Mozambique is a beautiful country in the southern part of Africa. This nation is known for its long coastline on the Indian Ocean, and consequently some of the best beaches on the African continent. Here are some interesting facts about Mozambique, to know more about this rather underrated country.
Common Facts About Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the “Republic of Mozambique”, has a decent population of approximately 32 million people.
Mozambique is well-known for its diverse culture and fascinating past. It is one of only a few African nations with Portuguese ancestors. Another very interesting fact about Mozambique is that it is also the only nation whose name contains all the vowel sounds.
Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.
Historical Facts On Mozambique
Mozambique Is Over 10,000 Years
Present-day Mozambique has been inhabited for over 10,000 years. This is a surprise considering the country is officially just 48 years old.
The identity of the original inhibitors of present-day Mozambique is hard to determine, but what we know is that they were scattered clans of nomads. In the 4th century, the Bantu-speaking people migrated to Mozambique.
They established different regional settlements and were known for their agricultural exploits and cattle herding. They also developed the technology of smelting (iron ore extraction) and iron smithing.
Known as an archaeological site on the southern coast region of Mozambique, this was a flourishing trading port for the southern African region in the late first Millenium AD.
In the 19th century, Indian Ocean trading became popular, which birthed civilization for many regions, including present-day Mozambique. Many port towns were created to facilitate trading on the Indian Ocean, and Chinbuene is one of those famous port towns.
Mozambique island, Sofala, and Angoche were regional powers around the 15th century conducting business locally with other Africans and internationally with foreigners.
Ivory Caravans and gold were the major export at the time, although the major supply came from the Kingdom of Zimbabwe.
Europeans (Portuguese) first explored Mozambique in the 15th century. Before the Portuguese arrived in 1498, the Arabs dominated the place, establishing different trading settlements.
From 1500, the Portuguese set up trading posts and forts, which ultimately pushed out the Arab’s commercial hubs in the region.
Gradually, the Portuguese integrated themselves into the region’s society, trading, and politics. In the 16th century, the Portuguese took control of Sofala, which was the first step to colonizing Mozambique.
The Portuguese continued to set up small ports and settlements across the region, which gave them control of the region. It wasn’t straightforward, though, as they had continuous back and forth with the Arab traders.
By the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Portuguese had total control of Mozambique.
Compared to other countries on the African continent, Mozambique became independent relatively later. The war for independence in Mozambique started in 1964 and lasted for 11 years as the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
After abolishing the slave trade, the Portuguese still engaged the people in forced labor. When they got tired, they asked for help from other communist and anti-colonial ideologists. It didn’t help much, which led to many uprisings.
Ultimately the Portuguese conceded and handed democratic rule to the people of Mozambique.
Mozambique Civil War
Here is an important historical fact about Mozambique. The country had one of the longest civil wars on the African continent, which lasted for about 15 years.
The war started just two years after the country gained independence. It was between the FRELIMO (the Marxist Mozambique Liberation Front) and RENAMO (Mozambican National Resistance), the anti-communist insurgent forces, although other smaller factions also participated in the war.
The war claimed the lives of at least 1 million people. The majority died because of battle or starvation due to continuous interception of food supplies. FRELIMO wanted to establish a one-party state. However, RENAMO opposed the motion.
The war destroyed many infrastructures within the country, including hospitals, schools, and rail lines. Peace talks between the two fractions started in 1990 after the external support of both fractions collapsed. And in 1992, the war ended after intervention from several international bodies.
In 2013 and 2018, there was a bit of a slide back which led to an insurgency of some sort. They finally signed a peace treaty in 2019, and the conflict has been more subdued since then.
Useful Facts About Mozambique For Tourists
Monte Binga is a mountain in the Chinmo region of Mozambique. This mountain range is famous for being composed of quartzite ridges.
At an elevation of 2440 meters, Monte Binga is the highest point in Mozambique. However, it is also the second-highest point in Zimbabwe.
Wondering how? Monte Binga is located in Chimanimani Mountains, which sits on the border between the two countries.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
This is one Mozambique fact you probably didn’t know. The country has only one UNESCO world heritage site within its borders.
The island of Mozambique is a little over 4km away from the country’s mainland. It houses some architectural landmarks which are so significant to the country’s history. For that reason, it earns a spot on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
Mozambique is home to the fourth largest freshwater lake in the world, “Lake Nyasa.” The lake cut across two other countries, and it is safe to say the lake is shared by them all.
Mozambique, Tanzania, and Malawi all contain part of lake Nyasa in one capacity or the other.
Lake Nyasa is the second deepest lake in Africa. It ranks as the ninth-largest lake in the world. The lake is better known as Lake Malawi around the world.
Here is a cool fact about Mozambique it is one of the very few African countries that has dolphins in its waters. The Bazaruto archipelago is also a natural reserve where you can spot these beautiful marine lives.
The Bazaruto Natural Reserve has over 2000 species of fish in its waters. It is also the largest natural reserve in Africa.
Did you know there are many beautiful beaches in Mozambique? It is not a cliche to say Mozambique’s beaches are some of the best in Africa.
The country ranks 4th in Africa when it comes to coastline length; boasting about 2500km of land along the waters. With its proximity to the Indian Ocean, the country features some of the best white sand beaches in Africa.
Beyond the white sand, the beaches have crystal-clear waters and beautiful palm trees.
Cultural Facts Of Mozambique
Xima The National Dish
Because of its proximity to the Ocean, you can guess that food in Mozambique is based heavily on fresh seafood. However, seafood is not the only food Mozambicans eat.
Stew, rice, cassava, corn, and millet are some of the ever-present foods in traditional Mozambique cuisine. Meat like steak and chicken are also popular in the country.
Due to the influence of the Portuguese (their colonial masters), spices like chili pepper and garlic are also constant in Mozambique Cuisine.
The national dish, however, is Xima, a corn flour-based porridge. It is mixed with hot water and pasted until it thickens and can be molded with the and. It is enjoyed with different types of stew, especially vegetables and okra, and fish or meat.
Languages In Mozambique
Portuguese is the official language of the Mozambicans; however, it is not the only language spoken in the country.
Here is an interesting language fact about Mozambique, although Portuguese is the official language in the country, it is only spoken by 50% of the country’s population.
There are over 40 languages like Tswa, Ndau, Sena, Chwabo, Makhuwa, and Changana spoken in the country. English is not widely spoken, although it is used in more tourism-related places like beaches and lodges.
Greeting In Mozambique
A welcoming fact about Mozambique culture is the people’s warmth and hospitality. It is common to see people greet each other for lengthy periods. Men usually greet themselves with handshakes, while women usually greet each other verbally.
When you visit someone, it is considered rude to reject food. It is also impolite to leave before tea and snacks are offered.
Agriculture In Mozambique
Mozambique has good fertile land, making the country’s agricultural sector very productive. One of the economic facts about Mozambique to know is that they depend rather heavily on agricultural export.
Some of the most exported agricultural products in the country include cashew nuts, cotton, tea, corn, and sugar, among many others. In 2021, agriculture contributed about 27.5% of the country’s GDP.
Fascinating Mozambique Facts For Kids
All Five Vowels
Here is a super fun fact about Mozambique that you probably didn’t know. It is the only country with a one-word name that carries all five vowel sounds (A, E, I, O, U).
Scrabble Highest Word Score
That said, this uniquely Mozambique fact would have appealed to board/word game lovers, especially Scrabble.
In Scrabble, place names (proper nouns) are not allowed as score words. If it was allowed, Mozambique would have had the highest score (34 points).
The closest are Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, both on 30 points.
Maputo is the capital of Mozambique. With a total land area of 347.7 square km, this is the largest city in the country. Maputo is a port city, well known for housing some outstanding Portuguese neoclassical-style architectural buildings.
Did you notice this fun fact about the Mozambique flag? It is one of only two countries in the world to feature firearms on the national flag. The other country is Guatemala (a Central American Country).
The firearm on the Mozambique flag represents defense for the Mozambique people in terms of security.
Landscape In Mozambique
Mozambique has some beautiful and diverse landscapes. The country is blessed with coastal lowlands, uplands, high plateaus, and beautiful mountains.
The northern part of the country is quite rugged as there are more mountains in the region. That said, you can imagine there are many majestic natural sights to be found in Mozambique.
LEARN MORE ABOUT AFRICA
Other Interesting Facts About Mozambique
It is no secret that Africa has the lowest median age in the world. Mozambique contributes significantly to this statistic with one of the youngest populations in the world.
As of 2020, the median age in Mozambique is 17 years. With this uncommon number, the demographics of Mozambique are interesting, to say the least.
Around 40% of the country’s population is either 15 or under. Child marriage is a major contributing factor to the country’s youthful population.
It is claimed that over 50% of the country’s women population get married and have their first child even before the age of 19.
Fast Growing Economy
Here is an unfortunate fact about Mozambique. It ranks as one of the poorest countries on the African continent, as over 60% of the country’s population lives below $1 per day.
The irony about Mozambique’s economy though is that despite being a poor country, it is still one of the fastest developing economies on the African continent.
There is hope for Mozambicans as the food and beverage industry is growing rapidly, and chemical manufacturing, aluminum, and petroleum production are rising.
Named After A Person
How about this for a fun fact about Mozambique? The country is one of the very few countries named after a person.
Here’s the story, the country itself was not directly named after a person. It was named after the island of Mozambique. The island of Mozambique though got its name from a person.
This was back in the days when the country was still a regional power, and trading ports were popular. The island was one of the locations where the Arab traders set up their trading ports.
One of the famous Arab slave traders (Mussa al-Bik), because of his influence, crowned himself sultan of the island in the 15th century.
The name Mozambique came as a result of a mispronunciation. However, the name stayed. Mussa al-Bik-Mozambique, pronounce it, and you will get the story.
Did you know this Mozambique fact? It is one of two honourary members of the commonwealth nations. The other country is Rwanda.
In case you are wondering what is unique about the Commonwealth and why Mozambique is an honourary member. Commonwealth nations are countries that have ties with the United Kingdom. They were either British protectorates or British colonies.
Mozambique and Rwanda had no historical ties with the British. All the countries neighboring Mozambique are members of the Commonwealth, so the country made a bold decision to join the organization. They felt joining the organization would make their relationship easier and better with other member countries.
Amongst several unfortunate facts about Mozambique is the challenge of natural disasters. In 2019, it became the first African Country to be hit so hard by Cyclone Kenneth and Idai.
This cyclone claimed the lives of at least 600 people and left many displaced. It also destroyed Mozambican properties worth millions of dollars. This tragedy will live long in the memory of the Mozambicans as, to date, they are yet to recover from it.
Ring any bells? Yeah! That’s right; the 2006 Oscar-nominated movie featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond. It was partly shot in Mozambique. So if you’ve watched the movie Blood Diamond, then you’ve seen part of the country of Mozambique.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Mozambique
From its fascinating history to the cultural and economic transformation of the country, there are more interesting facts about Mozambique to learn about. Its population may be young but it’s full of potential for growth in many areas.
The unique Mozambique facts can give valuable insight into how this remarkable country works. There are also plenty of opportunities waiting for those who want to explore what this vibrant African nation has to offer.