1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Nyasaland Protectorate

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NYASALAND PROTECTORATE (see 4.595.)—The pop. at the 1911 census was: natives 969,183, Europeans 766, Asiatics 481. In March 1920 Europeans numbered 1,015 and Asiatics 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. There were 30 persons per sq. m., the latest surveys giving the protectorate an area of 39,573 sq. miles.

During 1910–21 the country made considerable economic progress, though much hampered by inadequate means of communication with the outer world. Up to 1915 the southern terminus of the rail- way was on the Shire river at Port Herald, which place steamers were unable to reach in the dry season owing to insufficient water. In that year an extension of the line (61 m. long) to Chindiq, on the north bank of the Zambezi, was opened. The Zambezi itself is, however, unsatisfactory as a waterway, and the direct connexion of Nyasaland with an ocean port was at length undertaken in 1920, with the building of a railway (170 m. long) from Beira to Chindio. The line progressed rapidly, and by the end of 1921 only the dredging of the Zambezi remained to be accomplished. From Beira to Port Herald the railway runs through Portuguese territory, but the Nyasaland Government guaranteed interest for 25 years on the capital (1,200,000) of the company which built the Beira Chindio section. In the north the Nyasaland railway ended at Blantyre, 120 m. short of Lake Nyasa with its 350 m. of waterway. In 1914 the British Parliament authorized a loan to continue the line to the lake, but owing to the World War nothing had been done up to 1921 beyond the survey of a route. On the extension of the railway to the lake depended the development of a large area suitable for cotton.

Only in a few districts is the climate suitable for Europeans, most of whom live in the Shire Highlands. But their influence, especially that of the missionaries, is felt in every part of the protectorate, and in few parts of equatorial Africa have the natives more readily responded to European influences. Education is wholly in the hands of the missionaries. Over 2,000 schools are maintained, with, in 1920, some 125,000 scholars on the roll. There are several indus- trial schools where agriculture, horticulture, carpentry, printing and other trades are taught. Up to 1921 an annual grant of 1,000 was the only contribution of the Government to education; no provision was made for the instruction of white children. Large numbers of the natives profess Christianity, and native churches independent of missionary control were founded under the influence of Ethiopianism. 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, tobacco-growing 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 4,340,000 lb. in 1919–20. Both cotton and coffee were largely cultivated by native farmers as well as by the European planters.

The growth of trade between 1909–10 and 1913–4, the five years preceeding the World War, was marked. Exports of produce of the protectorate increased in value from 97,000 to 200,000, imports for home consumption from 111,000 to 189,000, the transit trade from 20,000 to 34,000. In the first war year (1914–5) exports fell to 182,000; they increased to 289,000 in 1916–7, fell to 144,000 the following year, but rose to the unprecedented figure of 511,000 in 1918–9, a value due in part to inflated prices. In 1919–20 the exports were valued at 430,000. Imports which in 1914–5 were valued at 181,000 were worth 648,000 in 1918–9 and 606,000 in 1919–20. Over 95 % of the export trade was with the British Em- pire, whence came over 70 % of the imports.

Revenue was 76,000 in 1909–10, had risen to 118,000 in 1914–5 and was 186,000 in 1919–20. The expenditure in the three years named was 108,000, 143,000 and 217,000. For the first time since 1914–5 expenditure exceeded revenue in 1919–20. The public debt in March 1919 was 3,190,000, nearly all (2,998,000) advances made by the British Government to meet the expenses of the local campaign against German East Africa.

History. Steady progress was made in the development of the country and the increase of well-being and civilization among the natives in the five years preceding the World War. The most powerful influence was that of the Livingstonia Mission of the United Free Church, whose destinies in Nyasa- land were guided for many years by Dr. Robert Laws.

Sir Alfred Sharpe/who had served in Nyasaland since 1891 and had been governor since 1897, retired in 1910 and was succeeded (Feb. 1911) by Sir W. H. Manning, the officer who had raised the Central Africa regiment and had already served

as acting-governor of the protectorate. On Sir William Man- ning's transference to Jamaica in 1913, Mr. (later Sir) George Smith (b. 1858) was appointed governor. The appointment of Mr. Smith, like Dr. Laws an Aberdeenian, was highly popular with the Nyasaland settlers, who are mainly Scots. Sir George proved a capable and energetic governor. When in Aug. 1914 the World War broke out Nyasaland was in an almost defence- less condition, and lay open to and was attacked by the Germans of East Africa. The governor met the crisis with promptitude and resolution, and he had the whole-hearted support of the Europeans and natives. Practically every Briton of military age in the country was enrolled in the Nyasaland Volunteer Reserve. The disablement of the only German boat on Lake Nyasa by Comm. Rhoades of the " Guendolen " on Aug. 13 1914 gave the authorities free use of its waters to send such small forces as were available to Karonga, at the north end of the lake and near the German frontier. Karonga was attacked on Sept. 9 1914, but the assailants were decisively defeated and no second invasion of Nyasaland was attempted. The arrival of an Im- perial Service contingent, 1,000 strong, from South Africa in Sept. 1915 amply provided for the defence of the protectorate. Later on Nyasaland became the base for Gen. Northey's op- erations against the Germans. The Nyasaland battalions of the King's African Rifles served under him, while over 150,000 natives were employed as carriers.

Early in 1915, while the situation in the protectorate was still perilous, a revolt of natives occurred in the Shire Highlands. This revolt was a symptom of Ethiopianism. The leader was John Chelembwe, a full-blooded negro who had been trained as a teacher by the American Baptist Mission and sent to the United States to take a university course. On his return he had built a church and had preached the independence of Afri- cans. His followers, about 500, were mainly persons who had recently emigrated from Portuguese Nyasaland. On Jan. 23 1915 they attacked the house of the Magomera estate. In the house were a Mr. Livingstone (a descendant of David Living- stone), his wife, and other Europeans, in all three men, three women and five children. The three men were murdered and the women and children carried off. Mr. Livingstone was killed by a blow from an axe and decapitated in the presence of his wife. Mr. Livingstone's head was taken to Chelembwe's church, and the rebel leader preached a sermon with the head placed on the pulpit. Meanwhile Mrs. MacDonald, one of the women taken captive, aided by her native servant, escaped, and barefoot and in her nightdress ran through the jungle to another planter's house. A force of 40 British volunteers and 100 natives (K.A.R. recruits) under Capt. L. E. Triscott was speedily gathered and met and defeated the rebels. Chelembwe, who took to flight, was tracked down and shot dead (Feb. 3) by the native police of Mlanje station. With Chelembwe's death the rising was at an end.

The revolt was not a reflection of the attitude of the natives. Their loyalty remained unaffected. But a weakening of the au- thority of chiefs was apparent, and in 1912 an ordinance was passed aiming at the concentration of scattered huts, thus bring- ing the people more under control of their headmen. The ordi- nance gradually applied, worked satisfactorily.

A considerable number of men who came from South Africa or Great Britain to serve against the Germans remained in Ny- asaland as planters, and the area under cultivation largely increased. In the last half of 1920 the great fall in prices, at a time when the administration had placed heavy export duties on cotton, tea and tobacco, caused a financial crisis. In April 10,21 the export duties were removed. While market fluctua- tions might be tided over, the future of Nyasaland remained very much dependent upon the completion of through railway communication from the ocean to Lake Nyasa.

See the annual reports issued by the Colonial Office, London, and the special report on the mineral survey (C. O. Miscellaneous No. 80) by Prof. W. R. Dunstan; Sir A. Sharpe, “Geography and Economic Development of British Central Africa,” Geog. Journal Jan. 1912; N. Maclean, Africa in Transformation (1913) and “The TimesHistory of the War (vol. x., chap. 155).  (F. R. C.)