GAZALAND, a district of Portuguese East Africa, extending north from the Komati or Manhissa river, Delagoa Bay, to the Pungwe river. It is a well-watered, fertile country. Gazaland is one of the chief recruiting grounds for negro labour in the Transvaal gold mines. The country derives its name from a Swazi chief named Gaza, a contemporary of Chaka, the Zulu king. Refugees from various clans oppressed by Dingaan (Chaka's successor) were welded into one tribe by Gaza's son Manikusa, who took the name of Sotshangana, his followers being known generally as Matshangana. A section of them was called Maviti or Landeens (i.e. couriers), a designation which persists as a tribal name. Between 1833 and 1836 Manikusa made himself master of the country as far north as the Zambezi and captured the Portuguese posts at Delagoa Bay, Inhambane, Sofala and Sena, killing nearly all the inhabitants. The Portuguese reoccupied their posts, but held them with great difficulty, while in the interior the Matshangana continued their ravages unchecked, depopulating large regions. Manikusa died about 1860, and his son Umzila, receiving some help from the Portuguese at Delagoa Bay in a struggle against a brother for the chieftainship, ceded to them the territory south of the Manhissa river. North of that stream as far as the Zambezi and inland to the continental plateau Umzila established himself in independence, a position he maintained till his death (c.1884). His chief rival was a Goanese named Gouveia, who came to Africa about 1850. Having obtained possession of a prazo in the Gorongoza district, he ruled there as a feudal lord while acknowledging himself a Portuguese subject. Gouveia recovered from the Matshangana and other troublers of the peace much of the country in the Zambezi valley, and was appointed by the Portuguese captain-general of a large region. From 1868 onward the country began to be better known. Probably the first European to penetrate any distance inland from the Sofala coast since the Portuguese gold-seekers of the 16th century was St Vincent W. Erskine, who explored the region between the Limpopo and Pungwe (1868-1875). Portugal's hold on the coast had been more firmly established at the time of Umzila's death, and Gungunyana, his successor, was claimed as a vassal, while efforts were made to open up the interior. This led in 1890-1891 to collisions on the borderland of the plateau with the newly established British South Africa Company, and to the arrest by the company's agents of Gouveia, who was, however, set at liberty and returned to Mozambique via Cape Town. An offer made by Gungunyana (1891) to come under British protection was not accepted. In 1892 Gouveia was killed in a war with a native chief. Gungunyana maintained his independence until 1895, when he was captured by a Portuguese force and exiled, first to Lisbon and afterwards to Angola, where he died in 1906. With the capture of Gungunyana opposition to Portuguese rule largely ceased.
In flora, fauna and commerce Gazaland resembles the neighbouring regions of Portuguese East Africa. (q.v.).
See G. McCall Theal, History of South Africa since 1795, vol. v. (London, 1908).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)