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Between the 1890s and 1920, Portugal led a military campaign to colonize Mozambique. After over 40 years of Portuguese rule, nationalist groups in Mozambique united to form the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO). In 1964, FRELIMO began a movement of guerilla warfare against the Portuguese, starting a trend of civil war that would ravage Mozambique for decades. By the early 1970s, FRELIMO’s 7,000 guerilla fighters controlled most of central and northern Mozambique. In 1974, the Portuguese military overthrew the government and installed leadership that was sympathetic toward Mozambique. Portugal struck a mutual cease-fire agreement with FRELIMO and gave Mozambique its independence in June of 1975. Unfortunately, the Portuguese exit left the country with a shortage of machinery and skilled labor. In a reaction to this, FRELIMO leader Samora Moisès Machel instituted a Marxist government in Mozambique. In 1980, following an invasion from Zimbabwe, the Mozambique National Resistance Movement (RENAMO) began its own guerilla campaign against Machel’s government. In an attempt to quiet the social and political unrest, Machel reduced the size of the government and privatized some industry. Despite his efforts, the conflicts between FRELIMO and RENAMO ravaged the nation until 1992.



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