndongo.

On January 25, 1576, Dias de Novais founded the settlement of São Paulo de Loanda (“[the city of] Saint Paul in Luanda”). The word “Loanda”, later spelled “Luanda”, was the name the African inhabitants had given to the island. Luanda was incorporated as a city in 1605; the Portuguese subsequently built three fortresses there: the Fortress of São Pedro da Barra (1618), the Fortress of São Miguel (1634), and the Fortress of São Francisco do Penedo (1765).

Until the mid-19th century, Luanda served as a major center of slave trade. Even after the abolition of slavery in Portuguese colonies, local slave traders continued to sell slaves to the newly independent Brazil. Following the final abolition of the slave trade, Luanda was opened to foreign shipping and became a major port of export for cocoa, coffee, copal, cotton, ivory, palm and peanut oil, timber, wax, and other local products.

During the Estado Novo regime in Portugal, Luanda grew from a modest town to a wealthy cosmopolitan major city with a high level of economic development and good infrastructure. So it is not surprising that it became the capital of Angola following the country’s independence in 1975.

In honor of Luanda Day, the capital of Angola hosts live concerts, carnival performances, capoeira demonstrations, exhibitions, and other festive events celebrating the history and culture of Luanda.

Remind me with Google Calendar


Anniversaries and Memorial Days



Luanda Day in Angola, holidays in Angola, official holidays, municipal holidays, holidays in Luanda, foundation of Luanda