Mozambique History

Mozambique History


(República de Moçambique). Southeast African state (799,380 km²). Capital: Maputo. Administrative division: provinces (11). Population: 21,020,000 residents (2008 estimate). Language: Portuguese (official), Bantu. Religion: animists / traditional beliefs 25.8%, Catholics 23.8%, non-religious / atheists 23.1%, Muslims 17.8%, Protestants 7.8%, others 1.7%. Monetary unit: new metical, in the pl. meticais (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.366 (175th place). Borders: Tanzania (N), Indian Ocean (E), South Africa and Swaziland (S and SW), Zimbabwe (W), Malawi and Zambia (NW). Member of: Commonwealth, OCI, UN, SADC, UA and WTO, EU associate.


Located on a large stretch of the eastern edge of the southern African plateaus, it faces the Indian Ocean to the Efor approx. 2500 km. Independent since 1975, it was among the last African countries to achieve independence; subject for centuries to Portugal, until the fall of the Salazarist government, its development was particularly delayed by Portuguese politics which were not inclined to engage directly in a real colonial exploitation but inclined to concessions to private individuals and large companies, including foreign ones. After 1975 the country was devastated for about 15 years by a terrible civil war between the Marxists of FRELIMO, financed by the Soviet Union, and the RENAMO movement, financed by the neighboring segregationist countries (South Africa and Rhodesia-Zimbabwe).. In 1992, after the dissolution of the USSR, the two movements signed peace and initiated the democratization of the country.


Following the negotiations undertaken between the FRELIMO exponents and the Lisbon government, on 25 June 1975 Mozambique gained full independence. The new president of the state, Samora Machel, gave birth to a Marxist-inspired government committed to solving the serious problems that the country presented at the end of colonization, from health problems, aggravated by the return to Portugal of almost all doctors, to internal disorders fueled by former colonists, to conflicts with Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) which in 1976 carried out repeated aerial bombardments in the border areas.

During 1977, according to remzfamily, Mozambique strengthened its relations with Moscow and Beijing and, on the occasion of the FRELIMO Congress, reaffirmed the regime’s adherence to Marxism-Leninism. Relations with Portugal improved considerably after the return (1977) of the last former colonists. In the mid-eighties Machel, given the bad economic performance, reopened the country to Western capital to obtain the aid that Moscow could not provide. In addition, the escalation of the guerrillas, animated by the dissident group of RENAMO and financed by South Africa, induced the Mozambican president to negotiate with Pretoria (1984). In exchange for Maputo’s suspension of aid to black South Africans in the ANC (African National Congress), the powerful neighbor undertook to cut the funds to RENAMO, responsible for major damage and the training of one million internal refugees. This pragmatic orientation of Mozambican politics was confirmed on the death of Samora Machel (in a plane crash in 1986) by the successor to the presidential office, Joaquim Alberto Chissano (former foreign minister), with the signing in 1988 of an agreement with South Africa and Portugal for the restoration of the great Cahora Bassa dam, while the following year negotiations and direct contacts with the guerrillas were initiated which led to partial truces. After the V Congress of FRELIMO (1989) decreed the formal abandonment of Marxism-Leninism as the exclusive ideological reference, on November 30, 1990 the introduction of a new Constitution put an end to the one-party system: the name of the state simultaneously became that of the Republic of Mozambique, losing the status of “popular”.

In the 1980s, relations with Western countries intensified strongly, and in particular with the United States, they pronounced themselves in favor of the generalized cessation of aid to RENAMO and came to grant substantial economic aid to Mozambique. The pope’s visit was also emblematic of the change that had taken place John Paul II (1988). In the early nineties, after long negotiations, with the Italian mediation, between the government of Mozambique and RENAMO, a peace agreement was signed (Rome, 4 October 1992). A conference that met in Rome in December of the same year and in which over thirty countries participated, approved the granting of substantial economic aid to Mozambique, while the UN Security Council decided to send a contingent of Blue Helmets to the country in charge of oversee the implementation of the agreements and oversee the demilitarization of the warring factions. The first political elections were held in October 1994 and the first to elect the President of the Republic in the following December. The response of the polls confirmed J. Chissano to the presidency, who obtained 53% of the votes and a ‘ a similar majority allowed FRELIMO to win the majority (44.3% against RENAMO’s 37.7%). Despite the lively protests of the opposition, President Chissano was also reconfirmed in 1999. In the first months of 2000 the country was devastated by very serious floods due to the passage of cyclone Eline over Mozambique. Armando Guebuza, the new FRELIMO candidate, after Chissano had decided not to run again, won the presidential elections at the end of 2004, despite allegations of opposition fraud; Luisa Diogo became prime minister. In 2009 Guebuza was reconfirmed as president and FRELIMO won the legislative elections, strengthening its presence in parliament. In 2013, RENAMO, unable to constitute an effective opposition to the government, resumed guerrilla activities and denounced the 1992 Treaty of Rome.

Mozambique History