An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

33. Nyasaland

Nyasaland was 'opened up' not so much by Rhodes's company (31) as by David Livingstone and other Scots missionaries, who found it still ravaged by the Arab slave trade. They won the confidence of the chiefs, who accepted British protection in 1891. Livingstone advocated a limited amount of white settlement, and a plantation economy (tea, tobacco, tung oil) developed (a local rising in 1915 was partly caused by white landowners' demands for rents); but there are only 9,000 whites to the 2.8 million Africans. Nyasaland is now comparatively thickly peopled, and, lacking minerals and other resources, has a bigger labour force than its agriculture can use; its young men have sought work in the Rhodesias, South Africa and elsewhere -- 200,000 at a time -- usually returning home after a limited period.

Nyasaland Africans' opposition to federation with the Rhodesias (31) was clear from the beginning despite the prospect of sharing Copperbelt (32) revenues. Nor did the Southern Rhodesian whites want Nyasaland in the Central African federation; they accepted it, at British insistence, as the price for getting Northern Rhodesia in. The federal government in Salisbury, however, opposed any withdrawal because of the precedent this would set for Northern Rhodesia to pull out too.

In 1959 agitation in Nyasaland against federation, led by Dr Hastings Banda and others, led to 'emergency' action by both federal and protectorate authorities. Dr Banda and his chief assistants were imprisoned (some in Southern Rhodesia), and political activity was suppressed. The Devlin commission, however, found scant justification for the authorities' charges that Dr Banda's party had plotted a massacre of whites. The nationalist leaders were freed, and the 1961 elections brought effective political power in Nyasaland into the hands of their Malawi Congress party. ( Malawi, or Maravi, an old name for Lake Nyasa, is also applied to a group of Bantu peoples living near the lake -- C).

Nyasaland's link with the sea is the railway to Beira in Portuguese Mozambique, but its more important relationship is with the Rhodesias, because it depends so much on its migrant workers' earnings there. Too poor to have much of a future as a completely independent state, its hopes largely turn on the prospects of a larger -- African-controlled -- federation embracing both Tanganyika and Northern Rhodesia (K, 27). Zomba is the political capital, Blantyre the commercial centre and largest town.

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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