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Historical Connections and Resistance Strategies in XIXth c. and Early XXth c.in Northern Mozambique

Regiane Augusto de Mattos
p. 739-760

Résumés

Connexions historiques et stratégies de résistance dans le nord du Mozambique au XIXe et au début du XXe siècle. — L'article vise à discuter les relations entre les différents agents sociaux dans le nord du Mozambique, à la fin du XIXe siècle, quand une « alliance de résistance » a été organisée par les chefs d'Angoche, Sangage, Sancul et Quitangonha, les groupes macua-imbamela et namarrais contre l'ingérence du gouvernement portugais. Cette alliance a entraîné une série d'actions : échange d'armes, de munitions et de combattants ; attaques simultanées contre des postes administratifs et des militaires portugais. Les principaux axes d'analyse portent sur les facteurs déclencheurs de ces actions et sur les formes de mobilisation des acteurs impliqués dans l'« alliance de résistance ».

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  • 1 This study is based on my Doctoral Dissertation (de Mattos 2012).

1This study attempts to unravel the relations established among several social players when a “resistance alliance” was organized by chiefs from Angoche, Sangage, Sancul and Quitangonha and the macua-imbamella and namarrais groups in the face of Portuguese government interference that resulted in a series of actions such as firearms, ammunition and warriors exchange and simultaneous attacks to administrative posts and Portuguese military in northern Mozambique (Nampula Province) at the turn of the xixth century1.

  • 2 These letters were written in Swahili and with Arabic characters.  Most of them have their correspo (...)

2The term “resistance alliance” is frequently found in source documents used in research for this project and it will be used in this paper with the same meaning, that is, to describe the relationship established among main political representatives in the region that confronted Portuguese colonial political mechanism at the turn of the xixth century.  The set of sources used for research includes letters, minutes, reports, travel journeys and memoires from different archives and libraries in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Lisbon, Paris and Maputo.  In this sense, letters from northern Mozambique sultans and chiefs at the Mozambique Historical Archive are worth mentioning due to the richness of details and the intimacy with facts that deal with the daily life aspects of these relationships2.

“Esboço geographico da região de angoche, 1910.
arquivo historico ultramarino (AHU), cartografia, n.064, doc. 529.

3There are few historiographical papers on the history of northern Mozambique societies and more specifically, on the makeup of the “resistance alliance” at the turn of the xixth century (Newitt 1972a: 659-672, 1972b: 397-406; Hafkin 1973; Pélissier 1987; Rocha 1989; Bonate 2003).  According to the above mentioned historiography, the perpetuation of slave trade privileges was the main purpose of the “alliance”.  Research work in these studies is based on a set of documents written by the Portuguese and the English and published at a later date than the events described.  In fact, the authors make no reference to their position in favor of slave trade prohibition, either demanding or being demanded to respect it.  This fact may account for the fact that this topic is so recurrent in the writings, underscoring the strong relationship of local chiefs with the trade.

4The most recent paper on Angoche by Liazzat Bonate (2003) deserves special attention.  The author analyses the influence expansion of the sultanate up until the moment it became a major political power in the territory in xixth century northern Mozambique.  Bonate introduces a major contribution by presenting the history in relation to “internal African political dynamics”.  The author supports that Angoche's leaders did not promote “political strategies that were only of the predatory character” of a slave raider of mainland settlements.  They created bonds with hinterland chiefs though kinship and land-giving that favored trade, especially slave trade.  Interestingly, Bonate states that Angoche's political priority was not to resist the Portuguese but to expand political influence mainly through controlling slave trade.  The conclusion is that the main objective in the Angoche Sultanate was slave trade, as the other authors support (ibid.: 3-5).

Main Triggering Factors: Trade, Agricultural Produce and Extraction Products Control

5Unlike historiography concepts, this study tries to suggest that the key issue for these societies was to uphold political autonomy threatened by trade, agricultural produce and extraction production control initiatives as well as by the payment of taxes and compulsory work.

6Economic autonomy was essential, given the fact that northern Mozambique societies played a vital role in East African and Indian Ocean trade networks.  Economic autonomy was guaranteed by hinterland and coastal trade routes control used to trade not only slaves but several products as well.

7Eduardo Medeiros (1988: 49-51) and Joseph Mbwiliza (1991: 120) note that there was a slowdown in slave trade in spite of the fact that it was practiced by local chiefs, while production and trade of agricultural produce and extraction products such as rubber, gum copal and peanuts grew significantly by the turn of the xixth century.  Portuguese government initiatives such as the establishment of military posts, taxation on products and incentives for Indian trade middlemen caused major discontent since power and authority of coastal chiefs was closely related to production control and trade of these products between the Indian Ocean coastal territories and hinterland settlements.

8This does not mean that slave trade was not one of the most profitable businesses in Mozambique's ports since the xviith century.  Interestingly, the Angoche Sultanate became one of the most important economic centers in the region, especially after the Portuguese invested on slave trade as of mid-xviiith century (Rita-Ferreira 1982: 19-20, 124, 156, 301; Campbell 1988: 166-193; Clarence-Smith 1989).

9Slave trade granted chiefs a reputation, wealth and products like firearms and gunpowder and empowered the Angoche Sultanate to such an extent that it controlled an amazing trade network.

10The trade of agricultural produce and extraction products such as rubber, gum copal and peanut increased in northern Mozambique hinterland as of the second half of the xixth century (Medeiros 1988: 49-51; Mbwiliza 1991: 120).  Power and prosperity once derived from being middlemen of the slave trade between mainland hinterland and Indian Ocean coastal regions, especially for Angoche chiefs, now also depended on agricultural produce and extraction products production control and trade.

11The purpose of the Portuguese government was to control agricultural produce trade and to brake slave trade by setting up military posts in the hinterland in order to dominate caravan routes, collect taxes from goods sold and issue licenses for Indian merchants who wanted to establish stores in the last decades of the xixth century.  As a result, these initiatives fostered competition with northern Mozambique chiefs who already were trade middlemen (Medeiros 1988: 49-51; Mbwiliza 1991: 120).

12During this period of time, Portuguese authorities settled in the hinterlands and promoted direct contact with macua villages and as a result eliminated Angoche chief's activities as middlemen.  The except below is part of Angoche's captain-major Eduardo Lupi's (1907: 175-176) report and depicts the conflict of the situation:

“But from the water shore and even after one or two day's walk, they [Angoche monhés] have always tried to become the middlemen between hinterland caravans and trade posts that barter products of indigenous culture by cotton.  Especially during the period of enforcement of the administrative directive and policy of forbidding Macuas'entry into the limited area effectively occupied by us—restricted to Antonio Ennes Town—when they came to trade, determined not to be our friends—and none were because nobody knew us—the muinhé [sic] from Angoche insinuating they were indispensable middlemen, trading at low prices for the black the products they brought by cotton and would say the Indians sold to them on credit, and had a very active and profitable business.  To the lands of Matadane, in the coastal region, between Larde and Moma, they travelled to purchase or extract considerable amounts of rubber.  Lately, nevertheless, after the prohibition mentioned above was set aside, due to the trust the Macuas started to develop for us, when welcomed in town, as well as when visited in their hinterland settlements and invited to freely reattribute the visit, that very commercial measure was sensibly reduced, to the point of even foreseeing its complete disappearance in the near future.”

  • 3 Place in mainland territory opposite Angoche island.  Later called Antonio Enes, where the Portugue (...)
  • 4 AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1895, box 8-105, volume 3.  “they were almos (...)

13Omar Bin Nacogo Farrahali (Farelay) is introduced in sources as the leader of the “resistance alliance” and as grandnephew of ancient Angoche sultans Mussa Quanto and Ussene Ibrahimo.  He was accused of “blocking Parapato town”3 and collecting tributes from hinterland caravans on the way to the settlement to barter goods as well as from Indian traders that eventually started their businesses there (de Coutinho 1935: 20).  Farelay would settle in the territories of the chiefs that depended on Angoche, that were precisely strategic passage locations4 and behave as Eduardo Lupi (1907: 213) describes:

“His courage reaches the highest level possible, as does our inertia.  Every year, when the barter season starts with great pomposity he approaches the gates of the town, half a league away from the residence of the governors.  And making them or their deputies go there, as well as main traders, he sets the price at which he agrees to open the roads for the caravans to follow as well as the duty each Indian store has to pay him that year.”

14Portuguese authorities resorted to several strategies with the purpose of taking over the control of trade and encouraging hinterland chiefs to trade their goods at the Portuguese posts.  One of them was to obtain the support of candidates to positions of chiefs by lobbying on their behalf in power disputes, legitimizing their claim even before being chosen by their group and by helping overrule incumbent chiefs.

  • 5 Name given to line representatives in matrilineal societies.
  • 6 Letter from Moginqual Military Commander to Mozambique General Government Secretary General, Moginq (...)
  • 7 Che Agy was a hereditary political term.
  • 8 Letter from Moginqual Military Commander to M'Fatima.  Moginqual, May 11th, 1893.  AHM, Fundo do sé (...)
  • 9 Letter from Sheikh Che Agy to Moginqual Military Commander.  Moginqual, April 10th, 1891 (date when (...)

15This was the case with Selemane Bin Mocombotas, one of the chiefs in Sangage territory in 1893.  Mocombotas was recognized and legitimized by pia-mwene5 from Kinga (Sangage territory) M'Fatima as chief6 after his son sheikh Che Agy7 passed away.  Mocombotas was “overthrown” from the position and replaced by Sheagy Bin Aly, appointed by the Portuguese government8.  Demands and threats made by Mocombotas in a letter written immediately after he took office in 1891, may account for the maneuver of the Portuguese government.  Addressed to Moginqual's military commander João Augusto Soares de Castro Cabral, Age Selemane [Ibraimo] Aly [M'computo] or Che-Agy he requested some products be sent to him such as white cloth (called americana), piri-piri (pepper), cumin, sugar, butter, dates and cotton.  At the end the sheikh threatened the military commander by writing: “Pharelai and another Mussilimague are with us.  Mr. Mussa, don't play around because Pharelai is here.  Never doubt this person”9.

16It is highly probable that Mocombotas (Che Agy) was one of the middlemen chiefs in charge of trade between the hinterlands and the Indian Ocean coastal territories and for that reason requested in the letter imported goods (cloth, pepper and sugar) from the Portuguese government.  Chiefs like Mocombotas and Farelay, which acted as middlemen, were responsible for receiving agricultural produce and extraction products from hinterland caravan chiefs and to exchange them for imported products from outside the continent brought by Portuguese authorities, by the owners of commercial stores and by foreign trader from Zanzibar, Comores and Madagascar that landed on Indian Ocean shores.

Moginqual, April 10th, 1891 (date when letter in Arab was sent to the Secretary General).
AHM, Fundo do seculo XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1891, box 8-151, volume 1.

17Consequently, the Portuguese government allied forces with Sheagy Bin Aly, probably a candidate for the position and recognized him as the rightful sheikh of the region in order to rule out Mocombotas's (Che Agy) power as middleman, who, as confirmed in the letter was strengthened by Farelay's support.

  • 10 AHU, SEMU, DGU, 1888, box 1331, folder 10, volume 2, document 147.

18The Portuguese government also embarked on military expeditions to the territory of “namarrais” macua subgroup chiefs that controlled trade since they were settled in the area between caravan routes and a Portuguese post in Mozambique Island.  The first military expedition against the namarrais was launched when they were accused of enslaving and murdering people from the “border continent” (Terras Firmes) in September 188810.

  • 11 AHM, Códice 11-29, pages 43 and next, from the Governor General to the Minister, April 26th, 1886.  (...)

19On the other hand, according to Mozambique governor general, there could have been another reason: namarrais chief Selimo was “a real thief” that sheltered “justice runaway wrongdoers” in his land and charged high fees on trade since he was settled on the way to main trade routes towards the hinterland11.

  • 12 In this context, Marave was only the name as it was known Saleh b. Ali Ibrahim al-Morony and not th (...)

20The namarrais had been caravan chiefs before they settled in this territory up until the first half of the xixth century.  They later organized themselves as a political unit by establishing relations with costal chiefs and acting as trade middlemen with hinterland societies (Martins 1989: 490).  The namarrais also included Mozambique island runaway slaves from Ampapa aringa (fortified area) through loyalty bonds.  Aringas were formed by warriors and settlers from Zambézia prazos (land estates) that migrated in the first half of the xixth century and by Portuguese forces deserter soldiers (Capela 2006: 86-90; Martins 2011).  The namarrais also established relations with Saleh b. Ali Ibrahim al-Morony, better known as Marave12, a military commander and then captain-major from Sancul, that had knowledge on war strategy.  According to Joseph Mbwiliza (1991: 144), a new generation of northern Mozambique militarized leaders arose as of 1850.  This fact may account for the strong military character of the namarrais that threatened Portuguese colonial initiatives implementation in the territory.

  • 13 Muzungo means “master, white person” (Lopes, Sitoe & Nhamuende 2002).  This term is used in several (...)
  • 14 Praça de S. Sebastião em Moçambique, august 6th, 1899.  AHU, box 1552, Moçambique, 1901-1902, folde (...)

21Marave, captain-major from Sancul, and muzungos13 (Portuguese and Indian land owners) strengthened the “resistance alliance” during the second military expedition to namarrais territory, organized by the Portuguese government, in 1896 (Lupi 1907: 214-215).  Joaquim Ignácio de Souza, Francisco Maria Paixão Dias, Ballá Saunto, Dagy Saunto and Abude Bine Assane Sualé were arrested and charged for being “accomplices to the rebellion” for providing firearms and gunpowder to Marave and namarrais chiefs and were sentenced to exile14.

22Mousinho de Albuquerque gives his opinion on the causes of the namarrais-muzungos alliance:

“It is clear that Portuguese sovereignty in these territories is not at all convenient for the merchants.  Together with the duty to pay taxes, disliked by everyone and that only now are collected [...].  I believe that immediately after I was appointed Governor General, or at least as soon as I arrived, these people realized that all and any protection to bandits in the mainland had to finish; together with other facts that led these people to join forces with the main purpose of obstructing the government in any possible way; the one they thought was the most simple and efficient was to help rebels by giving them firearms, ammunition and keeping them well informed [...]  if I were dismissed from government, they trust the old times would return.  If I were killed, much better” (ibid.: 216).

23The case may be that since muzungos were land owners and producers, they did not accept Portuguese government intervention in agricultural produce production, taxes levied on these goods and on labor in their land.

  • 15 AHU, Processos Gerais, Moçambique, 1902-1905, box 1548, folder 384, Annex to document n.4.

24The deployment of colonial mechanisms caused discontent among populations and antagonized local chiefs by the turn of the xixth century.  Engineer Paes de Almeida and his partner and former sergeant Pita Simões were murdered during the construction of a Portuguese post in Boila, Imbamella region, by the main chief of Mogovola, chief Cobula-muno, west of M'luli river in 190215.

  • 16 AHU, Processos Gerais, Moçambique, ano 1902-1905, box 1548, folder 384.“Copy referred to in minute (...)
  • 17 All of these facts point to the need, long overdue, to effectively rule over the district of Mozamb (...)

25Paes de Almeida knew the territory very well since he had worked for some time on ore reserves prospecting in the region16.  Nevertheless, according to what Mozambique governor Jayme Pimentel learnt from António Enes inhabitants, engineer Paes d'Almeida's purpose was to get to know the land and recruit workers for Transvaal17.

26Portuguese authorities in Mozambique were concerned about the negative repercussion of the episode for Portugal, especially in face of English interest in the region.  The possibility of ore exploration attracted economic interests of other European governments and private company association members.

  • 18 Letter from Angoche Military Commander to Mozambique General Government Secretary General.  Antonio (...)
  • 19 Daniel Grove (1897: 130) gives the account that before arriving at Morla-Muno headquarters, the exp (...)

27That same Imbamella region had already been the target of English interest for exploration purposes, especially of precious metals at the turn of the xixth century.  English geologist Daniel Grove (1897), at the time performing studies in Cape colony and in Bechuanaland, was commissioned by Kimberley Diamond Fields to inspect the region known as “Macua” with guide Arthur Guilherme Brodkin who was well acquainted with macua-imbamellas territory.  By 1894, Brodkin had already bargained with another chief of the same Imbamella region Morla-muno his settlement in the territory to explore the area since he had confirmed there were mines of different metals in the region18.  But the team needed a sort of “circulation passport” from Portuguese authorities to travel into Mozambique hinterland.  In exchange for this “passport”, Grove volunteered to help get chief Morla-muno's declaration of submission and commitment to fight by the Portuguese in the event of war.  It was a kind of “vassalage treaty” or a sort of standardized commitment contract in that precise historic and geographic context whereby certain rights and duties between powers were established.  Entering into “vassalage treaties” was very usual in political relationships between Portuguese government and African chiefs.  This treaty in particular was very significant for the Portuguese government, since it established a strategic alliance with one of the most important chiefs in one of the wealthiest ore regions (ibid.: 131-132).  Portuguese authorities supported Grove and his team's trip to Imbamella which resulted in Imbamellas'chief “submission” declaration to Portuguese authorities19.

  • 20 Cobula-muno was the main chief of Mogovola, Imbamella region, and Morla-muno was another chief in t (...)
  • 21 Letter from Angoche Military Commander to Mozambique General Government Secretary General.  Antonio (...)

28However, Angoche Military Commander carried out investigations in Morla-muno20 territory and revealed to Mozambique General Government Secretary General that Englishmen Daniel Grove and Arthur Guilherme Brodkin had already started negotiations with Morla-muno before that trip and that he promoted the alliance with the Portuguese government to secure a privilege in face of the competition represented by the agreement entered into by the English Consul Churchill and Cecil Rhodes, a representative of an association of ore exploration companies from Eastern Africa that were also interested in the “Macua” region21.

29In fact, chiefs of the most important northern Mozambique societies were not the only ones to fight against Portuguese government intervention.  People from all social layers also showed dissatisfaction with reference to Portuguese measures.  Chiefs intensified resistance activities in the region by the beginning of the xxth century.  Taxes on trade were levied on merchants and Portuguese authorities.  Vessels were looted on Indian Oceans shores and caravans from António Enes heading south were robbed.  Sepoys carrying Portuguese government mail were intercepted and telegraph cables were often cut (de Amorim 1911: 26).

  • 22 Letter from Mainland Captain-Major to Mozambique General Government Secretary General.  Mozambique, (...)

30Traders disobeyed the prohibition and firearms and ammunition were sold undercover to local chiefs.  Portuguese authorities negatively interfered with business by restricting firearms and ammunition trade with prohibition acts.  Yet, firearms hidden among other products were still sold, especially to “alliance” chiefs.  Trader Mamuda Muscagy sold gunpowder hidden in the bottom of pots covered with corn to Marave from Sancul in 1890.  Mainland Captain-Major reported the saw 18 men flee from de proximities of Mamuda Muscagy's home in Lumbo, and nobody went after them.  However “a barrel of scattered gunpowder, two piles of macasa, some missing, an old and torn suma-á-uma mattress, a leaking pot of water and warehouses with many cashew barrels filled with water were found in Muscagy's home”22.

  • 23 Ibid.

31Assane Maumade was questioned for alleged involvement in “alliance” conflicts against Portuguese government.  He claimed he knew nothing about the gunpowder Mamuda sent to Marave in pots but that the week before he had ordered forty pots from Munapo for “the cashew”.  Assane stated moreover that Soalé sent Marave a portion of gunpowder “in a bag” with the help of a “servant” called Vito Vimosa23.

  • 24 Letter from Antonio Diniz Ayalla, Moginquale Military Commander to General Government Secretary Gen (...)

32Local guides led Portuguese authorities to territories in difficult access areas and scarce natural resources during military intervention, thus preventing or hindering attacks.  Carriers also tried to prevent the success of military campaigns and refused to work for free.  Molide Volay, Sancul chief denied carriers for Mogincual Military Commander António Diniz Ayalla that was spending the night in his lands, since they received nothing in exchange for the service, except for bad treatment, imprisonment and aggressions when they arrived in Portuguese commands in 189224.

  • 25 Cipal, sepoys or sepoys, of the Hindi shipahi, is a designation originally given to Indian soldiers (...)
  • 26 Letter from Mossuril Captain-Major to Mozambique General Government Secretary General.  Mossoril, D (...)

33Soldiers (sepoys)25 in Portuguese military forces deserted and hid in northern Mozambique chiefs and sultans territory.  There were even some cases of desertion in the middle of military action.  According to reports by Mossuril Captain-Major, after the order to attack a settlement in Ampapa given by a Mainland Captain-Major, more than four hundred armed soldiers “divided themselves in groups and sat under the trees!”, making the whole troop return to camp during the war against the namarrais in 188426.

34These actions organized by soldiers, guides and carriers are closely related to the issue of recruiting, low wages and terrible survival conditions for workers and had been exposed to Portuguese authorities in Mozambique a long time before.  By means of these maneuvers, workers also acted against labor exploitation mechanisms.

Historic Connections among Indian Ocean, Coast and Northern Mozambique Hinterland Societies: “Resistance Alliance” Forms of Organization

35Chiefs of northern Mozambique coast societies such as Angoche, engaged in very close mainly economic but also strongly religious relationships with Muslim elites in Zanzibar, Comoros and Madagascar islands.  This relation involved the exchange of people and knowledge through the expansion on the Sunnite branch of Islam.

36At the same time, Angoche sultans established relations with hinterland societies by creating loyalty bonds with their chiefs by land-giving, kinship relations and expansion of Islam (Bonate 2003: 3-5).

37The observation of northern Mozambique societies from the perspective of their integration in trade, people, knowledge and product exchange “spaces”, helped the author understand that organization mechanisms of those involved in the “resistance alliance” were the result of a complex of interconnections, that presupposes the existence of various elements and the interaction of different players who establish relations at several levels: cultural, political and economic.

38This paper resorts to the concept of branchements, suggested also by J.-L. Amselle (2001), in order to explain this complex of interconnections.  Amselle deconstructs the idea of limits and borders among cultures, not in the sense of mixture of purity, but underscoring the elaboration processes of possible connections among them by using the metaphor of electronic communication, where several wires are connected in different directions.  The anthropologist Jean-Loup Amselle explores concepts normally related to African societies such as ethnicity, and highlights the importance of focusing on the analysis of relations among different societies established in diverse spaces, rather than in the ethnic dimension.  The author argues that each society is the result of a web of relations established within exchange, political, warrior, linguistic, cultural and religious spaces (ibid. 1999).

  • 27 Current research (Nancy Hafkin, Joseph Mbwiliza, José Capela, Eduardo Medeiros, Liazzat Bonate and (...)

39Interestingly enough, the so called Angoche, Sancul, Sangage and Quitangonha swahilis27, and northern Mozambique hinterland macuas, as well as imbamellas and namarrais, were tightly integrated in very broad spaces, structured around economic, political and/or cultural factors throughout the xixth century until the beginning of the xxth century.  Furthermore, persons described as belonging to one ethnic group did not act under all circumstances as being part of a cohesive group.  This does not mean that the ethnic organization was not important.  However, some groups shared common cultural aspects and/or established loyalty relations with other, deciding their actions on those terms.  Heterogeneous practices of members of one single group questions homogeneity limits that ethnic division can produce.

40The Angoche Sultanate played a relevant role in northern Mozambique as part of international and regional political, religious and trade networks.  These networks not only involved mainland hinterland societies but also those in the Indian Ocean, since the sultanate was responsible for long distance trade and for the establishment of kinship relations and land-giving in these societies.

41An insightful perspective of these connections is given by the expansion of Islam.  The Shafi'i school from the Sunni branch originally from Southern Arabia (Hafkin 1973: 42) is present in northern Mozambique coasts since around the xviiith century (de Vilhena 1906: 22; Bonate 2007: 7; Macagno 2007b: 152).

42Sufi brotherhoods (turuq) were mainly responsible for the expansion of Islam in the region guided by their main representative—shehe, which represents a genealogic line of masters—and sharifs, considered the descendants of the Prophet, originally came from Comoros and Madagascar Island (Carvalho 1988: 65; Macagno 2007a: 86).

43Rifa'iyya, Shadhiliyya and Qadiriyya were three Islam brotherhoods in northern Mozambique at the turn of the xixth century.  Rifa'iyya was introduced in the coast of Tanzania in the second half of the xxth century and probably expanded into Mozambique from there (Trimingham 1964; Nimtz Jr 1980; Bonate 2007: 129-149).  The order is currently known in Mozambique Island as Maulide that means “anniversary of the Prophet” (“mawlide”) in Arabic and is recognized by rituals with dances, chants, ecstasy and trances-like states in which followers stab their bodies and faces with sharp objects (Macagno 2007a: 115).  Shadhiliyya and Qadiriyya orders were founded in Mozambique in 1897 and 1904 (Carvalho 1988: 61-63).  Qadiriyya shehe lived in Mozambique island while Shadhiliyya shehe in Angoche (Lupi 1907: 223; Castro 1952: 32-33).

44Many Islam religious leaders in northern Mozambique were immigrants from Comoros or Madagascar islands.  Xá Daudo, the mwalimo, who in the words of Angoche Captain-Major Silva Neves was a “kind of Bishop, head of monhés priests, responsible for their education and for the revelation of religious secrets and practices”, had arrived in the region more than thirty years before from Ingagiza, Madagascar (Neves 1901: 22).

45The Angoche Sultanate held very close religious relations with Muslim elites in Zanzibar and other Indian Ocean island for a very long time and undoubtedly, such relations were also significant form an economic standpoint too.

46Merchants from different locations visited Zanzibar, one of the main cities in the Indian Ocean, with the purpose of trading slaves and ivory for cloth, firearms and gunpowder (de Vilhena 1906: 197).  This fact accounts for the reason why Oman sultan Sayyid-Said moved to Zanzibar to control trade among east Africa coast cities in 1840 (Le Guennec-Coppens & Caplan 1991: 19).

47The arrival of sultan Sayyid-Said increased the demand for products and under his incentive trade grew significantly.  Merchants who traditionally stayed in the coast, travelled to the mainland with their caravans in search of goods.  This fact greatly contributed to social, political and economic transformation but more so to the make-up of Islam in the region (Penrad 2004: 186).  With the expansion of Islam religion and brotherhoods, trade caravans were instrumental in the creation of political networks (Le Guennec-Coppens & Caplan 1991: 19).

48Likewise, Muslim teachers (mwalimu) and traders spread Islam teachings while travelling in mainland hinterlands with their caravans in northern Mozambique.  Islam was already present in some cultural traits in hinterland chiefdoms, such as macuas and yaos (or ajauas) since 1840 and by the following decade it had spread over northern Mozambique and arrived at Shire Highlands in the hands of the yaos (Newitt 1997: 381).

  • 28 AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1890, box 8-149, volume 2.  See also letter (...)

49Northern Mozambique hinterland societies now under the expansion of Islam underwent several cultural, political and social changes such as the use of the Muslim calendar as noticed in the letters sent by chiefs and sheikhs to Portuguese government representatives.  In the letter sent by Matibane sheikh, Mamud Buana Amade Chivagy to the mainland Commander the date belongs to the Muslim calendar: “Rabi'l'ackisi moon 23, 1307”28.

50Likewise, Arabic-Swahili writing taught by the mwalimu, who were responsible for education in Muslim schools, is used in the letters (de Vilhena 1906: 203).  Arabic-Swahili writing was taught not only to elites, but to the rest of society also, women included, without interfering with the matrilineal identity of hinterland societies by the turn of the xixth century (Neves 1901: 17).

51Islam was worshiped together with local beliefs, in a coexistence of both creeds.  This is noticed in the case of “healers” (“mkulukwana”) that with the conversion also represented the role of mwalimu.  Apart from taking the role of spiritual knowledge, genealogy ritual and ancestry guardians, they also looked after the writings, Islam education and travelled with trade caravans (Bonate 2006: 139-166).

52As far as Islam education is concerned, the relationship with Zanzibar, Comoros and Madagascar islands was important.  Issues of the sacred book, the Alcoran, reached Zanzibar, by bookstores in Arabia (Peirone 1964: 6).  Chiefs and sheikhs sent their children to Muslim schools in these locations.  Quitangonha sheikh sent one of his sons to Comoros island in 1830 and the sheik of Sancul made the point of sending his son to Mohilla in 1878 (Neves 1901: 16).

53Sharifs were also responsible for the introduction of Muslim education, Koranic schools, for literary tradition and for book writing.  They originally came from the Arab peninsula—Muscat, Oman or Yemen—settled in the African coast, namely Pate, Lamu, Zanzibar and Comoros.  They engaged in trade and created networks among coast societies and Indian Ocean islands (Le Guennec-Coppens & Caplan 1991: 19-41).

54According to researcher Liazzat Bonate (2003: 115-143, 2007: 7), the Angoche Sultanate leaders traded and established kinship networks not only with Indian Ocean societies but also with hinterland settlements creating loyalty bonds.

55Therefore, the author believes relations between the Angoche Sultanate and mainland hinterland settlements are an important dimension in the understanding of actions against Portuguese colonial initiatives at the turn of the xixth century.  Political, economic and cultural interconnections established among these societies are the underlying element behind the attempt to keep political and economic autonomy.

  • 29 Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (AHU), Secretaria do Estado da Marinha e Ultramar (SEMU), DGU, letter (...)

56The Angoche Sultanate forged several alliances with different societies in the territory by kinship bonds, land-giving and trade.  Angoche Substitute Governor, José Joaquim Muniz Cabral, wrote to Mozambique Province General Government Secretary Alexandre Balduino Soares Tavares de Mendonça reporting that some “monhés” from M'luli had gone to Murrua carrying slaves and weapons with the purpose of negotiating how Angoche sultan, Mussa Quanto would be “introduced” in the region in 1867.  He adds that his marriage to a woman relative of a “monhé” called Canana had been arranged in M'luli29.

57The relationship between the Angoche Sultanate and macua-imbamella society rested on land-giving politics.  The imbamellas were divided in the á-nélla and the á-iadje.  There are indications that loyalty relationships between á-iadje chief Guarnéa-muno and Angoche chiefs started with land- giving.

58The Angoche Sultanate bargained with the imbamellas and gave them lands by M'luli where they migrated in an attempt to explore trade options closer to the coast in the last years of the xviiith century.  The á-iadje were also allowed to occupy more fertile land south of M'luli valley in the xixth century (de Amorim 1911: 145-174, 202-206; Bonate 2007: 46).

59Thus, the Angoche Sultanate granted the á-iadje economic and political advantages, contributing to their strengthening and guaranteeing their autonomy later on vis-à-vis á-nélla chief Morla-muno since he had several “dependents” in the region between Lona and Larde, Matadane and Mocogone and south of M'luli, including Guarnéa-muno until mid-xixth century (de Amorim 1911: 47-48).

60This was also the case with societies in M'lay territory, next to António Enes Town, uninhabited due to slave raids.  In order to prevent migrant hinterland people from reaching Kinga, Sangage and Parapato ports and increase competition for coastal trade control, the Angoche Sultanate established a barrier by moving to the region southern settlements form M'lay river valley that were persecuted for power disputes and for the death of a chief of neighbor territory Marrovone in the xixth century.  In exchange of privileges granted, the Angoche Sultanate was supported by these societies during crises, as was the case with Portuguese government interventions.  Indications show that Mussa Quanto sultan and the “great of Angoche” received help from M'lay people, hiding out after the occupation of Angoche island by soldiers of prazeiro (prazos-land estate) João Bonifácio, allied at the time with Portuguese government in 1861 (Lupi 1907: 173-175).

61The author has tried to show that northern Mozambique societies, and in particular the Angoche Sultanate, held close relations with mainland hinterland societies as well as with Muslim trade elites in Zanzibar and in other Indian Ocean islands.  These relations were part of a complex of interconnections that implied the interaction of several players and cultural, political and economic exchanges through kinship bonds and land-giving, trade and Islam expansion.

62Being part of this complex of interconnections presupposed the maintenance of constant contact and the institution of social, political, economic and cultural networks that contributed to the mobilization of both northern Mozambique chiefs and players from different social layers: soldiers, deserters, guides, carriers, land owners from various origins (muzungos), creating a mesh of loyalty bonds among all of them.  In the face of Portuguese government interference in the region, these connections were summoned and supported organization mechanisms of societies involved in the “resistance alliance”.

63Often defying historiography, the author tried to demonstrate that the main purpose of northern Mozambique alliances was to maintain political independence under threat by territorial occupation and by exploitation mechanisms imposed by the Portuguese government such as trade, agricultural produce and extraction products control, taxes and mandatory work not only related to the abolition of the slave trade.

64The different dimensions of the “resistance alliance” show action not only by sultans and chiefs, but also by deserter soldiers, guides, carriers and Indian and Portuguese origin land owners (muzungos).  This states clearly that “alliance” members did not fight against the presence of the Portuguese but that they were against the initiatives of effective implementation of the Portuguese colonial system at the turn of the xixth century.

65In this sense, the Angoche Sultanate played an essential role as the key player in political, economic and cultural connections established by international and regional social, religious and trade networks, thus contributing to the establishment of a “resistance alliance” in northern Mozambique.

66Department of History of Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RIO).

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Notes

1 This study is based on my Doctoral Dissertation (de Mattos 2012).

2 These letters were written in Swahili and with Arabic characters.  Most of them have their corresponding translation by a Portuguese government translator (“língua do Estado”).  Note that I took the trouble to confirm the translations analyzed in the present study.

3 Place in mainland territory opposite Angoche island.  Later called Antonio Enes, where the Portuguese government built an administrative post.

4 AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1895, box 8-105, volume 3.  “they were almost insolent these bandits—more so because they were not punished—to the point of coming to Parapato, a short distance from the governor's residence, to impose trade conditions to allow caravans from the hinterlands go through with goods, merchandise or products” (de Amorim 1911: 14).

5 Name given to line representatives in matrilineal societies.

6 Letter from Moginqual Military Commander to Mozambique General Government Secretary General, Moginqual, January 12th, 1891.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1891, box 8-151, volume 1.  Letter from Moginqual Military Commander to Nuno Fatima.  Moginqual, May 11th, 1893.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1893, box 8-156, volume 1.

7 Che Agy was a hereditary political term.

8 Letter from Moginqual Military Commander to M'Fatima.  Moginqual, May 11th, 1893.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1893, box 8-156, volume 1.

9 Letter from Sheikh Che Agy to Moginqual Military Commander.  Moginqual, April 10th, 1891 (date when letter in Arab was sent to the Secretary General).AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1891, box 8-151, volume 1.

10 AHU, SEMU, DGU, 1888, box 1331, folder 10, volume 2, document 147.

11 AHM, Códice 11-29, pages 43 and next, from the Governor General to the Minister, April 26th, 1886.  Apud CAPELA, José.  Como as aringas de Moçambique se transformaram em Quilombos.  Tempo. Revista do Departamento de História da UFF.  Rio de Janeiro: 7 Letras, v.10, n.20, jan-jun 2006, p. 90.

12 In this context, Marave was only the name as it was known Saleh b. Ali Ibrahim al-Morony and not the ethnic group.

13 Muzungo means “master, white person” (Lopes, Sitoe & Nhamuende 2002).  This term is used in several Bantu languages in Mozambique, such as Swahili, Muani, Chewa, Nhaja and Sena.  Mzungu(wa) means European in swahili (Perrott 1994).  Muzungo meant “master” and was commonly used to name white ormestizo Portuguese residents married to African women in Mozambique during the XIXth century.  Many muzungos established kinship relations with African chiefs and the term acquired a connotation of status and power.  They sometimes confronted “the formal authority of Portuguese officials” or “traditional African chiefs” (Newitt 1997: 122-123).

14 Praça de S. Sebastião em Moçambique, august 6th, 1899.  AHU, box 1552, Moçambique, 1901-1902, folder n.2, file n.46.

15 AHU, Processos Gerais, Moçambique, 1902-1905, box 1548, folder 384, Annex to document n.4.

16 AHU, Processos Gerais, Moçambique, ano 1902-1905, box 1548, folder 384.“Copy referred to in minute n.44”.

17 All of these facts point to the need, long overdue, to effectively rule over the district of Mozambique.  Unpleasant references in the press by adventurer Grove, not long ago, about our weakness an incapability, received rather indifferentlyby public opinion, will be remembered now since they reveal the need to deny with facts, much more so since the murders of Paes d'Almeida and Pitta Simões suggest possible fears about complications in one of the most crucial issues for Transvaal—the recruitment of mine workers—fears the English Consul in town made reference to in a letter addressed to me requesting information on such matter.  AHU, Processos Gerais, Moçambique, 1902-1905, box 1548, folder 384.

18 Letter from Angoche Military Commander to Mozambique General Government Secretary General.  Antonio Ennes, April 21th, 1894.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1894, box 8-105, volume 2.

19 Daniel Grove (1897: 130) gives the account that before arriving at Morla-Muno headquarters, the expedition went through different settlements of “subordinate chiefs”, and had to distribute supplies, fabric and pharmaceutical drugs as tribute to go through their territory.

20 Cobula-muno was the main chief of Mogovola, Imbamella region, and Morla-muno was another chief in the same region.

21 Letter from Angoche Military Commander to Mozambique General Government Secretary General.  Antonio Ennes, November 26th, 1895.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1895, box 8-105, volume 3.

22 Letter from Mainland Captain-Major to Mozambique General Government Secretary General.  Mozambique, September 16th, 1890.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1890, box 8-149, volume 2.

23 Ibid.

24 Letter from Antonio Diniz Ayalla, Moginquale Military Commander to General Government Secretary General.  Moginqual, November 1st, 1892.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1892, box 8-151, volume 1.

25 Cipal, sepoys or sepoys, of the Hindi shipahi, is a designation originally given to Indian soldiers that formed the Portuguese military forces in Mozambique.However, in the XIXth century, you can see that this designation also referred to african soldiers (Rodrigues 2006: 83).

26 Letter from Mossuril Captain-Major to Mozambique General Government Secretary General.  Mossoril, December 9th, 1884.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1884, box 8-147, volume 2.

27 Current research (Nancy Hafkin, Joseph Mbwiliza, José Capela, Eduardo Medeiros, Liazzat Bonate and Chapane Mutiua) consider this region and these sultanates as Swahilis, by using elements of the Swahili culture, for example, writing Ajami (Arab-Swahili), among others.

28 AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1890, box 8-149, volume 2.  See also letter from Molide Volay with date on moon 2, 1310.AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1893, box 8-150, volume 1.  In letter to Sheikh Sancul Issufo Abdalá to Mozambique General Governor the date is “fichahary soffry moon 7, 1302”.  AHM, Fundo do século XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1884, box 8-147, volume 2.

29 Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (AHU), Secretaria do Estado da Marinha e Ultramar (SEMU), DGU, letter from Governors, Mozambique, July 31st, 1867, box 37, volume 1, document 65.

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Table des illustrations

Légende “Esboço geographico da região de angoche, 1910.arquivo historico ultramarino (AHU), cartografia, n.064, doc. 529.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesafricaines/docannexe/image/18281/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 163k
Légende Moginqual, April 10th, 1891 (date when letter in Arab was sent to the Secretary General).AHM, Fundo do seculo XIX, Governo Geral de Moçambique, 1891, box 8-151, volume 1.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesafricaines/docannexe/image/18281/img-2.jpg
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Regiane Augusto de Mattos, « Historical Connections and Resistance Strategies in XIXth c. and Early XXth c.in Northern Mozambique »,  Cahiers d’études africaines, 220 | 2015, 739-760.

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Regiane Augusto de Mattos, « Historical Connections and Resistance Strategies in XIXth c. and Early XXth c.in Northern Mozambique »,  Cahiers d’études africaines [En ligne], 220 | 2015, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2015, consulté le 22 septembre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudesafricaines/18281  ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/etudesafricaines.18281

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