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Maputo

Maputo (məpōˈtō) [key], city (1997 pop. 966,837), capital of Mozambique, a port on the Indian Ocean. It is Mozambique's largest city and its administrative, communications, and commercial center. The economy is dominated by the modern port, on Maputo Bay; coal, cotton, sugar, chrome, ore, sisal, copra, and hardwood are the chief exports. The city's main manufactures are food products, beverages, cement, pottery, furniture, shoes, and rubber; there is a large aluminum smelting operation nearby at Belaluane. People of Indo-Pakistani background play an important role in retail trade. Prior to Mozambique's independence in 1975, tourists from South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) frequented the city and its excellent beaches. Since then, tourism has declined. Maputo is linked by rail with South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe and by an all-weather road with Johannesburg, South Africa. Founded in the late 18th cent., the city was named Lourenço Marques for the Portuguese trader who first explored the area in 1544. Its main growth dates from 1895, when a railroad to Pretoria, South Africa, was completed. In 1907, it became the capital of Mozambique. After independence, most of the city's large Portuguese population left and its name was changed to Maputo. Maputo's economy suffered as Mozambique broke ties with South Africa in the 1970s and 80s. The Univ. of Mozambique (1962) is in the city, which also has a museum on Mozambique's history, a military museum, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima.

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

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