Republic of Mozambique
Mozambique gained independence after
more than five centuries of colonial rule from Portugal on 25
June 1975. A long and devastating civil war ensued between the
ruling FRELIMO Marxist government and the rebel RENAMO forces.
This war all but decimated the country into the world's
poorest status. Coupled with severe drought and powerful
cyclones and flooding, the government had the good sense to
change direction. In 1989, FRELIMO formally abandoned Marxism.
Over the ensuing years the country has turned the corner and
seen a marked improvement in their economy.
stone age, this part of Africa was inhabited by the hunter
gatherer San people. In about 1000 AD, the Bantu tribes
migrated to the region, and between 1200 and 1400 AD, what is
present day Mozambique was a conglomerate of numerous tribal
kingdoms. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived on
Mozambican soil, and the country was eventually colonized in
1752. The most significant African art form in this region are
the Makonde wood carvings, a people who live in the northern
parts of the country.
The main ethnic groups which now
virtually comprise all of Mazambican society are Makhuwa,
Tsonga, Lomwe, Sena and others. The religious makeup is 23,8%
Catholic, 17,8% Muslim, 17,5% Zionist Christian and the rest
being indigenous. The capital city is Maputo. Portuguese is an
official language still spoken as a second language by a large
portion of the population.
The currency is the
coastline of Mozambique on the warm Indian Ocean known as the
Mozambique Channel is magnificent, and not surprisingly, the
climate ranges from tropical to subtropical. The country
borders Tanzania to the north, Zambia and Zimbabwe to the
west, and South Africa and Swaziland to the southwest. A large
portion of the border with South Africa runs along the Kruger
Mozambique is roughly twice the size of
California as a comparison, and the arable land surface is
just over 5%. Farming produce includes cotton,
cashew nuts, sugarcane, tea, cassava, corn, coconuts, sisal,
citrus, tropical fruits, potatoes and sunflowers. About 80% of
the active labor force derives their income from farming.
Their is still enormous potential to develop the country's
large unused fertile plains.
The islands of the Bazaruto
Archipelago are a popular tourist destination that has been
granted National Park status.
Mozambique has a population of just under 20 million
people commonly known as Mozambicans. The labor force is just
under half of this, a large portion of which serves the
agricultural industry. About 70% of the population live below
the poverty line. In 2003 it was estimated that the HIV/AIDS
prevalence rate was 12%, and that 1,3 million people were
living with the disease.