Mozambique is an independent nation in Eastern Africa. With the capital city of Maputo, Mozambique 2020 population is estimated at 31,255,446 according to countryaah. In the meeting between Bantu people and Arab merchants on the coast of southeastern Africa, the Swahili culture emerged. In the 16th century, Portuguese took control of trade in the region, including the slave trade. When this ceased at the end of the 19th century, about one million people had been carried away in shackles. During the first half of the 20th century, protests against the Portuguese colonial rule grew strong, and the guerrilla movement Mozambique’s Liberation Front (Frelimo) began in 1964 an armed liberation struggle. When the dictatorship in Portugal was overthrown in a military coup in 1974, colonial power was abolished, and in July 1975 Mozambique became independent.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Mozambique, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In southwestern Mozambique, archaeologists have found several settlements from the Stone Age and at the border with Zimbabwe there are rock paintings from early collector and farmer communities. During the first centuries after Christ, slavish people who could handle iron walked into the area from the north and west. For Mozambique political system, please check cancermatters.
In the 7th century, Arab merchants settled on the East Coast. They bought ivory, gold and slaves further into the country and sold to distant countries, including India. In the meeting between the Bantu people and the Indian Ocean traders, Swahili culture emerged.
The highlands between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers were dominated by the Shona people as early as the 800s. Shona traded gold and cattle, and their kingdoms were vast. The Shona rulers probably controlled an area that stretched from eastern Zimbabwe all the way down to the Indian Ocean coast.
The first Portuguese came to the area of today’s Mozambique 1498 in connection with Vasco da Gama’s expedition to India. During the 16th century, the Portuguese took control of the trade in the region and tried to subvert the gold mines that lay in the Shonar empires. Local rulers were killed or persuaded to cooperate with the colonizers, but some of the gold mines failed to reach the Portuguese. In the 17th century, Portuguese settlers, Prazeros, settled along the Zambezi River. They made themselves lords over the area and became an important intermediary in the growing slave trade.
Mozambique is economically linked to South Africa
The slave trade was banned in 1836, but did not cease until the end of the 19th century. By then, around a million people had been removed from the colony in shackles and shipped to Brazil and Madagascar, among others. The slave trade was replaced by diamond and gold trade. The colony’s economic center was moved from north to south as a diamond and gold shipping port needed to be mined in what is today South Africa. The port city of Lourenço Marques (today Maputo) in the south was the best. In 1894, a railroad from the Transvaal in South Africa to the Mozambican coast was completed and it became a crucial factor for trade between Europe and Africa. At the same time, Mozambique became economically linked to South Africa for a long time to come.
At the end of the 19th century, competition for the colonies increased; Britain wanted to get the right to the port of Lourenço Marques, but an international judgment rejected the claim. At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, when the colonial powers divided most of Africa between them, Portugal was entitled to all the areas it claimed, and during the 1890s the boundaries of today’s Mozambique were set. The demarcation led to several local uprisings, but no broad resistance movement emerged. The colonizers used historical contradictions between different peoples, and after a quarter of a century they had also taken full control of the interior.
Portugal was a weak colonial power that neither managed to exploit the colony’s assets efficiently nor establish a functioning administration. Therefore, Portugal chose to grant land and commodity rights to trading companies (companies) in exchange for the development of the area’s infrastructure, school system and health care at the turn of the century. But in practice, the company leaders became sovereign rulers in their regions. They did not fulfill the promises of development and instead exploited the local people through forced labor.
The Mozambicans also served as labor reserves for other parts of southern Africa, including many of them working in the mines of South Africa and Rhodesia. Until Mozambique’s independence in 1975, South Africa was allowed to freely recruit labor from the Mozambican provinces of Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo. In return, much of the transit traffic from southern Transvaal was on Mozambique’s railways, which for many years provided the colony with almost a third of its revenue in foreign currency.
The economic situation is changing
In fact, the era of the trading companies meant an economic decline for the colony. Corruption has spread within the administration, while hundreds of thousands of people have fled from the unbearable relations with neighboring countries. After the fascist military coup in Portugal in 1926, it was banned for companies and individuals to use forced labor, but the colonial authority retained that right. Due to forced contract work, poor wages and low producer prices, raw materials such as cotton, sugar, tea and copra could be exported cheaply to Portugal, where the raw materials were refined and subsequently sold on the protected market in the colonies at high prices.
In the colony, different laws applied to Portuguese citizens, on the one hand, and so-called assimilados (Africans who adopted the Portuguese lifestyle and values) and, on the other hand, other natives. The latter were checked with the help of special identity cards which they must always carry. Police checks were strict, and suspected regime critics – black and white – were cruelly treated.
As time went on, the protests against the colonial regime increased and in the early 1960s the Lisbon government was forced to change its African colonial policy. Forced labor was abolished and the laws became the same for the entire population.
At this time, half a million Mozambicans lived in neighboring countries. Among refugees, guest workers and intellectuals as well as the small group of educated Africans at home, groups emerged that worked for Mozambique’s independence. Tanganyika’s (now Tanzania) liberation from Britain in 1961 inspired them and the following year Mozambique’s liberation front (Frelimo) was formed. Three political groups – banned in Mozambique – joined forces under the leadership of US-educated sociologist Eduardo Mondlane. To begin with, Frelimo worked with peaceful means, but in 1964 switched to armed struggle.
The liberation front is gaining ground
The liberation front received political, economic and military support from neighboring Tanzania and could soon take control of the northern parts of the colony. At the same time, Frelimo was shaken by internal contradictions between communists and a more Western-oriented faction. In an explosive attack in 1969, Mondlane was killed, who had tried to limit the influence of the Communists. In the leadership struggle that followed his death, Samora Machel prevailed, under whose leadership Frelimo was brought closer to the Soviet Union. The guerrillas were trained in Marxism and trained militarily. With active support from mainly Zambia, in 1974 Frelimo was able to take control of one third of Mozambique’s area.
Among Portuguese soldiers there was a deep dissatisfaction with the prolonged liberation wars in the colonies of Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique. In 1974, the so-called Captains movement carried out a successful coup against the dictatorship in Lisbon. The new regime began negotiations with the liberation movements in the colonies to abolish colonial power. In Mozambique, a transitional government was formed in September 1974 with representatives of the new Portuguese regime and Frelimo.
On July 25, 1975, Mozambique became independent with Samora Machel as president. Free elections were not held when Frelimo refused. At the same time, many Portuguese left the country head on and with them technical and administrative knowledge disappeared. The infrastructure had been destroyed by the war. The economy had failed and the Mozambicans, who had been denied education, had no experience of governing their country.
Billions in debt are depreciated
The World Bank decides to write off some of Mozambique’s debts to the organization. The value of the debt amortization corresponds to more than SEK 9 billion. The money that the country would have used for debt repayments should instead go to investments in infrastructure, education and health care.