The Island of Mozambique is an island city located in the province of Nampula in northern Mozambique, which gave the name of the country which was the first capital. Due to its rich history, as manifested by an interesting architectural heritage, the island was considered by UNESCO in 1991 the World Heritage of Humanity.
Currently, the city is a municipality and a local government elected. According to the census of 1997, the municipality has 42 407 inhabitants, and of these 14 889 live on the island.
Its name, which many locals say is Muipiti, seems to be derived from Mussa-Ben-Bique or Bique Mussa Bin, or Mussa Al Mbique, character about whom we know very little, but giving the name (the 2nd version) a new university, based in Nampula.
The island is about 3 km long and 300-400 m wide and is oriented northeast-southwest towards the entrance of the Bay of Mossuril, at a latitude of approximately 15 º 02 'S and longitude 40 º 44' E. The east coast of the island down to the sister islands of Goa and Sena (also known as Island of Snakes) the Bay of Mozambique. These islands and the coast nearby, are of coralline origin.
Architecturally, the island is divided into two parts, the "city of stone" and "City of Macuto," the first of about 400 buildings, including the major monuments, and the second in the southern half of the island, about 1,200 homes of poor construction. However, many houses of stone are also covered with Macuto.
The Island of Mozambique is linked to the mainland by a bridge about 3 miles long, built in the 60s.
When Vasco da Gama arrived in 1498, the Island of Mozambique had become a village of Arabs and blacks swahili with your check, subject to the sultan of Zanzibar and continued to be frequented by Arabs who continued to trade for centuries with the Red Sea , to Persia, India and the islands of the Indian. Where on the island is now the Palace of the Captains-General, the Portuguese did the Tower of San Gabriel in the year 1507, when it occupied the island, building a small fort that was 15 men to protect the factory installed it.
The Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Baluarte, built in 1522 in the north end of the island near the island of Goa, is the only specimen of architecture Manueline Mozambique.
In 1558 started the construction of the Fortress of S. Sebastian - entirely with stones that were the ballast of ships, some of which are still near the beach - which only ended in 1620 and is the largest in southern Africa. This fortress was very important because the island had become the warehouse of clothes and exchange of seed beads from India for gold, slaves, ivory and black wood from Africa, and was the island that left all the travel trade to Quelimane, Sofala, Inhambane and Lourenço Marques and the Arabs did not want to lose the privileges they had acquired business over the centuries.
Fort of São Sebastião.Para than other European competitors Portuguese appeared in the race for control of trade routes. The French managed to take the role of intermediaries in the business of slavery to the islands of the Indian, the British began to control the routes of navigation in this region is the Dutch attempted occupation of the island in 1607-1608, and we do not succeed, it devastated by fire.
The reconstruction of the village was difficult, because the colonial government did not exist only to collect taxes and was far more interested in the land of Sofala - in Zambezia had been institutionalized the time of the Crown, and the development of trade in gold in that region leads to that the island lost its primacy. So, the Christians decided to build an island in the Santa Casa da Misericordia which act as City Hall, to protect people and the land until 1763, when the village became a town. This change resulted from the colonial government's decision to separate the African colony of the State of India and create a Capitania General of the State based on the island of Mozambique, in 1752. The town returned to prosperity, and in 1810 the city is promoted.
The export of slaves was the main trade of the island, like the Ibo, but the Independence of Brazil in 1822, which was the main destination of this trade, leaving the island again in stagnation. The final blow was the capital of the transition from colony to Lourenco Marques in 1898. After opening the port of Nacala in 1970, the island lost what remained of its strategic and commercial importance.