Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest. It was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonized by Portugal in 1505. By 1510, the Portuguese had virtual control of all of the former Swahili sultanates on the east African coast. From about 1500, Portuguese trading posts and forts became regular ports of call on the new route to the east. Mozambique became independent in 1975, to which it became the People's Republic of Mozambique shortly after, and was the scene of an intense civil war from 1977 to 1992. The country is a member of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and the Commonwealth of Nations and an observer of the Francophonie. Mozambique ( Moçambique ) was named by the Portuguese after Msumbiji, the Swahili name of Mozambique Island and port-town.
Portuguese is the official and most widely spoken language of the nation, but only 40% of all people speak it — 33.5%, mostly Bantus, as their second language and only 6.5%, mostly white Mozambicans and mestiços, as their first language. Bantus speak several of their different languages — most widely used of these are Swahili, Makhuwa, Sena, Ndau, and Shangaan — and these have many Portuguese-origin words. Arabs, Chinese, and Indians speak their own languages ( Indians from Portuguese India speak any of the Portuguese Creoles of their origin ) aside from Portuguese as their second language. Most educated Mozambicans can also speak English, which is used in schools and business, as their second or third language.