Malawi is a landlocked country located in southeast Africa; it is surrounded by Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania. Lake Malawi, formerly Lake Nyasa, occupies most of the country’s eastern border. The north-south Rift Valley is flanked by mountain ranges and high plateau areas.
Malawi covers an area of 118,000 km2 with an estimated population of 16,777,547 2013. Its capital is Lilongwe which is also Malawi’s largest city; the second largest is Blantyre and the third is Mzuzu. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area.
The country lies between latitudes 9° and 18°S and longitudes 32° and 36°E.
Malawi is among the world’s least-developed and most-densely populated countries. Around 85% of the population lives in rural areas. The economy is based on agriculture and more than one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues come from this. In the past, the economy has been dependent on substantial economic aid from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Early human inhabitants of what is now Malawi dates to 8000–2000 B.C. Bantu-speaking peoples migrated there between the 1st and 4th centuries A.D. A large slave trade took place in the 18th and 19th centuries and brought Islam to the region.
The first European to make extensive explorations in the area was David Livingstone in the 1850s and 1860s. In 1884, Cecil Rhodes’s British South African Company received a charter to develop the country. The company came into conflict with the Arab slavers in 1887–1889. Britain annexed what was then called the Nyasaland territory in 1891 and made it a protectorate in 1892. Sir Harry Johnstone, the first high commissioner, used Royal Navy gunboats to wipe out the slavers.
Between 1951 and 1953, Britain combined Nyasaland with the colonies of Northern and Southern Rhodesia to form a federation, a move protested by black Africans who were wary of alignment with the ultra conservative white minority rule in South Rhodesia.
General information about Malawi has been summarized to include the following
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