[nyah-sah-land, nahy-as-uh-]
Nyasaland: see Malawi.
officially Republic of Malawi formerly Nyasaland

Country, southeastern Africa. Area: 45,747 sq mi (118,484 sq km). Population (2008 est.): 13,932,000. Capital: Lilongwe (judiciary meets in Blantyre). Almost the entire population consists of Bantu-speaking Africans. Languages: English (official), Chewa, Lomwe. Religions: Christianity (Protestant, Roman Catholic), Islam, traditional beliefs. Currency: Malawian kwacha. Malawi's terrain is characterized by dramatic highlands and extensive lakes, with forests occupying about one-fourth of the total land area. The Great Rift Valley runs north-south and contains Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi). Agriculture employs more than four-fifths of the workforce; staple crops include corn (maize), peanuts (groundnuts), beans, and peas, and cash crops include tobacco, tea, sugarcane, and cotton. Coal mining and limestone quarrying also contribute to the economy. Major industrial products are food products, beverages, chemicals, and textiles. Malawi is a republic with one legislative house; its head of state and government is the president. Inhabited since 8000 BCE, the region was settled by Bantu-speaking peoples between the 1st and 4th centuries CE. They established separate states, and circa 1480 they founded the Maravi confederacy, which encompassed most of central and southern Malawi. In northern Malawi the Ngonde people established a kingdom circa 1600, and in the 18th century the Chikulamayembe state was founded. The slave trade flourished during the 18th–19th century; Islam and Christianity arrived in the region circa 1860. Britain established colonial authority in 1891, creating the Nyasaland Districts Protectorate. It became the British Central Africa Protectorate in 1893 and Nyasaland in 1907. The colonies of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland formed a federation (1951–53), which was dissolved in 1963. The next year Malawi achieved independence as a member of the British Commonwealth. In 1966 it became a republic, with Hastings Kamuzu Banda as president. In 1971 he was designated president for life, and he ruled for three decades before being defeated in multiparty presidential elections in 1994. A new constitution was adopted in 1995.

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Nyasaland or the Nyasaland Protectorate, was a British protectorate which was established in 1907 when the former British Central Africa Protectorate changed its name to it.

Nyasaland's history was marked by numerous Malawi attempts to obtain independence from their British overlords. A growing European and US-educated African elite became increasingly vocal and politically active - first through associations, and after 1944, through the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).


The population at the 1911 census was: natives 969,183, Europeans 766, Asians 481. In March 1920 Europeans numbered 1,015 and Asians 515. The natives were estimated (1919) at 561,600 males and 664,400 females, a total of 1,216,000. Blantyre, the chief town, had some 300 European residents.

Colonial Economy

Cotton-growing was the chief industry, though from 1918 onward it was being supplanted by tobacco. In 1916-7 the export of cotton reached 3,462,000 lb.; it fell to 866,000 lb. in 1917-8 (largely owing to shipping restrictions), rose again to 2,670,000 lb. in 1918-9, but in 1919-20 dropped to 930,000 lb. Increasing attention was given to tea, while coffee was largely discarded. (The export of coffee which was 748,000 lb. in 1909-10 had fallen to 113,000 lb. in 1918-9.) The disfavour into which cotton fell was partly due to the neglect to use selected seed and to other errors in cultivation, but also to the fact that, where soil and climate suited both crops, tobaccogrowing was more profitable. After some unfortunate experiences arrangements were made in 1917 for the fumigation of the tobacco before shipment, with the result that the crop thereafter, in normal circumstances, commanded a high price in the markets of Great Britain. The export of tobacco was 4,304,000 lb. in 1916-7, fell to 2,025,000 lb. the following year, was 5,800,000 lb. in 1918-9 and 4,34 0, 000 lb. in 1919-20. Both cotton and coffee were largely cultivated by native farmers as well as by the European planters.

List of Nyasaland Governors

External links

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