A Short History of Mozambique

April 2017 9781849048330 278pp
EU Customers


This comprehensive history traces the evolution of modern Mozambique, from its early modern origins in the Indian Ocean trading system and the Portuguese maritime empire to the fifteen-year civil war that followed independence and its continued after-effects.

Though peace was achieved in 1992 through international mediation, Mozambique’s remarkable recovery has shown signs of stalling. Malyn Newitt explores the historical roots of Mozambican disunity and hampered development, beginning with the divisive effects of the slave trade, the drawing of colonial frontiers in the 1890s and the lasting particularities of the provinces.

Following the nationalist guerrillas’ victory against the Portuguese in 1975, these regional divisions resurfaced in a civil war pitting the south against the north and centre. The settlement of the early 1990s is now under threat from a revived insurgency, and the ghosts of the past remain.

This book seeks to distill this complex history, and to understand why, twenty-five years after the Peace Accord, Mozambicans still remain among the poorest people in the world.


‘This concise book provides a brief though richly detailed account of this important former Portuguese colony in Africa . . .  the writing is lively and provides some fascinating details’.  Choice

‘Malyn Newitt has demonstrated why he is one of the leading historians of modern Mozambique. This book charts the creation of Mozambique from colonialism and provides valuable insight into the deep structural and cultural challenges of Mozambique today. A must read for academics, NGOS, governments and business interested in Mozambique’s history and how it influences its future.’ — Alex Vines, OBE, Head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House and Senior Lecturer, Coventry University

‘Hurst have produced another superb ‘Short History’ in Malyn Newitt’s fluent, engaging history of Mozambique. Newitt brings his deep expertise to give longue durée depth to present day challenges, enriching our understanding of the long, fraught post-war period.’ — Christopher Cramer, Professor of the Political Economy of Development, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, author of Civil War Is Not A Stupid Thing: Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries

‘Malyn Newitt has distilled a lifetime of research and teaching on Mozambique into this well-informed and clearly written text, which will become a mandatory introduction to the country’s history. He brings the story up to the present, judiciously weighing up divergent interpretations.’ — William Gervase Clarence-Smith, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, Chief Editor, Journal of Global History


Malyn Newitt was deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter, and the first holder of the Charles Boxer Chair, King's College London. He has authored more than twenty books on Portugal and Portuguese colonial history, including A Short History of Mozambique and Emigration and the Sea, both published by Hurst.

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