The first people to see Mozambique's Indian Ocean sunrises were small, scattered clans of nomads who were likely trekking through the bush as early as 10,000 years ago.
The real story begins around 3000 years ago, when Bantu-speaking peoples began migrating into the area from the distant Niger Delta, bringing iron tools and weapons with them Meanwhile, from around the 8th century AD, sailors from Arabia began to arrive along the coast. One of the most important trading posts was at Sofala, near present-day Beira, which by the 15th century was the main link connecting Kilwa with inland gold fields. Other early coastal ports and settlements included those at Ilha de Mozambique, Angoche, Quelimane and Ilha do Ibo. These were all ruled by local sultans until Vasco da Gama sailed onto this scene in 1498, and over the next centuries, the Portuguese built forts and set up trading points along the coast. By the mid-16th century, ivory had replaced gold as the main trading commodity, and by the late 18th century, slaves had been added to the list.
The Portuguese never quite managed to get the grip over their vast hinterlands that they hoped for. In the 17th century, they divided much of the interior into vast agricultural estates, nominally under the Portuguese crown, but actually run as private fiefdoms with their own slave armies.
Marriage in Mozambique - Polygamy is traditionally practiced and until recently was quite common. In 1981, Frelimo instituted a law designed in conjunction with OMM that established monogamous marriage, and by which both spouses share ownership of property and decisions about where to live. The law also entitled women to a means of maintenance and specified the responsibilities of fathers in financially supporting their children. Marriage celebrations involve feasting, music, and dancing.
Domestic Unit. The traditional family includes several generations living together under one roof. However, in many areas, this family structure has been dismantled by the civil war, which took many lives, compelled many men to emigrate from rural areas to the cities or to neighboring countries, and left large numbers of children orphaned or abandoned.
Recent History Portugal pulled out almost overnight after the independent Peoples Republic of Mozambique was proclaimed on 25th June 1975 and Mozambique was almost immediately flung into a kind of "civil war" between the governing party Frelimo and the externally backed resistance movement Renamo.
The new prime minister was a founding member of the Mozambique Liberation Front Frelimo to whom power was handed over. The ensuing socialist program and opposition from Renamo led to crisis in 1983 when drought and famine struck the nearly bankrupt country. Mozambique was opened up to the west once more in return for aid.
Frelimo did an about turn from its Marxist ideology and announced it would switch to a market economy and multiparty elections.
In 1990 a cease-fire was arranged through negotiations in Rome. A formal peace agreement was signed in 1992 and since then Mozambique has moved beyond war and has held multiparty elections in 1994 and 1999, both won by Frelimo.