Mozambique is a country located on the southeast coast of
Africa. It covers 308,642 square miles and has a population
of about sixteen million. Maputo is the capitol, largest
city, and chief port. Mozambique was governed by Portugal
from the early 1500's until 1975 when it became independent
after a ten year struggle against Portuguese rule.
Mozambique is now controlled by Frelimo (the front for the
liberation of Mozambique) the nations only political party.
The president of Frelimo is also the nations president.
Mozambiques highest governmental power lies with the
parties central committee which is made up of fifteen
members appointed by Frelimo. This party appoints the two
hundred and ten members of the peoples
assembly,(Mozambiques legislative body).This group meets
twice a year. It's permanent committee handles legislative
matters between sessions. Most Mozambicans are black
Africans. Other groups such as Arabs, Europeans, and
Pakistanis make up less than one percent of the population.
Most blacks belong to groups that speak one of the Bantu
languages. The largest of these groups, the Makua-Lomwe,
accounts for forty percent of the population. The countries
official language is Portuguese but few blacks can speak
it. Some Mozambicans speak English when conducting business
activities. Most Mozambicans are farmers with extremely
simple techniques although farmers in some areas of the
country use modern techniques. Fifty five percent of the
people of Mozambique practice traditional African
religions. Of this large group, many are animists who
believe that everything in nature has a soul. Others
worship spirits of their ancestors. About thirty percent of
the population is Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. Many of
the remaining are Muslim. Only about twenty five percent of
Mozambiques people fifteen or older can read or write but
the government has begun programs to help improve
education. Almost one half of Mozambique is covered by a
flat plain that extends inland from the coast. Land rises
steadily beyond the plain and high plateaus and mountains
run along much of the western border. Sand dunes and swamps
line the coast. Grasslands and tropical rain forests cover
much of the country. Many sizable rivers flow east through
Mozambique into the Indian Ocean, there basins have
extremely fertile soil. Cashew trees and coconut palms grow
throughout the country. Animal life in Mozambique includes
crocodiles, elephants, lions, and zebras. Mozambiques
climate is basically tropical but temperatures and rainfall
may vary considerably in different areas. Temperatures
average from sixty eight degrees Fahrenheit in July to
eighty degrees Fahrenheit in January. About eighty percent
of the annual rainfall occurs from November to March.
Rainfall ranges from sixteen to fourty eight inches a year.
Mozambique is not well developed. Agriculture is its major
economics activity. Mozambique is the leading producer of
cashews. Other important products include coconuts, cotton,
sugar cane , and cassava (a starchy root). Some people
catch fish and shrimp in the Indian Ocean. Mozambiques
economy depends partly on payments from South Africa,
Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Malawi for the use of railroads
and port facilities. Many Mozambicans also work in South
Africa. Industrial development has been slow and has
occurred mainly in food processing and oil refining
industries. Coal is mined in central Mozambique. The Cahora
Bassa damn in the northwest produces electrical power, much
of which is transmitted to South Africa. Most of the roads
in Mozambique are unpaved. Many railroads link Mozambiques
ports with other countries. The chief airport of Mozambique
is located in Maputo. Three daily newspapers are published
in this country and the basic unit of money is metical.
People have lived in what is now Mozambique since the
4000's B.C. Bantu speaking people settled there before A.D.
100. Arabs lived in the area by the 800's. Portuguese
explorers first visited Mozambique in 1497. They
established a trading post there in 1505, and the country
became a slave trading center. But most of Mozambique was
undeveloped until the 1900's.