Straddling the Indian Ocean and the volatile world of racially divided Southern Africa, Mozambique has assumed an increasingly strategic position. Its 2,000-mile coastline and three major ports of Maputo, Beira, and Nacala—all ideally suited for naval bases—have long been coveted by the superpowers. No less important is Mozambique’s proximity to South Africa and Zimbabwe, which gained its independence in 1980 with substantial military and strategic assistance from Mozambique. The country’s enormous mineral potential is another key factor. Underdevelopment, oppression, and mass deprivation constitute recurring themes in Mozambican history; but so, too, does a long tradition of resistance. The country merits attention as well for its highly visible campaign against â€œtribalismâ€ and racism—an unprecedented move on a continent marred by ethnic, religious, and regional conflict. Drawing on oral interviews as well as written primary sources, the authors of this profile of Mozambique focus on the changing and complex Mozambican reality.
Introduction -- The Precolonial Period, 1500–1880 -- The Colonial Period, 1900–1962 -- Popular Opposition to Colonial Rule, 1900–1962 -- The Struggle for Independence, 1962–1975 -- The Making of a Mozambican Nation and a Socialist Polity -- Transforming the Economy -- Independent Mozambique in the Wider World -- Appendix