Maputo is the former capital of Mozambique. Till 1976, it was known as Lourenco Marques, and was Mozambique's capital and an important port city.
Modern day Mozambique was inhabited by various Bantu tribes during the 14th and 18th century, who became involved with Swahili and Arab traders on the eastern coast in slave trade. The Portugese were the first Europeans who arrived at Mozambique to colonize. While the city of Maputo gets its name from a Portugese trader who explored the area in 1544, the town formed itself around the Portugese fortress that was established here in 1787. From there on, it grew until it became the capital of Portugese East Africa in 1907.
Maputo, at one time was well-known for its beauty with its lovely beaches attracting tourists. However, Mozambique became independent in 1975, and strained relations with South Africa meant that tourism suffered. Even Maputo's status as an important port city suffered. However, in recent times, the situation in Maputo and Mozambique have been improving. The city, with a population of over a million, is said to be "regaining some of its old charm." The city also harbors many local industries including brewing, ship building, fish canning, iron works, and manufacturing industries like cement and textiles. The city's railway station, originally built around the turn of the century and renovated recently, is a must for tourists to the city. There is also a museum and a university in the city.
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