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Useful Notes / Mozambique

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The Republic of Mozambique (República de Moçambique in Portuguese), is a large country in East Africa. Its capital and largest city, Maputo, was previously called Lourenço Marques until the independence.

Up until the arrival of Portuguese explorers and merchants, it was mostly inhabited (and it still is, albeit in a smaller proportion) by Bantu-speaking people who migrated from the Zambezi river between the 1st and 5th centuries AD. However, there aren't many traces of their way of living in The Middle Ages, since they were mostly composed of agricultural communities and societies. They also had Swahili, Arab and Persian trade ports and settlements.

The arrival of the Portuguese began with Vasco da Gama's journey in 1498. From the 16th century onwards, it became a Portuguese colony, albeit with lesser influence in world trade and exploration compared to India, Brazil and the Far East. In the early 20th century, its administration was conceded to some private companies, but it was not renewed when Portugal began its new regime by António de Oliveira Salazar.


The independence war began in September 1964, by the guerrilla actions of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique / FRELIMO). After 10 years of sporadic fighting and the change of Portugal's regime towards a democracry, FRELIMO achieved the full control of the territory and expelled the Portuguese, achieving full independence in 1975.

The new government, led by Samora Machel, was a one-party state based on Marxist principles and backed by the Soviet Union and Cuba. However, after two years, a long and violent civil war began between the anti-Communist RENAMO militias and the Marxist FRELIMO regime that would last until 1992. Like in the early stages of the Colonial War, RENAMO occupied the rural areas and isolated the urban areas, which were occupied by the FRELIMO. The war caused, among other things, the collapse of the infrastructure, a failed central planning, the exodus of the remaining Portuguese people and the Mozambicans of Portuguese heritage, and, ultimately, widespread famine. Not to mention the mass human rights violations (which included the execution of tens of thousands of people and the sending of many other thousands to re-education camps where the majority died).


In 1986, Samora Machel died in a plane crash, allegedly caused by the South African government. His successor, Joaquim Chissano, started to change things, by implementing a capitalist economy, beginning peace talks with RENAMO and elaborating a new constitution and implementing free elections. The year after the civil war ended, 1.5 million Mozambican refugees who had sought asylum in the neighbouring countries returned. In 1996, it became the first nation that was never part of the British Empire to join The Commonwealth.

The Mozambican flag
The flag is based on that used by the FRELIMO, and uses all four Pan-African colors. The green, black and yellow stripes represent natural bounty, the African people, and mineral resources, respectively, and the white fimbriations in between signify peace. At the hoist side is a red triangle, symbolizing the struggle for independence. At its center is the golden star of Marxism, upon which is superimposed a book, a hoe and an AK-47 with a bayonet attached to the barrel (making this flag the only one in the world to incorporate a modern weapon), symbolizing education, agriculture and the defense of Mozambique's liberty, respectively.


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