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MAPUTO

CAPITAL CITY OF MOZAMBIQUE

 
 

Maputo, the capital of Mozambique came into existence in the late 18th century. The city was named Lourenço Marques for Lourenço Marques, the Portuguese trader who first explored the area in 1544. The construction of a railroad to Pretoria, South Africa, in 1895 resulted in the growth of the city's population. In 1898, Lourenço Marques became the capital of Mozambique. After independence, the city's name was changed to Maputo

The city is located on the west side of Maputo Bay, at the mouth of the Tembe River. The bay is 95 km (50 mi) long and 30 km (20 mi) wide. The Maputo River empties into the southern end of the bay. A port on the Indian Ocean, Maputo’s economy is centered on the harbour. It has an official population of approximately 966,837 (1997), but the actual population is estimated to be much higher due to slums and other unofficial settlements. Coal, cotton, sugar, chrome, sisal, copra, and hardwood are the chief exports. The city manufactures cement, pottery, furniture, shoes, and rubber. There is also a large aluminum smelting plant, Mozal. The city is surrounded by Maputo Province, but is administered as its own province.


maputo areal night pic of maputo

 
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Maputo is a planned city with square blocks and wide avenues. The Portuguese left in massive numbers after independence and a fierce civil war broke out. Government mismanagement and lack of skills and capital contributed to the city’s state of dereliction in the years following the declaration of peace. Recovery was slow at first, but has been gaining momentum. However, in many cases new buildings are being erected for the rising middle class, rather than existing buildings being renovated and many city services are still precarious. The Maputo beach has been ruined by waste dumped into the sea, and not many people want to spend time on it. Hopefully some time in the future, proper water treatment plants can be established so that the beach may restored to its original ambience. Mozambique's first university, the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane is in Maputo. The city also has a museum of Mozambique history, a military museum, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima.

sunset maputo bazaruto

During the Boer war, Winston Churchill, after being captured by the Boers, made a daring escape to Lourenço Marques by slipping past the sentries.

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