Maputo is the capital of Mozambique. A port on the Indian Ocean, its economy is centered around the harbour. It has an official population of approximately 966,837 (1997), but the actual population is estimated to be much higher because of slums and other unofficial settlements. Coal, cotton, sugar, chromite, sisal, copra, and hardwood are the chief exports. The city manufactures cement, pottery, furniture, shoes, and rubber.
Maputo 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.
Founded in 1876, the city was named after Lourenço Marques, the Portuguese trader who was the first European to explore the area in 1544. In 1898, Lourenço Marques became the capital of Mozambique. After independence, the city's name was changed to Maputo. Maputo's name reputedly has its origin in an old, fierce tribal leader, Maputa, who once ruled over the region.