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Portuguese Mozambican
Total population
82,593 (0.36% of the population)

Mozambique 57,593 Mozambican citizens (2012)

Portugal 25,000 Portuguese immigrants (2011)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Maputo, Matola, Beira, Pemba
Portuguese, Xitsonga, Makhuwa, Ndau dialect of Shona, Swahili, and other Bantu languages
Christianity (predominantly Roman Catholic with some Protestants)
Related ethnic groups
Portuguese people, Portuguese Brazilian, white Brazilians, Portuguese Africans

Portuguese Mozambicans (Portuguese: luso-moçambicanos) are Mozambican-born descendants of Portuguese settlers.


Portuguese explorers turned to present-day Mozambique and two other PALOP nations (Angola and Guinea-Bissau) to bring black slaves to Portugal before bringing them to work for their plantations in their Latin American province, the present-named Brazil. The first permanent Portuguese communities in the region were established in the 16th century. The whole region was divided into prazos (agricultural estates), to be lived by Portuguese settler families in the 17th century. Mozambique was declared a Portuguese province by the 19th century. By the early 20th century, the mainland government permitted more white emigration and settlement to the region, and Mozambique had 370,000 Portuguese settlers, who improved its economy, by the 1960s.[2] It was during this time that António de Oliveira Salazar led Portugal, in which several thousands of Portuguese citizens fled to other countries, especially neighbouring Rhodesia and South Africa as well as Brazil and the United States. Blacks and some mestiços and whites revolted against Portuguese rule in 1974.

The return to liberal democracy in Portugal led to the independence of its overseas colonies in 1975. By July 1975 around 80,000 Portuguese Mozambicans were left in the country from around 250,000 that lived in the country in the early 1970s. Of the 80,000 only around 10,000 opted for Mozambican citizenship instead of Portuguese citizenship. The most decisive factors for the preference for white emigration according to US diplomat William Jacobsen was a "combination of doctors leaving for good, plummeting standards of medical care... and uncertainty about country's willingness to allow Mozambican citizens to leave national territory."[3]

Large numbers of Portuguese residents emigrated shortly after, most of them to Portugal, where they were called retornados, while others moved to neighbouring Malawi, Rhodesia, or South Africa, and/or Brazil[4] and the United States. The most notable legacy of Portuguese Mozambican settlers in South Africa is Nando's, created in 1987, which incorporated influences from former Portuguese settlers from Mozambique, many of whom had settled on the south-eastern side of Johannesburg, after Mozambique's independence in 1975.

When the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries was founded in 1996, many Portuguese and Portuguese Brazilians arrived for economic and educational aid to Mozambique. They have helped increase Portuguese-language fluency especially in remote rural places and improved the economy, as the metical has a large value converted from the Euro. Many among them have adopted the country as their permanent home. Many more Portuguese settlers returned from Portugal, it is estimated by the Mozambican embassy that about 6,000 returned.


Portuguese is the official language and lingua franca of Mozambique. Their dialect, called Mozambican Portuguese, is closer to Standard European Portuguese than Brazilian dialects. Some speak Bantu languages (like Xitsonga, Makhuwa, and Ndau dialect of Shona) as second languages. Many educated Portuguese Mozambicans speak English, as it is an international lingua franca and Mozambique is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.


Most Portuguese Mozambicans are Christians belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.

Notable Portuguese Mozambicans

See also


  1. ^ Observatório da Emigração Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Contrary to the other settlers which often had lived in Mozambique for two or even three generations, the Portuguese arriving during the last phase of colonial occupation did not become identified with Mozambique.
  3. ^ James Myburgh (18 December 2013). "The ANC before the collapse of Communism". Politicsweb. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  4. ^ Portuguese Immigration (History) Archived 2012-05-16 at the Wayback Machine