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Maputo Bay

Maputo Bay, formerly Delagoa Bay (dĕlˌəgōˈə) [key], inlet of the Indian Ocean, c.55 mi (90 km) long and 20 mi (30 km) wide, S Mozambique, SE Africa; Maputo, the capital and chief port of Mozambique, is on the bay. Maputo Bay is a large deepwater harbor, with numerous quays to handle oceangoing vessels; railroads lead into the interior. The first Westerner to visit (1502) the bay was António do Campo, one of Vasco da Gama's captains; the area was explored in 1544 by Lourenço Marques, the Portuguese trader. In the 1700s, Dutch and Austrian trading companies tried to establish posts on the bay; both were driven out by malaria and the Portuguese. In 1787, Portugal built a fort there, around which the town of Lourenço Marques (Maputo) grew. In the mid-1800s, Portugal's claim to the area was challenged by Great Britain and by the Transvaal when it was realized that the bay provided a major access route to the Kimberley diamond mines. The Transvaal recognized Portugal's sovereignty in 1869, and in 1875 France, acting as arbiter, awarded the area to Portugal.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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