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Mozambique (/moʊzæmˈbiːk/), officially the Republic of Mozambique (Portuguese: Moçambique or República de Moçambique, pronounced [ʁɛˈpuβlikɐ ðɨ musɐ̃ˈbikɨ]) is a country in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest. It is separated from the Comoros, Mayotte and Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east. The capital and largest city is Maputo (formerly known as “Lourenço Marques” from 1876 to 1976).

Between the first and fifth centuries AD, Bantu-speaking peoples migrated to present-day Mozambique from farther north and west. Beginning in the 11th century, Arab, Persian, and Somali merchants began settlements and establishing commercial ports along the coast, contributing to the development of a distinct Swahili culture and language.

The voyage of Vasco da Gama in 1498 marked the arrival of the Portuguese, who began a gradual process of colonisation and settlement in 1505. After over four centuries of Portuguese rule, Mozambique gained independence in 1975, becoming the People’s Republic of Mozambique shortly thereafter. After only two years of independence, the country descended into an intense and protracted civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992. In 1994, Mozambique held its first multiparty elections, and has since remained a relatively stable presidential republic, although it still faces a low-intensity insurgency.

Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country’s economy is based largely on agriculture, but industry is growing, mainly food and beverages, chemical manufacturing and aluminium and petroleum production. The tourism sector is also expanding. South Africa is Mozambique’s main trading partner and source of foreign direct investment, while Belgium, Brazil, Portugal and Spain are also among the country’s most important economic partners. Since 2001, Mozambique’s annual average GDP growth has been among the world’s highest. However, the country is still one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world, ranking low in GDP per capita, human development, measures of inequality and average life expectancy.

The only official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, which is spoken mostly as a second language by about half the population. Common native languages include Makhuwa, Sena, and Swahili. The country’s population of around 29 million is composed overwhelmingly of Bantu people. The largest religion in Mozambique is Christianity, with significant minorities following Islam and African traditional religions. Mozambique is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Southern African Development Community, and is an observer at La Francophonie.

The Island of Mozambique lies off northern Mozambique, between the Mozambique Channel and Mossuril Bay, and is part of Nampula Province. Prior to 1898, it was the capital of colonial Portuguese East Africa. With its rich history and sandy beaches, the Island of Mozambique is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Mozambique’s fastest growing tourist destinations

Gorongosa National Park is at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley in the heart of central Mozambique, Southeast Africa. The over 4,000 square kilometres park includes the valley floor and parts of surrounding plateaus. Rivers originating on nearby Mount Gorongosa water the plain. Seasonal flooding and waterlogging of the valley, which is composed of a mosaic of different soil types, creates a variety of distinct ecosystems. Grasslands are dotted with patches of acacia trees, savannah, dry forest on sands and seasonally rain-filled pans and termite hill thickets

Inhaca Island is a subtropical island of Mozambique off the East African coast. The 52 km² island separates Maputo Bay to the west from the Indian Ocean off its eastern shores. The island’s irregular coastline approaches the mainland Machangulo peninsula at Ponta Torres where a 500-metre-wide tidal race separates the two headlands

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