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Maputo: Etymology The name of the city is derived from the Portuguese word for a flat surface, or mesa. The area was known to Portuguese cartographers as Mape di Tumbo, and by Europeans as Table Bay. In English, Maputo was formerly known as Port Amelia and this name has been retained in some places until today (e.g., Port Amelia Hotel). Before its incorporation into Portugal's colonial empire in 1891 it had no official name; references to it were made purely descriptive terms such as "Porto de Lourenço Marques" ("Lourenço Marques' port"), "Vila de Lourenço Marques", or simply "Marquês". On 5 August 1914 the British administration officially approved of its being called 'Lourenco Marques'.