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Monday 24th June
Malawi Information - Page 2
Early inhabitants of Malawi settled around the shores of Lake Malawi about twelve thousand years ago.

From the sixteenth century the population grew as people migrated to the area. The Portuguese, who arrived at the end of the fifteenth century, were the first Europeans to trade in the region.

When David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer and missionary, discovered Malawi (1859) there was an established trade in slaves. Livingstone worked towards ending the slave trade.

In the early 1890s the British made Malawi, known as Nyasaland, a protectorate. However there was African opposition to British government.

Between 1953 and 1963 Nyasaland (Malawi), Southern Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) were members of the Federation of Central Africa. Soon after the Federation dissolved Nyasaland (Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) gained independence.

In 1964 Malawi declared independence, becoming a republic in 1966.

Malawi's economy relies on assistance from outside agencies such as the World Bank. However the government aims to improve the growth and development of business and promote industrialisation.

The working population is heavily dependent on agriculture. Major export crops are tobacco, coffee, tea, sugar and cotton. Other agricultural produce includes maize, sorghum, pulses, cassava, potatoes, groundnuts and Macadamia nuts. Livestock is reared.

Much of Malawi's industry is based on the agricultural sector. Other industries include fishing, mining, timber, light engineering, construction and textiles.

Tourism, a relatively small industry in Malawi, is being developed to increase its contribution to the economy. (2008)

There are a number of rock art sites in Malawi. The Chongoni Rock-Art Area is on the World Heritage List.

Traditional Malawian crafts include pottery, woodcarving and basketry.

Music, song and dance are an integral part of traditional Malawian life. In the past, song was used to pass on values, duties and beliefs.

In the literary world, well known Malawian writers are Tiyambe Zeleza, an academic writer and novelist, Frank Chipasula, a novelist and poet, and poets Jack Mapange and Stella Chipasula.

Football is very popular in Malawi. Other sports played include cricket and rugby.

An annual Yachting Marathon takes place on Lake Malawi and the lake is also well known as a site for freshwater scuba diving.

Christmas Day, Easter and New Year's Day are celebrated. Other holidays are John Chilembwe Day (15 January), Martyr's Day (3 March), Labour Day (May), Freedom Day (14 June), and Republic Day (6 July).

News from Malawi can be found in Newslink.

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