Mozambique Information

General Information for Mozambique

Country: Mozambique
Location: Southern Africa
Independence: June 25, 1975
Nationality: Mozambican
Capital City: Maputo
Population: 18,115,250
Important Cities: Beira, Xai-Xai, Lumbo
Head of State: Joachim Chissano
Area: 786,762
Type of Government: Republic
Currency: 1934 M miticais=1 USD
Major peoples: Yao, Tubbuka, Batonga, Makua
Religion: African religion 60%, Christian 30%, Muslim 10%
Climate: Tropical to subtropical
Literacy: 33%
Official Language: Portuguese
Principal Languages: Swahili, Bantu dialects
Major Exports: Coal, Iron Ore
Pre-Colonial History Mozambique's first inhabitants were Bushmanoide hunters and gatherers-ancestors of the Khoisan people. Between the 1st and 4th centuries A.D. Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from the north through the Zambezi River Valley and into the plateau and coastal areas. The Bantu people were farmers and ironworkers. The Zanj were in the east of Lake Nyasa by the 7th century, and the federated Charring tribes were in the west. In the 9th century Islamic chiefs came to Pemba Zanzibar. Coastal trading forts were held by Arabs as far south as the island of Mozambique. The Tsonga and Ronga, later known as Zulu, were in the south from the 15th century. By the end of the 15th century the Karanga people, also called Shona, moved to the north under their dynastic leaders, the Monomotapa. When Portuguese explorers reached Mozambique in 1498, Arabs had already founded their trading settlements along the coast. From about 1500, Portuguese trading posts and forts became regular ports of call on the trade routes. Later, traders and prospectors penetrated the hinterland seeking gold and slaves.
Post-Colonial History In 1962, Mozambican political groups formed the Front for Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which in 1964 initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial power, resulting in independence of Mozambique in 1975. Samora Machel, leader of FRELIMO since the murder of its founding leader, Eduardo Monadlane, became the first President of Mozambique. In 1977, FRELIMO was constituted as Marxist-Leninist party. In 1980, South Africa took over what had been Rhodesia's role as a haven of the Mozambican opposition guerrilla group (RENAMO). In 1986, President Samora Machel died and was succeeded by Joaquim Chissano. The General Peace Agreement was signed on October 4, 1992, and a general cease-fire came into force immediately after its ratification. In 1994, Joaqium Chissano was democratically elected as President of the Republic of Mozambique.

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