Mozambique is a country located on the southeast coast of
. It covers 308,642 square miles and has a population of about sixteen million. Maputo is the capitol, largest city, and chief port. Mozambique was governed by Portugal from the early 1500's until 1975 when it became independent after a ten year struggle against Portuguese rule. Mozambique is now controlled by Frelimo (the front for the liberation of Mozambique) the nations only political party. The president of Frelimo is also the nations president. Mozambiques highest governmental power lies with the parties central committee which is made up of fifteen members appointed by Frelimo. This party appoints the two hundred and ten members of the peoples assembly,(Mozambiques legislative body).This group meets twice a year. It's permanent committee handles legislative matters between sessions. Most Mozambicans are black Africans. Other groups such as Arabs, Europeans, and Pakistanis make up less than one percent of the population. Most blacks belong to groups that speak one of the Bantu languages. The largest of these groups, the Makua-Lomwe, accounts for forty percent of the population. The countries official language is Portuguese but few blacks can speak it. Some Mozambicans speak English when conducting business activities. Most Mozambicans are farmers with extremely simple techniques although farmers in some areas of the country use modern techniques. Fifty five percent of the people of Mozambique practice traditional African religions. Of this large group, many are animists who believe that everything in nature has a soul. Others worship spirits of their ancestors. About thirty percent of the population is Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. Many of the remaining are Muslim. Only about twenty five percent of Mozambiques people fifteen or older can read or write but the government has begun programs to help improve education. Almost one half of Mozambique is covered by a flat plain that extends inland from the coast. Land rises steadily beyond the plain and high plateaus and mountains run along much of the western border. Sand dunes and swamps line the coast. Grasslands and tropical rain forests cover much of the country. Many sizable rivers flow east through Mozambique into the Indian , there basins have extremely fertile soil. Cashew trees and coconut palms grow throughout the country. Animal life in Mozambique includes crocodiles, elephants, lions, and zebras. Mozambiques climate is basically tropical but temperatures and rainfall may vary considerably in different areas. Temperatures average from sixty eight degrees Fahrenheit in July to eighty degrees Fahrenheit in January. About eighty percent of the annual rainfall occurs from November to March. Rainfall ranges from sixteen to fourty eight inches a year. Mozambique is not well developed. Agriculture is its major economics activity. Mozambique is the leading producer of cashews. Other important products include coconuts, cotton, sugar cane , and cassava (a starchy root). Some people catch fish and shrimp in the Indian Ocean. Mozambiques economy depends partly on payments from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Malawi for the use of railroads and port facilities. Many Mozambicans also work in South Africa. Industrial development has been slow and has occurred mainly in food processing and oil refining industries. Coal is mined in central Mozambique. The Cahora Bassa damn in the northwest produces electrical power, much of which is transmitted to South Africa. Most of the roads in Mozambique are unpaved. Many railroads link Mozambiques ports with other countries. The chief airport of
is located in Maputo. Three daily newspapers are published in this country and the basic unit of money is metical. People have lived in what is now Mozambique since the 4000's B.C. Bantu speaking people settled there before A.D. 100. Arabs lived in the area by the 800's. Portuguese explorers first visited Mozambique in 1497. They established a trading post there in 1505, and the country became a slave trading center. But most of Mozambique was undeveloped until the 1900's.