Almost five centuries as a
Portuguese colony came to a close with independence in 1975.
Large-scale emigration by whites, economic dependence on South Africa,
a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war hindered the country's
development until the mid 1990's. The ruling Front for the Liberation
of Mozambique (FRELIMO) party formally abandoned Marxism in 1989, and a
new constitution the following year provided for multiparty elections
and a free market economy. A UN-negotiated peace agreement between
FRELIMO and rebel Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) forces ended
the fighting in 1992. In December 2004, Mozambique underwent a delicate
transition as Joaquim Chissano stepped down after 18 years in office.
His elected successor, Armando Emilio Guebuza, promised to continue the
sound economic policies that have encouraged foreign investment.
Emakhuwa, Xichangana, Portuguese
Echuwabo, and other Mozambican languages are spoken.