Maputo, the capitol of the African nation of Mozambique, was first founded in the 18th Century by settlers from Portugal.  But the area had been first discovered and claimed by the Portuguese explorer, Lourenço Marques, for whom the city was originally named, in 1544.  

The city's first railroad connected it to Pretoria in South Africa in 1844 which allowed both its population and economy to grow rapidly.  Maputo was, and still is, known for its production of cotton and sugar, the export of which made many of the city's Portuguese settlers quite wealthy.

As with many African countries that were colonized by Europeans, Mozambique's native population grew tired of being oppressed and discriminated against, many of whom were very poor, while the Portuguese living in the country were often quite well off.  In the 1970's Mozambique's native people staged a rebellion which eventually led to a Revolutionary War, ending in 1975 with the Portuguese leaving the country by the thousands.

Unfortunately lack of planning and the vacuum in the political and economic system left by the Portuguese caused the country and its capitol of Maputo to fall into a long period civil unrest and poverty. 

Today Maputo has done a great deal of work to improve the lives of its people and the condition of the city and its surrounding beaches.  It has become something of an "unknown" holiday destination among Africans and Europeans alike.