25 September 1964

The Mozambican War of Independence against Portugal begins.

The Mozambican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the guerrilla forces of the Mozambique Liberation Front or FRELIMO, and Portugal. The war officially started on September 25, 1964, and ended with a ceasefire on September 8, 1974, resulting in a negotiated independence in 1975.

Portugal’s wars against independence guerrilla fighters in its 400-year-old African territories began in 1961 with Angola. In Mozambique, the conflict erupted in 1964 as a result of unrest and frustration amongst many indigenous Mozambican populations, who perceived foreign rule to be a form of exploitation and mistreatment, which served only to further Portuguese economic interests in the region. Many Mozambicans also resented Portugal’s policies towards indigenous people, which resulted in discrimination, traditional lifestyle turning difficult for many Africans, and limited access to Portuguese-style education and skilled employment.

As successful self-determination movements spread throughout Africa after World War II, many Mozambicans became progressively nationalistic in outlook, and increasingly frustrated by the nation’s continued subservience to foreign rule. For the other side, many enculturated indigenous Africans who were fully integrated into the Portugal-ruled social organization of Portuguese Mozambique, in particular those from the urban centres, reacted to the independentist claims with a mixture of discomfort and suspicion. The ethnic Portuguese of the territory, which included most of the ruling authorities, responded with increased military presence and fast-paced development projects.

A mass exile of Mozambique’s political intelligentsia to neighbouring countries provided havens from which radical Mozambicans could plan actions and foment political unrest in their homeland. The formation of the Mozambican guerrilla organisation FRELIMO and the support of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Tanzania, Zambia, Egypt, Algeria and Gaddafi regime in Libya through arms and advisers, led to the outbreak of violence that was to last over a decade.

From a military standpoint, the Portuguese regular army held the upper hand during the conflict against the independentist guerrilla forces. Nonetheless, Mozambique succeeded in achieving independence on June 25, 1975, after a civil resistance movement known as the Carnation Revolution backed by portions of the military in Portugal overthrow the military dictatorship sponsored by US, thus ending 470 years of Portuguese colonial rule in the East African region. According to historians of the Revolution, the military coup in Portugal was in part fuelled by protests concerning the conduct of Portuguese troops in their treatment of some local Mozambican populace. The role of the growing communist influence over the group of Portuguese military insurgents who led the Lisbon’s military coup, and, on the other hand, the pressure of the international community over the direction of the Portuguese Colonial War in general, were main causes for the final outcome.

25 September 1066

The Viking invasions of England end with a loss in the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

stamford-bridge

In September 1066, while England warily watched its southern coast, anticipating the Norman invasion force forming up across the channel, a nasty surprise erupted at the other end of the country: A fleet of 300 dragon-headed Viking longships descended from the northeast, bearing some 9,000 armed, plunder-seeking warriors. The berserkers had returned.

As the village of Cleveland and then the city of Scarborough fell to Norse axes and fire, it became clear that several thousand mounted Normans were no longer England’s most immediate concern. After sacking Scarborough, the Viking force—which largely consisted of Norwegians, as well as Scots, Flemings and some Englishsailed up the Humber estuary as far as Riccall on the River Ouse. The invaders lined miles of riverfront with their ships, then disembarked and made for the city of York, just nine miles north of the Ouse.

The Viking commander alone was enough to strike terror in the hearts of English defenders: King Harald III Sigurdsson of Norway, aka Harald Hardrada was a career warlord, a broad-shouldered giant of a man who stood well over 6 feet and who had spent the preceding 35 years honing his martial skills in a variety of conflicts, taking him from the royal court in Kiev to the palaces of Byzantium. Soon after assuming the throne of Norway in 1047, Hardrada—who was flamboyant as he was fierce and a prolific composer of heroic sagas—launched into a protracted war with Denmark, not tasting victory until 1064. By 1066 the ever-ambitious warrior—who, like Duke William of Normandy, was a potential claimant to the English throne—hungered for a new conquest. At the urging of a future ally, Hardrada set his sights on England.