Swahili (and later Arab) commercial ports existed along the coasts until the arrival of Europeans.
The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonised by Portugal from 1505.
However, since 2013, following more than 20 years of peace, a renewed insurgency by RENAMO has been occurring.
Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources.
The country changed hands from a Portuguese colony to a Somali colony back to a Portuguese colony, and it was an important place where Somali merchants enslaved the local population, starting what is now known as the Somali slave trade.
After over four centuries of Portuguese rule, Mozambique gained independence in 1975, becoming the People's Republic of Mozambique shortly thereafter.
Between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, waves of Bantu-speaking people migrated from the west and north through the Zambezi River valley and then gradually into the plateau and coastal areas.
Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain are also among the country's most important economic partners.
The voyage of Vasco da Gama around the Cape of Good Hope in 1498 marked the Portuguese entry into trade, politics, and society of the region.
The Portuguese gained control of the Island of Mozambique and the port city of Sofala in the early 16th century, and by the 1530s, small groups of Portuguese traders and prospectors seeking gold penetrated the interior regions, where they set up garrisons and trading posts at Sena and Tete on the River Zambezi and tried to gain exclusive control over the gold trade.
The only official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, which is spoken mostly as a second language by about half of the population.
Common native languages include Makhuwa, Sena, and Swahili.
During these wars, the Mazrui and Omani Arabs reclaimed much of the Indian Ocean trade, forcing the Portuguese to retreat south.