The World Around Us

Mozambique, a short introduction

Country: Mozambique by Lisette


Lonely Planet’s website.

It’s hard to share an introduction about Mozambique without having been here for long, but here’s our best shot.

The book Lonely Planet gives the following brief introduction. “With its stately colonial-era buildings, remote island archipelagos, vast tracts of bush, sublime 2500km coastline and fascinating cultures, Mozambique is Africa’s insider’s tip”.

With about 21.6 million inhabitants and with about 40% of the people living in the northern provinces, Mozambique is less densely populated than its neighbours. Much of Mozambique moves to the rhythms of the harvest and the monsoon. About 80% of the population tends at least part-time small plots with cassava, maize and other crops.


Bantu-speaking people from West Africa migrated to Mozambique around the 1st century AD and started living together in small chiefdoms and few greater kingdoms. Around the 8th century AD Arabian sailors arrived at the East African coast; trade flourished and intermarriage with Bantu-speakers gave birth to the Swahili language and culture.

The Portuguese under command of Vasco de Gama came after hearing tales of goldfields in Monomotapa’s kingdom (which was located central west) in 1498. They founded a settlement on Mozambique Island (Ilha de Moçambique), took over the gold trade and established an important supply post.

The Portuguese influence was weak and fragmented with central Mozambique divided into ‘prazos’, agricultural estates that operated as independent feudal states. In the late 1800s the Portuguese tried to consolidate their control by establishing charter companies. Alas, their effort created independent operating fiefdoms. These unsuccessful attempts translate to present-day differences between cultures and traditions, languages, religion, and so forth.

Independence and civil war

The Mueda massacre in 1960 started the independence movement. External support, amongst others from Tanzania, helped form the Frente pela Libertaçao de Moçambique (Frelimo).

After the Portuguese were forced to leave in 1975, the Marxist-Leninist party Frelimo and the anti-Communist resistance party Renamo forced the country into a civil war that lasted until 1992.

Things began to get better after the peace agreement was signed. After the peace agreement was signed, everyone moved forward instantly. International aid flooded the country and – most impressively – primary as well as and secondary education has improved a fair bit amount. While large HIV/AIDS programs were have been developed and administered, Unicef still estimates that AIDS accounts for almost 25% of all adult deaths recorded.

We can share much more about the difficulties concerning education and HIV/AIDS. Stay tuned!