The land question has been one of the key topics in the historiography of colonial eastern and southern Africa. With a few exceptions, in relation to colonial Mozambique this topic has by and large been overlooked. Little is therefore known on how African use and access to land was progressively curtailed in the first decades of the twentieth century, or how Portuguese colonial land policies such as ‘native’ reserves and a growing settler presence impacted on the lives of rural dwellers. This article surveys the key land policies formulated both in Lisbon and in Mozambique between 1900 and 1940 and places them in their particular historical context, in the process unveiling the tensions and debates that helped shape them. It then evaluates the practice of such policies in the province of Inhambane, where different types of land struggles spanning contemporary Portuguese rule in the region have been documented. By examining these struggles alongside pivotal themes in the history of southern Mozambique, this article makes the case for a closer examination of the land question in the history of Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique.
Land and Colonialism in Mozambique‚ Policies and Practice in Inhambane, c.1900 - c.1940
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