Mozambican History

Discover Mozambique's Past

Knowing the history about the country you’re visiting makes for a much richer trip and understanding of the people and culture you will be encountering. Read on to find out more about the history of the Republic of Mozambique, a country in southeastern Africa, bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east.

  • Mozambique's first inhabitants were San hunter-gatherers, but between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, waves of Bantu-speaking people began moving in. They migrated from the north through the Zambezi River valley, to the plateau and coast. They settled, forced out the original inhabitants and introduced agriculture.
  • Swahili and Arab commercial settlements existed along the coast and outlying islands for centuries and traded with Madagascar and the Far East.


  • In 1498, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama reached Mozambique's shores with four ships. Two years later, he returned with more ships and weapons, and the intention of taking over control of the region.
  • The Portuguese fleet followed in his footsteps and within a few years the Portuguese took charge of all trade in the country. They destroyed most of the Islamic-African civilisation, justifying the violence and killings as a Christian crusade against Islamic influence.
  • 1752 saw Portugal claim Mozambique as their own colony. The slave trade began and played a large part in the nation's trade industry. Most slaves from here were sent to French sugar plantations in Reunion and Mauritius, and to the Portuguese plantations in Brazil.
  • In 1869, Portugal officially abolished slavery, but the trade with humans continued in Mozambique until around 1900.
  • Colonial rule ended in 1975 as the Portuguese pulled out and granted the country independence.


  • FRELIMO (The Liberation Front of Mozambique), a liberation movement founded in 1962 to fight for independence, established a one-party state allied to the Soviet bloc. They prohibited rival political activity and eradicated religious educational institutions and the role of traditional authorities.
  • In retaliation, an armed rebel movement and anti-Communist political group emerged, called RENAMO (the Mozambican National Resistance). Sponsored by white minority governments in Rhodesia and South Africa, they engaged the new government in a destructive civil war from 1977. War, sabotage from neighbouring states, and economic collapse characterised the first decade of Mozambique's independence.
  • Civil war ended in 1992 with the Rome General Peace Accords. Under the United Nations' supervision, peace returned to Mozambique.
  • The Mozambican ruling regime called for democratic, multi-party elections in 1994, ending single-party rule. FRELIMO won the first elections with a large majority of votes. They took on more social democratic views and received active support from Margaret Thatcher's government in the UK. Mozambique became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • By mid-1995 the more than 1.7 million Mozambican refugees, who had sought asylum in neighboring Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa as a result of war and drought, had returned. About another 4 million internally displaced people returned to their areas of origin as well.
  • The Mozambican people and their government have put their war torn past behind them and have focused on rebuilding their country.

Today the country is more peaceful and safe for tourists to visit. It is a popular and growing tourist destination with several luxury hotels for you to explore the country from. Should you have any questions about booking a trip here, contact one of our expert travel consultants.

What our guests say about us

Call Us

Office Hours: Open Closed
08:30 - 17:00 (GMT+2)
Toll Free:

0808 238 0044

888 2156 556

1 800 447164

1 800 947168

1 844 8517 090

800 900 341

800 101 3310

080 045 2877

800 018 4895

0800 182 3211

0800 562 964

0800 295 105

0800 919 394

0800 721 24

800 260 73

0800 848 229

1 844 2867 643

9009 476 83

0018 005 11710

0800 444 6880

018 0051 81937

0800 7618 612

800 827 648

Local Number:

+27 21 469 2600