Companhia da Zambezia

Companhia da Zambezia


The Companhia da Zambezia was established on 25 May 1892. The Companhia da Zambézia was the third leasing company of the Portuguese colony of Mozambique. The company concentrated mainly on agriculture and livestock as well as salt. In the agricultural sector, the company operated palm, sisal and maize plantations. However, it was also the largest corporation interested in transportation in Zambesia.

The company occupied the areas of Chire, bordering Nyasaland, and the future Northern Rhodesia, between Zumbo and Luenha. It was born from the merger of the Society of Founders of the Companhia Geral da Zambézia (1880) with the Central Africa and Zouthamberg Exploration Company. The company had no privileges because it was a concessionaire (or lessee).

It explored part of the territories of Zambezia and Tete; it was one of the most extensive companies and subdued the existing companies in Quelimane. The company was a machine for conquering unruly land in the district of Tete and then Quelimane, where they extracted the capitation tax (mussoco) and the workers for agricultural work. With the progress of the “pacification” of the highlands of Quelimane and Angónia, they quickly revealed themselves as reservoirs of labor imported to South Africa and later to São Tomé.

Walker Bros, a Blantyre firm, enjoyed a concession from the company to bring Lomwe, from Mozambique, into the Shire Highlands, with the purpose of hiring them out to transport companies and planters. Between 1900-1903 between 15,000 to 30,000 Lomwe came to the Blantyre and Chiradzulu districts. The company established a branch at Blantyre c.1900 under the General Manager, Louis Winkleman.



  • An Environmental History of Southern Malawi – Brian Morris