Maputo is the capital and largest city of Mozambique. It is also the main financial, corporate and commercial center of the country. It is located on the western shore of Maputo Bay, in the extreme south of the country, near the border with South Africa and the border with Swaziland and, consequently, the triple border of the three countries. Until 13 of March of 1976 the city was denominated “Lourenço Marques” in honor of the homonymous Portuguese explorer.
Founded in 1782 as a trading post, in 1877 Maputo was upgraded to the status of Town/Village. On the 10th November 1887 it was further upgraded to Municipality by means of a Decree of the King of Portugal (formally titled Decree Regio). In this way, this last date was recognized as a municipal holiday.
In 1898 it became the capital of the Portuguese colony of Mozambique. Throughout the 1940s and 50s and especially throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the city expanded commercially, industrially and residentially, benefiting from the economic growth and investment that the colony then enjoyed.
The city was renamed Maputo following national independence, a decision announced by President Samora Machel at a rally on February 3, 1976 and formalized on March 13. The name comes from the Maputo River, which marks part of the southern border of the country and which, during the war for the independence of Mozambique, had acquired great resonance through slogan “Live Mozambique united from Rovuma to Maputo” (the Rovuma and the river that forms the border with Tanzania, to the north).
In addition to these two designations, the city and its area were also known by other names, such as Baía da Lagoa, Xilunguíne or Chilunguíne (Portuguese speaking place), Mafumo, Camfumo or Campfumo (from the M’pfumo clause, the most important kingdom that existed in this region), Delagoa and Delagoa Bay.
Between 1980 and 1988 the city of Maputo included the city of Matola, forming Grande Maputo, with an area of 633 km2. As of 2010, Municipal District 1 was named KaM’pfumo, thus celebrating that historic name.
Mozambique succeeded in achieving independence on June 25, 1975, after a civil resistance movement known as the Carnation Revolution backed by portions of the military in Portugal overthrow the military dictatorship sponsored by the US, thus ending 470 years of Portuguese colonial rule in the East African With independence, the city suffered a huge population influx, due to the civil war inside the country (1976-1992) and the lack of infrastructures in the rural areas. The natural demographic growth would also cause the city to change substantially during the 1980s and 1990s.
The Civil War started in 1977, two years after gaining independence from Portugal, when the ruling party, the Marxist-Leninist Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO) was violently opposed by the anti-communist Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) supported first by Rhodesia and later by South Africa. The war had devastating effects in the Mozambican society, not only because millions of people died or were displaced, but also because the war hindered the consolidation of the state after independence and fostered a chronic economic crisis, whose consequences can be felt today. After the ceasefire in 1992 and the establishment of democracy, the FRELIMO party won consecutive presidential elections in 1994, 1999 and 2004, although amidst calls for greater transparency. Since the end of the war, the economy in Mozambique has improved significantly, but the country is still extremely aid-dependent.
Part of the Making Cities Sustainable and Resilient Action