Founded in the late 18th century, the city was named Lourenšo Marques for the Portuguese trader who first explored the area in 1544. In 1895, construction of a railroad to Pretoria, South Africa caused the city's population to grow. In 1907, Lourenšo Marques became the capital of Mozambique. After independence, the city's name was changed to Maputo.
The University of Mozambique is in the city, which also has a museum of Mozambique history, a military museum, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima.