Zambezia is the second most-populous province of Mozambique, located in the central coastal region south-west of Nampula Province and north-east of Sofala Province. It has a population of 3,85 million (census 2007). The provincial capital is Quelimane on the Bons Sinais River.
Zambezia has a total area of 103,478 sq km; 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 Gurue¨. 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).