Maputo (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐˈputu]), known as Lourenço Marques before independence, is the capital and largest city of Mozambique. It is known as the City of Acacias, in reference to acacia trees commonly found along its avenues, and the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Today, it is a port city, with its economy centered on the harbour. According to the 2007 census, the population is 1,766,184.Cotton, sugar, chromite, sisal, copra, and hardwood are the chief exports. The city manufactures cement, pottery, furniture, shoes, and rubber. The city is surrounded by Maputo Province, but is administered as its own province.
On the northern bank of Espírito Santo Estuary of Delagoa Bay, an inlet of the Indian Ocean, Lourenço Marques was named after the Portuguese navigator who, with António Caldeira, was sent in 1544 by the governor of Mozambique on a voyage of exploration. They explored the lower courses of the rivers emptying their waters into Delagoa Bay, notably the Espírito Santo. The forts and trading stations that the Portuguese established, abandoned and reoccupied on the north bank of the river, were all called Lourenço Marques. The existing town dates from about 1850, the previous settlement having been entirely destroyed by the natives. The town developed around a Portuguese fortress completed in 1787.