A Name Applied To A Large Extent Of The Seaboard Of E. Africa, belonging to Portugal; area, about 380,000 sq. m.; pop. about 300,000. It is hounded E. by the Mozambique channel, N. by Cape Delgado, lat. 10° 41' S., and S. by Dela-goa bay, lat. 26° S.; on the west the boundary is indefinite. The coast includes the two prominent headlands of Cape Corrientes in the south and Cape Delgado in the north, and several large bays, the chief of which are Delagoa and Pamba. Between Delagoa bay and Cape Corrientes, and from Mozambique city to Cape Delgado, the shores are high and precipitous; while reefs and numerous islands lie off the land nearly throughout its entire length. Many large streams discharge themselves here; the principal is the Zambesi, the largest river of E. Africa, which debouches by several mouths at the middle point of the Mozambique coast. The climate is hot and unhealthy. Considerable tracts are cultivated and yield abundant crops of rice. The forests supply wood of great beauty and value. The rivers abound with hippopotami, which yield fine ivory. Gold was formerly obtained by washing the sands, but little is now produced; and copper ore is said to be found in several places. The vast plains of the interior abound in elephants, lions, and other wild animals, from which ivory and valuable skins are obtained.
But the Portuguese have so neglected their possessions that the trade and government are now very feeble. The native chiefs are absolute rulers in most parts of the territory, and many of them are inimical to the Portuguese authority, which does not extend ten consecutive miles in any direction. Many of the subordinate officials and the entire garrison of 1,000 men are convicts. The coast for administrative purposes is divided into six sub-districts, of which Mozambique is the head. A governor general and secretary, appointed by the crown, administer the government, assisted by a junta composed of a president, treasurer, and 12 members; and it is represented by two members in the Lisbon cortes. The established religion is Roman Catholic, and is superintended by an apostolical prefect and a few priests. Education, like religion, is at a very low ebb, and most of the teachers reside in the capital. The Portuguese settlements, beginning from the north, are Sao Joao, Mozambique, Quili-mane, Sena, Tete, Sofala, Inhamban, and Lou-renco Marques; all of which have declined. - This coast was known to the Arabs centuries before its discovery by Europeans, and was occupied by them when first visited by the Portuguese in the beginning of 1498. The fame of its gold and the convenience of its ports for the Indian trade led the Portuguese to attempt the expulsion of the original settlers.
This was not difficult and in 1508 they had obtained a footing in two places, and built a fort upon the island of Mozambique. They have made some unsuccessful attempts to penetrate the interior; but since 1860 a considerable part of the territory immediately adjacent to the Zambesi, and its tributary the Shire, to Lake Nyassa, has been explored by Dr. Livingstone. The slave trade is still carried on, but not so actively as formerly, and several Portuguese officials have been removed for permitting it or participating in it. In 1873 Sir Bartle Frere visited Mozambique and adjoining countries, and negotiated with the sultan of Zanzibar a treaty for the suppression of the slave traffic on the E. coast of Africa.
A City, capital of the territory, on a coral island near the mainland; pop. about 7,000. The centre of the island is in lat. 15° 3' S., lon. 40° 48' E. It is about 1½ m. long and ¼ m. broad, in the form of a crescent, with the hollow side toward the sea; and, with two other islets, it is near the mouth of a bay 6 m. long and 5 m. broad, which furnishes a safe and excellent harbor. The ground on which the town stands is from 20 to 50 ft. above the water, and the position is strongly fortified. The governor's palace is an extensive stone building. There are two churches and three chapels, a custom house, a hospital, prisons, tanks, and storehouses. The streets are very narrow, and the houses being all whitewashed, the glare and heat are very great, the mercury rising from 6° to 10° higher in the town than on the mainland. The inhabitants are a mixture of Indian, Arabian, and European, and their costumes are as various as their races. With the exception of the governor and his staff, the greater part of the European settlers are convicts. Other classes are descendants of the old Arab settlers, most of whom are sailors, the Banian traders from Hindostan, and negroes.
Mozambique formerly supplied nearly all the markets in that part of the world with slaves, besides sending some to the west Indies.
The legitimate traffic of the place is principally carried on by Arab ships, which bring piece goods and eastern produce from India, and take back ivory. It was made a free port a few years ago, but the rise of Zanzibar and the almost total suppression of the slave trade have interfered with its prosperity, though its export of ivory is still important.