Quilimane - Encyclopedia

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QUILIMANE, or Kilmane (the former being the Portuguese spelling), a town of Portuguese East Africa, in 18° 1' S., 36° S9' E., 14 m. inland from the mouth of the river Quilimane or Qua Qua. The river, an independent stream during the rest of the year, during the rainy season becomes a deltaic branch of the Zambezi, with which it is connected by a channel called Mutu. The town (officially Sao Martinho de Quilimane) lies on the north bank of the river at a point where it is about a mile broad. There is ample and deep anchorage in the river, but the entrance is obstructed by a bar, over which there is 9 ft. of water at low tide, and from 16 to 22 ft. at high tide. Almost all the European merchants live in one long, acacia-shaded street or boulevard skirting the river, while the Indian merchants or Banyans occupy another street running at right angles to the first street. Behind lies the native town. The total population in 1909 was 2200, including 400 Europeans and 320 Asiatics. The trade of Quilimane, formerly the only port for the produce of the Zambezi valley, steadily declined after the establishment of Chinde. Efforts made at the beginning of the 10th century to develop local resources met with little success, owing to high duties and freights. A railway 18 m. long runs to Maquival, a large prazo for the cultivation of tropical produce. The imports are largely cotton goods from England and India, provisions from Portugal, and hardware from Germany. The exports are chiefly copra, ground-nuts, sugar, sesamum, indiarubber, wax, ivory, and beans. The average annual value of the trade for the ten years1897-1906was: - imports £60,509, exports £34,547. The natives are noted for their skill in the manufacture of jewelry, chiefly gold and silver ornaments. The town lies low and is unhealthy, despite efforts to improve its condition.

The Quilimane river was entered by Vasco da Gama in 1498, who there discovered an Arab settlement. The present town was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century, and became in the 18th and the early part of the 19th centuries one of the great slave marts on the east coast of Africa. It was the startingpoint of several notable expeditions - that of Francisco Barreto to the country of the Monomotapa in 1569, and that of David Livingstone up the Zambezi to Lake Nyasa in 1861 being the most famous. Until 1853 the trade of the port was forbidden to any save Portuguese. The European population, until the last quarter of the 19th century, consisted mainly of convicts from Portugal. (See PORTUGUESE EAST AFRICA, History.)

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