For more posts click on our history tag. Also, visit our new Angola History Resources page to see a list of archives, websites & books.

Mediateca Luanda had an interesting exhibition of historic photos of Angola’s first president António Agostinho Neto, son of an Angolan Methodist pastor. Below are copies of some of the photos from the Mediateca display which took place in September, 2014.

Click on image to download PDF.
“Tucked in amidst Luanda’s towering new skyscrapers, the city’s historic churches are some of the most beautiful and architecturally significant buildings still standing…”

Click here to download a PDF of “Jewels among the skyscrapers/ Jóias entre arranha-céus” (English and Portuguese), an article about the past and present of Luanda’s historic churches. This article reproduced from Calemas magazine by kind permission of BP (Exploration) Angola Limited. Issue 28, June 2013/ Junho 2013.


Fighting against Enslavement: José Manuel and Nbena in Benguela, 1816-1818

The Angola Field Group video taped a presentation held on November 29, 2012 by Dr. José C. Curto, the author of Enslaving Spirits: The Portuguese‑Brazilian Alcohol Trade at Luanda and its Hinterland, c. 1550‑1830. He is presently Associate Professor of History at York University in Toronto, where he is also Deputy-Director of the Harriet Tubman Resource Center on the African Diaspora. Dr. Curto shared the true, historic story of two Angolans forced into slavery: Nbena and José Manuel, both living in Beguela from 1816-1818. Listen to Dr. Curto share Nbena’s history here on our YouTube channel. Click here and here to read more blog posts about the presentation.

Benguela c. 1860.

Benguela c. 1860. Photo courtesy Dr. José C. Curto.

Photos of historic churches in Angola’s capital, Luanda, taken in October 2012:

A Igreja do Carmo (The Church of Our Lady of Carmel)
A Igreja de Jesus (The Church of Jesus)


Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape Church)

A Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Church of Our Lady of Remedies)

A Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré (Church of Our Lady of Nazareth)

(photos courtesy Robin Koning)



Sunday Oct. 11, 2009. “Historic/Architectural Tour of downtown Luanda Field Trip” led by architect Liza Leal.

Alto das CruzesField group congregated in front of Alto das Cruzes Cemetery in the Cruzeiro.

•    1680 – Already established as a cemetery around an old Church
•    1859 – Walls and gates erected – Neo-classical Gate

Nossa Senhora Nazere
The entry way and church yard of  the Ermida (Chapel) da Nossa Sra. da Nazaré, the small church on the marginal. (For more historic details scroll down to February 2009 historic church tour field trip below).
•    Built on Ruins of Sta. Cruz fort
•    1664 Portuguese Tropical Architecture
•    C19 – had an adjacent cemetery
•    1922 – Was first Monument Declared in Luanda by then Governor

palacio ferro
The Palácio de Ferro, reputedly designed by Eiffel. Recently renovated by DeBeers, the building has not yet been opened nor has it been announced what it will be used for.
•    José António dos Santos and José Farinha Leitão (Sá Leitão e Ca, Lta) bought the Steel Structure and made it their head Office; traded in agricultural products
•    No reference in Eiffel’s Records in Paris

palacio dona joaquina
Palacio D. Ana Joaquina
•    Original Building completely demolished 2000. Current building is a replica.
•    Original house dated from 1755 was house of slave trader Ana Joaquina dos Santos da Silva
•    House had a Terrace to the Front – given up in 1950 to widen the road.

Provincial Gov't
Lisa Leal explaining the architecture ofthe Provincial Government building.
•    Architect – Artur Gomes da Silva. Pre-fabricated Steel structure
•    1911 (works begun 1890)

Igreja do Carmo

The bell tower of Igreja do Carmo (scroll down for more details) – completed in 1689
•    Carmelites started Church construction  in 1660
•    When the front of the Church was subject to urban development, the small cemetery was moved to Alto das Cruzes

Salvador Correira school

Map of the world done in tile on the front of Salvador Correia School now called Mutu Ya Kevela, on Avenida Lenin,
•    1944 – Architect José Costa e Silva, inaugurated 1945

Maianga Station

The Maianga Station, Cidade Alto – an old train station, located just before the Maxi store.

•    1888 inaugurated the first 45km stretch Luanda-Lunda by Real Companhia dos Caminhos de Ferro
•    Close to the Palace – used by Governors to travel to Country
•    Track reached Lucala 1900, Malange 1908
station master's house
The Train Master’s house located just across the street from the Maianga Train Station.

Maria Pia Hospital
Entrance to Hospital Maria Pia (currently Josina Machel) near Bairro Azul

•    Hospital opened – 1 July 1883
•    Neo-Classical façade – Planned on a Modular Distribution System – gave the wards fresh air and light

Igreja de Jesus
, located on the left hand side of the Palace (scroll down for more details).
•    Jesuits started building church and school in 1607, austere Baroque style
•    During Dutch Occupation (1641-1648), was a protestant church
•    By 1854, used as mechanic workshop of Public Works (Livingstone mentioned state of disrepair of Church in his memoirs).
•    Façade 16 columns and 3 levels. Used to have Italian Mosaic – 4 columns are missing – were used to build a Monument for King João IV

detail Remedios da ParaiaA detail of the church’s cupola at the back of the Igreja Nossa Sra dos Remédios da Praia (scroll down for more details).
•    Monument of Public interest since 1949, Facing West , with two stone towers and steel pinnacles
•    First Stone laid in 1652, but construction began in earnest in 1655-1679

grande hotel

Grande Hotel, housed dislocated families from civil war till recently. Boarded off in the last year.
•    1910 – First Luxury Hotel; located close to dock

grand hotel

Exterior of the Grande Hotel.

bay of Luanda

Bay of Luanda
•    Originally a retaining wall & gradually added the Marginal in the 1930s

Nossa Senhora Cabo

Igreja da Nossa Sra. do Cabo located on the Ilha (scroll down for more details).
•    Original Building marks where Paulo Dias left, 1669 – Current Building
•    Inhabited mostly by slaves of people living in Luanda, vegetable gardens located

All photos taken by Henriette Koning except for Bay of Luanda photo taken by Liz Feit.

Feb. 28, 2009 “Seven Historic Churches Tour” field notes:

These notes were kindly provided to the Field Group by our guide Irma Maria Amélia, a Franciscan nun who received her doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical Georgian University in Rome and a Master’s degree in Linguistics and Modern Languages from Stanford University. Footnotes are listed at the end of the document and more photos will be added soon.

In 1575, Paulo Dias de Novais disembarked on the Ilha do Cabo (Cape Island), accompanied by 700 people from Portugal and Brasil. They noticed that the Island was inhabited by a numerous population. The island was the only Bakongo possession in the South. Paulo Dias de Novais, in 1576, one year after his arrival, decided to start São Paulo de Loanda village on the mainland. His first action was to place the first stone for the construction of a church on the high place that nowadays is The Central Museum of the Angolan Armed Forces (former St. Michael Fortress[1-]). The Church had St. Sebastian as its patron saint.[2]

1. Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape Church)

Foundation – 1575 / 1669

When Paulo Dias de Novais arrived at the Luanda Island in 1575, he was informed that a small church had already been built there by a few Portuguese merchants, who were on the island[3]. He and his fleet attended their first Mass there.

The Portuguese started calling the native men of the Island Axiluandas (men of the sea) because, upon their arrival, they asked them: “What are you doing?” and they answered in Kikongo: “Uwanda”, meaning their specific work with nets. The name “Luanda,” is derived from this association as well as with “Lwuanda”[4], the magic religious meeting place of Wanga[5] rites, being the Island of Luanda one of them.

That small church on the island was dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and it was the first Portuguese church to have been built in Angola, prior to 1575. After the Portuguese regained Angola from the Dutch, in 1648, a new and larger church was built on the same site of the former church. The new construction was completed in 1669, and was given the name of Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape), because of its location almost on the point of the island.

In 1854, The Church de Nossa Senhora do Cabo was elevated to Parish Church of the adjacent islands by the request of the Commander of those islands and under the provision of Bishop Moreira Reis. This church is characterized by a secular cross, an elegant lateral stone tower and by its solid stone construction.


2. Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Church of the Immaculate Conception)

Foundation -1583 / 1590

The first parish in Luanda was dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Its construction started around 1583. The oldest document referring to the parish appears in 1590. This church was made of mud or lath and plaster walls, wood pillars, and covered with a cane palm batten roof.

In 1653, the Parish Priest suggested that a more dignified church should be built.   He believed that the churches built by the Jesuit Fathers and laymen of the Third Religious Order of Saint Francis were better built, and better decorated.  He mentioned that 25 years were gone since he had assumed the role as a parish priest. He was trying to convey a strong message to the governor: If the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception had been built like the typical construction method of the gentiles, more than 50 years back, it deserved a new construction.

The parish priest also emphasized that the Church was being used as the Cathedral See of Angola/Congo for about 25 years, according to a historical document. Bishop Dom Francisco do Sobral didn’t go to Congo, where the Cathedral See had been located since May 1596. This Bishop preferred his Diocese to be based in Luanda. Therefore, he made the mother church of the Immaculate Conception the Cathedral See of Angola/Congo, on July of 1628. In a report for the Holy See, on the visit ad sacra limina, in 1640, the Bishop wrote that in the mother church of the Immaculate Conception, the liturgical services were celebrated with much perfection; and the Canonical Hours were recited, being presided by the Bishop himself.

They saw a new construction being started in 1653, and in 1668 the first mass was celebrated in the new church. At the opening ceremony, the Bishop said: “Because of the grandness of this structure, today, this city has become more credible; and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has a more appropriate house”.

However, this church, like others, couldn’t withstand time and faulty maintenance.  It ceased to be the Cathedral See in 1818. Thus, from 1818 to 1828 (date when it moved to the Church of Our Lady of the Remedies), the Cathedral See of Angola/Congo passed by the Church of Saint Joseph’s Convent of the Third Order of Saint Francis;[6] by the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks;[7] and by the Church of Misericórdia, for short periods of time.

From the Church of the Immaculate Conception only the tower remains. In 1881, the then-Governor took advantage of the tower to install in it the Meteorological Observatory Joao Capelo.

3. Igreja da Misericórdia (Church of Mercy)

Foundation – 1621 / 1624

Queen Leonor of Portugal ordered that the Church of Misericórdia and also a hospital should start their construction from 1621 to 1624.  The hospital was constructed to treat both,   military and civilian patients.

The Church of the Misericórdia was constructed to render religious services to all the social services administered by the Santa Casa da Misericórdia. The constructions took place on the area that today is known as “cidade alta”. The whole construction was finished in 1679.

In 1883, Maria Pia Hospital[8] was inaugurated to replace the former hospital, which became the military law courts. The Church of the Misericórdia from around 1820 to 1975 served as a parish church. The parish took the name of the former one “Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception”, that due to faulty maintenance had closed its doors in 1818.

After 1975, the Church of Misericórdia started falling in a degrading condition.  It was restored recently by the government of Angola to be used only for cultural events.

4. A Igreja de Jesus (The Church of Jesus)

Foundation – 1612 / 1636

Details from wooden carving in The Church of Jesus, showing baptism of Queen Ginga

Is it believed that the Church of Jesus and a boarding school of the same name (Colégio de Jesus) started their construction on January of 1612. The Governor and Conqueror, Paulo Dias de Novais, awarded the land to the Jesuit Fathers for services rendered.  It was located on what was then called Praça da Feira (Market Square); today is called “O Largo do Palácio”.

On the 3th of December of 1620, the construction of the Church of Jesus had not yet been finished, but because the Pope, in Rome, at St. Peter’s Basilica, was presiding at the beatification of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (the founder of the Jesuit Fathers) and of Saint Francis Xavier (the first great missionary in India, a Jesuit Father)), liturgical festivities were held in the unfinished Church of Jesus to celebrate the event. For the same reason, public pompous celebrations took place in the city of Luanda.

The Church of Jesus was constructed in the Baroque style. Father António Franco refers to its opening to the public in 1636. In 1655, Father Manuel de Matos wrote to Portugal saying that the Church of Jesus was not only the grandest structure, but also the best church of the Southern hemisphere.

With the Dutch occupation in 1641, the boarding school (Colégio de Jesus) became the Governor’s Residence and the Church was used for the parliament and governor’s councils.  When Salvador Correia de Sá took Luanda back from the Dutch, in 1648, the name of São Paulo de Luanda (St. Paul of Luanda since its foundation on January 25 of 1575) was changed to São Paulo de Assunção de Luanda (St. Paul of the Assumption of Luanda).  It was thought that the name “Luanda,” sounded too much like “Holanda” (‘Holland’ in Portuguese). And Salvador Correia de Sá dedicated his victory to Our Lady of Assumption, which is celebrated on the Catholic Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary, August 15.

In the XVIII century, Angola also felt the effects of the Portuguese expulsion of the Jesuit Fathers from Portugal and its colonies.  The driving force behind the expulsion was the figure of Marquês de Pombal, who was the Secretary of State (1st Minister and also Economic Minister of King Dom José I). Under Pombal’s influence, the Jesuit Fathers were not only expelled from Portugal and its colonies, but their church goods were also confiscated. As a consequence, the Church of Jesus in Luanda was not able to withstand the degradation to which it was subjected over many years.

King Dom Jose I, in a letter dated November 20, 1761, hinted to the Bishop of Luanda that the Jesuit Church of Jesus should be used as the Bishop’s Cathedral See of Angola/Congo, and that the main part of the boarding school (Colégio de Jesus) should become the Bishop’s residence and remaining areas should be used for the seminary.”  Instead, it saw little use, and by 1783 it was in ruins.

In 1953, major reconstruction was begun. The removing of the ruins and debris took up the longest phase of the work on the church. The renovated church was blessed and reopened on December 22 of 1958 by Dom Moisés Alves de Pinho, the Archbishop of Luanda, who also celebrated, on that day, his priesthood golden anniversary. The original roof was replaced. We still can admire the altar, which was made in Italy, of oriental marble, carved with different symbolic figures.

From 1961 until 1975, the Church was the headquarters of Angola’s Military Chaplain and was used for the religious services of the Armed Forces. Main maintenance services took place from 1970 to 1975, when the interior of the Church of Jesus was remodeled and adapted to offer up to date liturgical services to the people. The Church was given back to the Archbishop of Luanda. After 1975, it became a parish church. In 1978, it became the Cathedral See of the Archdiocese of Luanda.

5. A Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré (Church of Our Lady of Nazareth)

Foundation  1664 – 1965

The small Church of Our Lady of Nazareth was built in 1664, almost at the water’s edge. It was designed with its façade facing the Bay and towards the Church of Our Lady of the Cape.  Governor André Vidal de Negreiros underwrote the chapel construction, on the site where the Fort of Santa Cruz previously stood.

The church was built as a way to express his thanks to God for having been saved from a shipwreck,[9] when he was sailing from Brazil to Angola, where he would be assuming his position as Governor. Vidal de Negreiros was one of the major heroes of Brazil’s liberation from Dutch occupation, which ended in 1664.  In Angola, he led the victory of Ambuíla (1665), considered to be one of the most brilliant and decisive battles in the history of the occupation of Angola after the restoration.

With that victory, the Kingdom of the vast region of the Congos came to an end.

The head of the Congos King, Garcia II, which was captured during the battle of Ambuíla, was buried in the Church of Our Lady of Nazareth.  After a Mass for the salvation of the King’s soul (Missa de corpo presente) in the Misericórdia Church, the head of the King was enclosed in a coffin and led in a solemn procession to the Church of Nazareth, where it was buried.

The Governor Vidal de Negreiros, later, placed the imperial crown at the foot of the Our Lady.  However, as it had been offered by Pope Innocent X to Garcia II, in 1651 (by intermediary of the Capuchin Friars), it was then sent back to Lisbon.

In 1922, the Church was classified as a national monument, when Norton de Matos was the High Commissioner of Angola.

This Church was the first mission of the Holy Spirit Fathers (Padres Espiritanos) in Luanda. It was entrusted to a young and very active missionary, who died a short time later because of all the energy he expended on the Mission.

In 1961, the Archbishop of Luanda, Dom Moisés Alves de Pinho, erected canonically the Church of Our Lady of Nazareth as a Parish Church.

The Church of Our Lady of Nazareth in Luanda is a replica of the Church of Our Lady of Nazareth in Portugal[10]; even its magnificent Portuguese tiles, depicting history and miracles, make one feel like being in Nazaré, Portugal.

In front of the Church, you can see an ancient cross, in the Portuguese style. A black image of Saint Iphigenia of Ethiopia can be seen inside of the Church.   A fenced-in cemetery still exists, where people who had been baptized were buried until 1836, regardless of whether they were slaves or free men, according to the church registry, which still exists. There are two secular trees (tambarineiros) in the Chuch square.

Nowadays, it is both a Parish Church and a Sanctuary. The last restoration took place recently.

6. A Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Church of Our Lady of Remedies)

Foundation  1655 / 1679

Igrejas Remedios (The Church of Our Lady of Remedies).

The Church of Our Lady of Remedies was constructed to substitute the two small chapels that had existed on the same site: the Holy Spirit Chapel and the Holy Body Chapel (St Peter the Confessor).  On April 18, 1671, Governor Francisco of Tavora wrote that the chapel of the Holy Spirit was totally in ruins down to the foundation.

In 1656, the Luanda city council wrote to Dom Joao IV, “The people are building a grand temple as the Cathedral, with the hope and pretext that Your Majesty will deem it worthy to move the Cathedral See from the Congo to Luanda,” and at the same time asked for a financial contribution so that the construction could be completed.  Until the construction was completed, mass was celebrated in a small house since there was no church in the downtown area of Luanda.

In 1679, people saw the construction of that “grand temple” practically concluded. The big church was dedicated to Our Lady of the Remedies. On July 29 of that year 1679, the Church was solemnly blessed by Bishop Manuel da Natividade. The first feast-day was celebrated with full pomp and solemnity on August 6 of the same year.  The Governor and Captain General Aires de Saldanha de Menezes e Sousa, as well as the Chamber Senate and all of God’s blessed people participated in the two solemn occasions.

This Church was and has been used as the starting point of encounter for a solemn procession, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, through the main streets of the capital city[11].

According to a letter from the Confraternity of the Most Holy Sacrament to D. Pedro II, at the date of the inauguration, the construction was not totally concluded. In 1684, it was suggested to the King D. Pedro II to purchase a two-masted boat, which could carry 500 slaves to Brazil. The profits would be used for the benefit of the Church, for a period of ten years. The government’s Council for Overseas Territories decided favorably on the request, but reduced the privilege from ten to six years and then the king reduced it to only four years.  However, this provision was never executed in Angola and thus the construction was stopped.  The construction turned to be a reality only later on, with the help of a bequest to the parish of Our Lady of the Remedies.  In the first half of the 18th century, two ladies left the rental proceeds of two buildings to the Parish Church.

This Parish Church became the Cathedral See of Angola/Congo only on June 5 of 1828, when the Church was celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi; but only in 1836 did the Governor of Lisbon confirm the official move of the Cathedral See to this church.  Despite its being chosen as the Cathedral See of Luanda, the Church of Our Lady of Remedies still suffered the same fate as most of the churches of Luanda. Decades later, it also fell into ruins.

In 1876, the Church was closed to worshippers and soon thereafter the roof fell in.  The Cathedral See parish moved to the Church of Carmel, which belonged to the Third Order of Saint Francis and it remained there for twenty years.  In 1873 restoration work was begun on the church and the church was finally blessed on August 8 of 1897. Once again the Church of Our Lady of the Remedies reassumed its position as the Cathedral See of the Diocese of Angola/Congo.

The solemn Te-Deum (liturgical Hymn of Thanksgiving) was sung in the Cathedral See on two special occasions: the visit to Angola of the Prince Dom Luis Filipe in 1907; and the visit of the President of the Portuguese Republic, General Craveiro Lopes, in 1954.  The Church de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, as Cathedral See of Angola/Congo, was the place where some holy men were invested in positions of service within the Catholic Church in Angola.

Eighteen years after the Concordat[12]a was agreed between the Portuguese government and the Holy See (Vatican State), in 1940, it was in this Cathedral See of the diocese of Angola/Congo that the Archdiocese of Luanda was canonically erected in 1958. The first Archbishop was the great figure of the last Bishop of Angola/Congo, Dom Moisés Alves de Pinho. The remains of the first Archbishop of Luanda, who died in Portugal, were solemnly translocated to Angola in 1999, to have its honorable place in one of the lateral chapels of nowadays Parish Church de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios.

The church suffered various restorations. The last one led to its reopening on March 19 of 1995, once again as a parish church in the downtown area of the capital city of Luanda. In 1995, at the time of its reopening, the Parish priest was Monsignor José Alves Cachadinha, who was helped by the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in the reorganization of the Parish and other chores as needed.

7. A Igreja do Carmo (The Church of Our Lady of Carmel)

Foundation – 1660 / 1689


The Church of Our Lady of Carmel belonged to the convent of the reformed Carmelite Order. The Carmelite Order was reformed at the end of the XVI century by St. Theresa and St. John of the Cross.

As it was the desire of the Queen of Portugal Dona Luísa de Gusmão, the Carmelite Fathers arrived on September 28, 1659, and were hosted for three months in some houses that were located next to the Third Order of St. Francis Convent of Saint Joseph (mentioned above).  They moved to their new installations in December 1659, on the outskirts of the then-city limits, in the area already known as Ingombotas, where two houses were acquired, to be used as a convent.

In January of 1660, work began for the construction of the Convent and Church, in the same location, with money offered by the Portuguese Royal family.  The Convent Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was completed only in 1689.  The Sacristy was completed later, on order of Dom João de Lencastre, who served as the Governor and General Captain of Angola, between 1688 and 1691.

As the Church was commissioned by the Queen of Portugal, her crown and orb can be seen on the outside of the church.  Inside there is a wide staircase, so that ladies in long dresses could ascend to the upper balcony. The little balconies have wooden balustrades, which were taken from 16th century designs in Goa, India (another Portuguese colony).

In 1828, the Church of Our Lady of Carmel was basically in ruins.  A large part of the convent was destroyed when the Captain of the Navy, Jose Xavier Bressante Leite, in 1842/1843, wanted to move the capital of Benguela Kingdom (1617-1869) to the Port of Lobito. He considered the ruined convent to be a great source of stone and wood; but it turned out to be a futile attempt to move that capital.

This Church served as the Cathedral See of the Diocese of Angola/Congo from 1887 to 1897, while works of restoration were taking place in the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of the Remedies.

Besides the balconies, the following features deserve special attention: the ceiling painted by hand; the walls covered with Portuguese tiles of the 17th century; the choir loft and balconies.

The church and the cloister offer an environment of silence and peace.

The Church of Our Lady of Carmel, nowadays, is a Parish Church served by the Dominican Fathers.


[1] In 1883, the Foundress of my Congregation of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, sent a Community of Sisters for Social Services with the “segregated” women, who were living within the walls of that Fortress.

[2] St Sebastian is the patron saint of the Armed Forces.

[3] The Luanda Island was the only possession of the Congo Kingdom, in the South. The “zimbo”, special sea shells (búzios), were explored there, serving as currency money to circulate in the large area of  the Congo Kingdom.

[4] It is well explained by Chicoadão (2005)  in his book As Origens do Fenómeno Kamutukuleni e o Direito Costumeiro Ancestral Angolense Aplicável, Viana, Instituto Piaget, p. 38.

[5] Ibidem, p. 24.

[6] The Church of St. Joseph’s Convent was built in 1604, located on the site where the Hospital Maria Pia would be built and inaugurated in 1883.

[7] The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks was built on the first years of the XVII century and functioned as a parish church for the blacks. It was located some place between Funda and Cabiti, on the river-side. Our Lady of the Rosary became a central symbol for both the Portuguese and Africans. Brotherhoods of Our Lady of the Rosary were established in Africa, Brasil and Portugal. Our Lady became a symbol to combat the witchcraft that had caused Africans to fall into the horrible reality of slavery in the Americas. She became a cultural bridge between what Africans had known in their native lands and what they came to know in their captivity, becoming an intercessor on behalf of African communities. There is a legend, rich in cosmology, giving meaning to all the symbols connected with the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks.

[8] In 1883, the first Community of my Sisters (Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception) were sent by our Foundress to serve as nurses in that Hospital.

[9] It was a common occurrence to order the construction of a monument or church to fulfill a promise to God for answering his/her prayers. When a violent storm destroyed Negreiros small ship, he felt his body sinking to the bottom of the high sea. Vidal de Negreiros invoked God through the intercession of Our Lady of Nazareth. Two sailors came in his direction to help him. Thus, God saved Negreiros life.

[10] Dom Fuas Roupinho, a knight of the first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques, ordered the construction of a memorial chapel to our Lady of Nazareth in thanksgiving to God from having been saved from death through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth. When he was chasing, the devil disguised as a deer, attracted his horse to a precipice, 110 meters above the ocean level. Recognizing the danger, Dom Fuas prayed with faith: Our Lady, Mother of God, help me! The horse stopped with only its back legs on the rock. He recognized to be by the grotto of our Lady. He ordered a memorial chapel to be built. In the grotto there was an ivory box with a wooden statue 20 cms high. It contained a Negro statue of the Blessed Virgin, that had been brought from Nazareth in Galilea, through Merida in Spain, to that place (Sítio – site of the miracle) in Portugal, in the 8th century. In the XIV century, the King of Portugal ordered a big church to be built there. It became a Marian pilgrimage sanctuary. Among the list of pilgrims coming to this sanctuary, there are people like: Vasco da Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, St. Francis Xavier, etc.

[11] The Corpus Christi  procession (in Portuguese translation – Procissão do Corpo de Deus – the Body of God procession) publicly expresses catholic’s faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, present in the Most Holy Sacrament. This procession takes place every year on the 8th Sunday after Easter, the Sunday which follows the Most Holy Trinity Feast Sunday.

[12] Concordata is a kind of a Magna Carta between the Vatican State and other States to guarantee the right to profess and live the Catholic faith. Since the 12th century there were 23 texts of this treaty. The last one was in 2004, replacing the one from 1940.


Historic church in Cidade Alta

Historic church in Cidade Alta.


Sao Pedro Forteleza in the bairro of N’gola Kilange, Luanda with a view of the Luanda bay.

Luanda Fort

Sao Pedro Forteleza in the bairro of N’gola Kilange, Luanda.

Walking tour

Field group with the Sao Miguel Forteleza in the background.

Igerja Nazare

Church of Our Lady of Remedies, downtown Luanda.

Walking tour

The old abandoned train station in Maianga, Luanda.

Luanda Ministerio

Field group in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, downtown Luanda.

Women of Kixicane.

Two residents of Kixicane, home of Angola’s first president Agostinho Neto.

Photos: Henriette Koning.

4 Responses to “History”

  1. carlos carneiro Says:

    Carlos Carneiro

  2. kapitololo Says:

    parabéns pelo belo trabalho que vocês prestaram a angola e a humanidade

  3. Parabéns tornei-me mais culta com a vossa iniciativa.Há aqui muitos factos que desconhecia.O meu muito obrigado.

  4. Paul Wesson Says:

    Lovely pics and activity congratulations Henriette !

    Paul – Eco Tur Angola

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