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.