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Notes on the Geography of Mozambique: Ihla de Mozambique: Photo 6

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The island is roughly divided into a "stone-built town" built by the Portuguese at the north end of the island and a "macuti town" of palm-thatch, occupying the southern half. The whole island is very small--less than two miles long and much less than half a mile wide--and most its energy today comes from the macuti side. Despite appearances and hasty assumptions, the macuti town is actually quite recent. When the Portuguese arrived the island was mostly settled by Arab traders. They were removed by 1570. During most of the Portuguese period, Africans lived on the mainland, and a civil war after independence left the island almost uninhabited. What you see now sprang up after peace came in 1992.

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