In recent years, important contributions have been made to improve our understanding of household size and composition worldwide. Most of this scholarship, however, has focused mainly on Europe, Asia, and the Americas, paying little attention to Africa. In this article, I contribute toward filling this gap in the literature by studying the urban population of three main towns in Mozambique and their surrounding areas in the 1820s: the island of Mozambique, Inhambane and Tete. To do this, I use the first known and comparable population counts available for these towns that include disaggregated data at the household level. The study is divided into three main parts. First, I explore the outstanding value of these source materials for the general understanding of the behavior of urban populations in pre-colonial southern Africa, as well as the context of the production and the producers of these sources, their coverage and the criteria adopted during production. Next, I examine the profile of the population living in these three urban centers. To conclude, I analyze the household size, structure and composition among the free population living in these three towns and their outskirts.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 46-76
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.