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.