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From the late first millennium AD, vast Indian Ocean trade networks extended as far south into Mozambique as the ancient port town of Chibuene.
Commercial settlements such as Sofala, Angoche, and others along the Mozambican Swahili Coast became important centres for the Arab, Persian, and later Portuguese trade in slaves, gold, ivory, and other commodities.
Between the first and fifth centuries AD, Bantu-speaking peoples migrated to present-day Mozambique from farther north and west.
Beginning in the 11th century, Arab, Persian, and Somali merchants began establishing commercial ports along the coast, contributing to the development of a distinct Swahili culture and language.
The voyage of Vasco da Gama in 1498 marked the arrival of the Portuguese, who began a gradual process of colonisation and settlement in 1505.
After over four centuries of Portuguese rule, Mozambique gained independence in 1975, becoming the People's Republic of Mozambique shortly thereafter.
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It is separated from Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east.
The capital and largest city is Maputo (known as "Lourenço Marques" before independence).
The country was named Moçambique by the Portuguese after the Island of Mozambique, derived from Mussa Bin Bique or Musa Al Big or Mossa Al Bique or Mussa Ben Mbiki or Mussa Ibn Malik, an Arab trader who first visited the island and later lived there.