Beira is the capital of Sofala province and the biggest town in central Mozambique, Beira is Mozambique's second biggest city and harbour situated at the mouth of the Pungoe River.
Sofala lies 45 kms to the south of Beira and was an Arab trading post from the 10th centuary.
In 1498 Vasco da Gama, as well as other Portuguese explorers and sailors, entered the estuary of the Pungoe River to try and find out the truth of whether gold was present in the Sofala hinterland.
Only in 1887 was a military fort built at Beira. This was when colonial expansion began in earnest by European powers and led to Portugal taking steps to defend her trading outposts.
Beira was named after the Portuguese crown prince Dom Luis Filipe, who was born about this time and whose title was Prince of Beira.