Mozambique History  

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MOZAMBIQUE

Inhabited since before recorded history, Mozambique came under the control of Portugal beginning in the 16th century. Gold and ivory formed the basis of trade. Until the late 1800s, settlement by Portuguese, however, was sparse but in 1885 enough immigration had taken place to warrant the region's organization into a formal colony called Portuguese East Africa. Portugal kept Mozambique closely tied to it economically but in the 1950s, Portuguese rule began to be protested by the native peoples. Beginning in 1961 and continuing for more than a decade, the Frelimo (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique) rebellion fought a guerilla war. By 1964, the northern part of the country was almost completely in Frelimo hands. Portugal had its own revolution in 1974 and thereafter agreed to support independence for Mozambique. This led to so many Portuguese leaving Mozambique, that much of the country's administrative infrastructure was effectively wrecked. In June 1975, independence was granted and a Marxist Frelimo government was installed. During the 1980s, a movement to overthrow the Frelimo regime was organized and civil war erupted. Supported by South Africa, the anti-Frelimo group grew stronger. In response, the Frelimo government adopted a new constitution that spelled out an improvement in individual rights, including freedom of the press and speech and provided for a multiparty democracy to be established. The civil war came to an end in 1992 and in 1994, the country's first-ever multiparty elections were held.

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