Cuíto, also written as Kuito, is a city and municipality in Angola, capital of the province of Bié.
According to the population projections for 2018, prepared by the National Statistics Institute, it has a population of 512,706 inhabitants and a territorial area of 4,814 km², being the most populous municipality in the province and the twelfth most populous in the nation.
It is limited to the north by the municipalities of Cunhinga and Catabola, to the east by the municipality of Camacupa, to the south by the municipality of Chitembo, and to the west by the municipality of Chinguar.
Until 1975 it was called "Silva Porto", in honor of the Portuguese explorer Silva Porto.
Etymology Two versions exist for the origin of the name "Cuíto", the main one saying that it comes from the term umbundo vakutiwa kwi, which in Portuguese means "strongly loved". The term would come from the practice of forced military conscription, practiced by the king of the kingdom Bailundo Ekuikui I, who tied soldiers by the river to await combat. When the combatants' wives saw them in such a situation, they exclaimed: "soma Ekwikwi wakutila alume vetu voviti kwi", that is, "King Ekuikui strongly loved our husbands in the trees of the river!". The river where the soldiers had been tied was called Kwitu, meaning kwi, strongly, and you, all.
The second version says that Cuito means "place of meat", coming from the junction of the terms of umbundo ko, place, and ositu, meat.
The Cuito was built in the center of one of the main ovimbundu kingdoms, the kingdom of Bié, by a man named Viye, the ruler of the biennales, and by his songa ethnic wife, called Cahanda.
The Ovimbunds were known for selling captives from neighboring tribes to European slave traders, which made the area an ideal place for the slave trade and brought settlers into the region.
The Portuguese established a trading post in the Ecovongo ombala (capital city of the kingdom of Bié; currently a town in the municipality of Cuíto) in 1750, transferring it in 1771, at the time of colonial governor Francisco Inocêncio de Sousa Coutinho, to Cuíto as an advanced military post for the Central Plateau of Angola, as well as the headquarters of a Catholic mission under the direction of Father Gonçalo de Silveira. The priest initially called it Amarante, later becoming Belmonte.
Later, they called the then village of Belmonte the village of Silva Porto, in honor of António da Silva Porto, an important sertanista and Portuguese explorer for the Angolan center, who even built his house in the area.
The pleasant climate in the province of Bié was attractive to Portuguese settlers and many made their home in Silva Porto in the early 1900s, when Caminho de Ferro de Benguela connected the town to the coast.
On August 31, 1925, three years after the creation of the Bié district, the village of Silva Porto was still precariously the district seat, when it finally became a village; by the legislative diploma nº 740, of 1935, the town was elevated to the category of city.
Cuito had a long history of violence, starting with the African slave trade and the tribal war. Later, in the 1960s, the Portuguese used the city of Silva Porto as a training center for the training of black soldiers from the Portuguese Army to send northern Angola to fight against nationalist guerrillas during the Portuguese Colonial War.
The municipality is formed by the headquarters commune, which is equivalent to the city of Cuíto, and by the communes of Chicala, Cambândua, Cunje and Trumba.
Given its location on the eastern flank of the Planalto do Bié the climate of the municipality is exceptionally cool, being classified as humid subtropical climate (Cwa), according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The average annual temperature is 18 ° C, largely due to its high altitude. The coldest period is from May to August, when it hardly rains. September and October are the hottest months with a little rain. Heavy rains fall in the main rainy season from November to April.
Some of the most important cultural facilities in the city, whether for artistic or architectural interest are the Cine Sporting, the Centro Turístico Chicava and the Cuíto do Caminho de Ferro de Benguela Station. Other places of interest are also the Jardim da Vergonha, the Statue of Silva Porto and the ruins of the Forte de Silva Porto.
One of the main religious manifestations of Cuito is the Annual Pilgrimage to Morro Chimbango. Pilgrims leave the city of Cuíto, walking 75 kilometers to Chinguar, in the north, in order to greet the festivities of the apparition of Nossa Senhora de Fátima to the three shepherds, in Portugal, in 1917. This pilgrimage is led by the Diocese of Cuíto- Bié.
In football, the city's club is Sporting Clube Petróleos do Bié, was founded in 1915, played in Girabola, the highest level of football clubs in Angola, played four isolated seasons in Girabola, the professional league, to compete again since 2005 in the second division, Gira Angola.
The club's Eucalyptus Stadium has 16,000 spectators. Other sports include basketball, handball and roller hockey, which are located in the club's sports complex on Avenida Sagrada Esperança. Place where the clubhouse operates.
The city of Cuíto also maintains the Municipal Stadium of Cuito with 9,000 seats.