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Mozambique

MOZAMBIQUE [Sao Sebastiao de Mozambique], a town of Portuguese East Africa, seat of a Roman Catholic bishopric in the province of Goa, in 15 4' S., 40 44' E. The town occupies the whole of a small coral island at the mouth of Mossoril Bay. The name Mozambique, used first to designate the island, was also given to the town and extended to the whole of the Portuguese possessions on the east coast of Africa. There are three forts, of which the principal, St Sebastian, at the northern extremity of the island was built in 1510 entirely of stone brought from Portugal. It is quadrangular, and has bastioned walls nearly 70 ft. high. In it are mounted some modern guns. The harbour is small, but deep enough to admit vessels drawing 25 feet.

The inhabitants, who number about 7000, consist chiefly of Mahommedan negroes of mixed descent speaking a dialect of the Makwa language. There are Parsee, Banyan, Goanese and Arab traders, and about 300 Europeans, besides half-caste Portuguese. The annual average value of the imports for the three years 1904-1906 was 97,035, of the exports 71,636. The import trade is chiefly with Great Britain and India, the articles in chief demand being cotton, coloured shawls and hardware. The exports are chiefly groundnuts, rubber of inferior quality, sesamum and other oil seeds, tortoise-shell and ebony. Germany has a large share of the exports.

Mozambique was discovered by Vasco da Gama in 1498. There was then a flourishing Arab town on the island, of which no trace exists. The history of the Portuguese town is closely identified with that of the province, for which see PORTUGUESE EAST AFRICA. The commercial and political importance of Mozambique has been eclipsed by Lourenco Marques.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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