- ''This article is about the Mozambican province. The name Zambezia or Zambesia was also used up to 1895 for the territory later called Rhodesia, now Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- for the village in Mozambique see Zambezia, Cabo Delgado
is the most-populous province of Mozambique
, located in the central coastal region south of Nampula
and north of Sofala
. It has a population of 3.794.509 (2006). The provincial capital is Quelimane
on the Bons Sinais River
Zambezia has a total area of 103,127 km², much of it drained by the Zambezi River. Much of the coast consists of mangrove swamps, and there is considerable forest inland.
Agricultural products include rice, maize, cassava, cashews, sugarcane, coconuts, citrus, cotton, and tea; the country's largest tea estates are at Gurúè. Fishing is especially productive of shrimp, and gemstones are mined at several sites.
Vasco da Gama landed at the site of Quelimane in 1498. Shortly after, the Portuguese established a permanent presence, and many moved up the Zambezi into the interior, for many years the farthest inland European presence (although over time there was much intermarrying, and few residents were of purely Portuguese descent).
The sixteen districts of Zambezia Province comprise:
- Alto Molocue District - with an area of 6,386 km² and 278,064 population,
- Chinde District - with an area of 4,403 km² and 121,173 population,
- Gilé District - with an area of 8,875 km² and 168,962 population,
- Gururé District - with an area of 5,606 km² and 302,948 population,
- Ile District - with an area of 5,589 km² and 292,504 population,
- Inhassunge District - with an area of 745 km² and 91,989 population,
- Lugela District - with an area of 6,178 km² and 137,040 population,
- Maganja da Costa District - with an area of 7,597 km² and 282,173 population,
- Milange District - with an area of 9,794 km² and 515,029 population,
- Mocuba District - with an area of 8,867 km² and 306,543 population,
- Mopeia District - with an area of 7,614 km² and 115,614 population,
- Morrumbala District - with an area of 12,972 km² and 361,896 population,
- Namacurra District - with an area of 1,798 km² and 179,133 population,
- Namarroi District - with an area of 3,019 km² and 127,651 population,
- Nicoadala District - with an area of 3,582 km² and 232,929 population,
- Pebane District - with an area of 9,985 km² and 186,330 population.
In addition, there is one municipality - the city of Quelimane - with an area of 117 km² and 192,876 population.
[the above district populations are from the provisional results of the September 2007 Census.]
Stamps and postal history of Zambezia
Although Zambezia was a part of the Portuguese East Africa Colony, the Portuguese government issued separate postage stamps for it starting in 1894, with the standard design depicting King Charles, and likewise in 1898. A provisional issue came in 1902 to reflect changed rates, then after the revolution of 1910 there were several issues overprinted "REPUBLICA".
The postal districts of Quelimane and Tete were created from parts of Zambezia in about 1913, and then stamps of Mozambique replaced stamps of Zambezia around 1920.