Central Africa


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The city was one of the bases for Portuguese expansion in Africa, founded the São Filipe fortress. Benguela is now important as a political and economic coordinating center, for it is linked with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe through the Benguela Railway, however, restored only in the mid-2000s, with a more peaceful environment. Due to the Angolan Civil War, which lasted more than 20 years after independence from Portugal, this important railway line closed and the city of Benguela increased its population due to refugees arriving from the countryside. As a consequence, while the colonial side of the city sums up relatively good-quality houses, most of the refugees live in slum areas.

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