The city was founded in 1843 and owes its existence to the bay of the same name having been chosen as the sea terminus of the Benguela railway to the far interior, passing through Luau to Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.The city is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The population of the municipality is 393,079 (2014) in an area of 3,648 km². The municipality consists of the communes Canjala, Egipto Praia and Lobito.
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