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Bay, southeastern coast of Mozambique. Some 19 mi (31 km) long and 16 mi (26 km) wide, with Inhaca Island, a tourist resort, at its mouth, it also is the site of Maputo, the nation's capital. First explored by the Portuguese in 1544, it was important as an outlet for ivory and slaves, a way station for Indian Ocean trade, and a route to the South African diamond mines and goldfields. Ownership was contested by the Portuguese, Dutch, English, and Boers until it was awarded by arbitration to Portugal in 1875.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Delagoa Bay, visit Britannica.com.