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Mozambique Information - Page 2
Mozambique has been inhabited since early times. Hunter-gatherers lived in the area in the Stone Age and Bantu speakers migrated to present-day Mozambique around the third century AD. Arab and Asian merchants traded along the coast from the sixth century.

The first Europeans, the Portuguese led by Vasco da Gama, arrived in Mozambique at the end of the fifteenth century. In 1884 Mozambique officially became a Portuguese colony. British and French companies rented land for plantations.

Portuguese direct rule began in 1932 and by the 1960s many more Portuguese had arrived in Mozambique. About this time Frelimo, the Mozambique Liberation Front, began a long campaign for independence.

Finally, in 1974 Portugal and Frelimo signed the Lusaka Accord and Mozambique became independent in 1975.

Renamo, the National Resistance movement of Mozambique, backed by white governments in South Africa and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) fought against the Frelimo government. Between 1977 and 1992 war and famine killed around a million people in Mozambique.

Following independence and the subsequent civil war, the government of Mozambique introduced a number of economic reforms. Together with foreign aid and investment these measures led to significant improvements in the country's economy. Unfortunately, Mozambique suffered severe flooding at the turn of the century and reconstruction costs were estimated at over four hundred and thirty million dollars.

A large percentage of Mozambicans work in the agricultural sector; many are subsistence farmers. Livestock is reared and crops include maize, millet, sorghum, cassava, beans, sweet potatoes, sunflowers, groundnuts, cashew nuts, coconuts, citrus and tropical fruits, sugarcane, tea, cotton, sisal and tobacco.

Industries are hydropower, petroleum products, chemicals, aluminum, asbestos, cement, glass, textiles, food, beverages and tobacco.

Mozambique's long coastline is beneficial to the country's fishing industry and the tourist trade. Big game fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling are all major attractions for tourists. (2008)

Crafts include basketry, wooden carvings and sculpture. Malangatana Ngwenya, a versatile artist known for dramatic paintings, has also been inspired by Mozambican crafts. Malangatana, born near Maputo in 1936, is considered one of the greatest African artists.

Music is an integral part of Mozambique's culture. In 1979 the National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique was formed by musicians, dancers, storytellers and actors. Today the Company regularly presents Mozambican culture at a variety of international venues.

Popular team sports in Mozambique are basketball and football. The Federacao Mocambicana de Futebol is affiliated to FIFA.

In athletics, Mozambique's Maria Mutola won the country's first Gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2002.

Mozambique's long coastline offers plenty of opportunities for sports such as scuba diving and deep-sea fishing.

Public holidays in Mozambique are New Year's Day - 1 January, Heroes' Day - 3 February, Day of the Mozambican Woman - 7 April, Workers' Day - 1 May, Independence Day - 25 June (1975), Lusaka Agreement Day - 7 September, Armed Forces Day - 25 September, and National Family Day/Christmas Day - 25 December.

News from Mozambique is available from Newslink.

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