Once the center of Portugese colonial power in Southern Africa, this huge square has lost significance as the modern center shifted more towards the southeast and north parts of the city.
As with most streetnames in Maputo the name of the square was changed after independence in 1975. Formerly it was called Mouzinho de Albuquerque square. The statue of the former governor was replaced by one of Samora Machel (first president of independent Mozambique). If you are interested Mouzinho de Albuquerque on his horse can still be 'admired' in the Fortaleza (fort) museum. It is much smaller than the giant statue of Machel made in North Korea.
If you visit, take an umbrella with you for protection against the sun, as there is no shade at the square.