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Brief History of Malawi:
The land of Malawi has been inhabited by man for thousands of years. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese in the 16th century. However, it was David Livingstone who arrived in 1859 and had the first significant contact. Churches and missions were soon established in the area with the hope of ending the slave trade.
In 1891 the land became a British protectorate. It was called Nyasaland. It became the independent country of Malawi in 1964. The country was ruled for 30 years by President Hasting Kamuzu Banda.
The Geography of Malawi
Total Size: 118,480 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Geographical Coordinates: 13 30 S, 34 00 E
World Region or Continent: Africa
General Terrain: narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
Geographical Low Point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m
Geographical High Point: Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m
Climate: sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)
Major cities: Blantyre 856,000; LILONGWE (capital) 821,000 (2009)
The People of Malawi
Type of Government: multiparty democracy
Languages Spoken: Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998 census)
Independence: 6 July 1964 (from UK)
National Holiday: Independence Day (Republic Day), 6 July (1964)
Religions: Christian 79.9%, Muslim 12.8%, other 3%, none 4.3% (1998 census)
National Anthem or Song: Mulungu dalitsa Malawi (Oh God Bless Our Land of Malawi)
Economy of Malawi
Major Industries: tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods
Agricultural Products: tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats
Natural Resources: limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
Major Exports: tobacco 60%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel
Major Imports: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
Currency: Malawian kwacha (MWK)
National GDP: $13,760,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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