Mozambique's first inhabitants were Bushmen hunter-and-gatherers. Between the first and fourth centuries A.D., waves of Bantu-speaking tribes migrated from the north through the Zambezi River valley, and from the sixth century A.D. onward Arab and Asian traders worked along the southern coast of Mozambique. They traded gold brought from powerful civilizations inland and raided the north for slaves and ivory.
When the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama reached Mozambique in 1498, Arab-trading settlements had existed along the coast and outlying islands for several centuries. The Portuguese set up trading posts, which became regular ports of call on the new route to the East. By the 1760s, slavery was the most profitable trade. Over a million slaves were sold to North America and to the sugar plantations in Brazil and Cuba.
Portuguese influence gradually expanded, and individual settlers were granted extensive autonomy. As a result, investment lagged while Lisbon devoted itself to the more lucrative trade with India and the Far East and to the colonization of Brazil. At the Berlin Conference of 1884, Mozambique became a Portuguese colony. Land was leased to British and French companies, these companies expanded into cash crops such as cotton and tea. The colonial rulers raised income through heavy taxes and a brutal forced-labor system.
The drive for Mozambican independence developed, and in 1962 several anti-colonial political groups formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, FRELIMO, which in September 1964 initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule. After ten years of sporadic warfare and major political changes in Portugal, Mozambique became independent on 25 June 1975. By that time, the country was in ruins. Over 90 percent of Portuguese settlers had left, taking everything they could. Of the country's five hundred doctors, only eighty remained.
The FRELIMO party that came to power quickly set about re-building health and education services, but it had little experience, and even fewer resources. The leaders of the FRELIMO military campaign established a one party state allied to the Soviet bloc and outlawed rival political activity. FRELIMO eliminated political pluralism, religious educational institutions, and the role of traditional authorities.
The new government gave shelter and support to the South African ANC and Zimbabwean ZANU liberation movements while the governments of Rhodesia and South Africa fostered and financed an armed rebel movement in central Mozambique called the Mozambican National Resistance, RENAMO. In the rural areas, people coined the phrase, “FRELIMO by day, RENAMO by night” since the government blamed all lawless behavior on RENAMO. Civil war, sabotage from neighboring states, and economic collapse characterized the first decade of Mozambican independence. The result was devastating. Thousands of civilians were injured or killed and schools, health centers, railways, and roads were destroyed.
In the third FRELIMO party congress in 1983, President Samora Machel conceded the failure of socialism and the need for major political and economic reforms. He died, along with several advisers, in a 1986 plane crash. His successor, Joaquim Chissano, continued the reforms and began peace talks with RENAMO. The new constitution enacted in 1990 provided for a multiparty political system, market-based economy, and free elections.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, droughts and the disruption caused by the full-blown civil war between RENAMO and FRELIMO led to severe food shortages and famine for millions. Eventually, with the country brought to its knees, the civil war ended in October 1992 with the Rome General Peace Accords. Under supervision of the United Nations, peace returned to Mozambique. To add further misery to the people, in 2000 and 2002 Mozambique was hit by devastating floods that destroyed the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.
Today, Mozambique has taken a unique path to repair, caused by years of civil war and white flight. The United Nations have cleared most of the land mines and still continue on their quest to rid the country of its difficult past. Mozambique's new government has started rebuilding, but this time, not only their shattered country but their international image as a tourist getaway and a once forgotten great hunting destination.
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What People Are Saying
"In 2001 I went on a once in a lifetime trip with John X Safaris. In 2011 I completed my 6th trip with John X. Obviously I am a believer in the quality of the entire John X experience from the first class accommodations, to the outstanding food, exceptional service and even more importantly - to the quality hunting areas that produce the exceptional trophies I've come to expect. Trip number seven is being planned for 2012 - I simply can't get enough!"~ Brett Nelson '12 from USA
"I had a great experience and spent time with a professional, knowledgeable, and capable guide. I did not think a second safari was on the cards, but after being here with Juan MacDonald and the John X staff I will be back again.
"Everything was great. Top three hunts ever. I will be back!"~ Martin Osthulm '13 from
""Good effort, especially considering some tough weather conditions. Very enjoyable hunts in nice habitat – good attention to detail of hunter preferences. We’ve had a good time!"~ Greg & Janice Mensik '13 from
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