Nyasaland

Nyasaland

Nyasaland was a British Protectorate located in Africa that was established in 1907 when the former British Central Africa Protectorate changed its name. Between 1953 and 1963, Nyasaland was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. After the Federation was dissolved, Nyasaland became independent from Britain on 6 July 1964 and was renamed Malawi.

Nyasaland’s history was marked by the massive loss of African communal lands in the early colonial period. In January 1915, the Reverend John Chilembwe staged an attempt at rebellion in protest at discrimination against Africans. Colonial authorities reassessed some of their policies. From the 1930s, a growing class of educated African elite, many educated in Great Britain, became increasingly politically active and vocal about gaining independence. They established associations and, after 1944, the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).

When Nyasaland was forced in 1953 into a Federation with Southern and Northern Rhodesia, there was a rise in civic unrest, as this was deeply unpopular among the people of the territory. The failure of the NAC to prevent this caused its collapse. Not long afterwards, a younger and more militant generation revived the NAC. Ultimately, they invited Hastings Banda to return to the country and lead it to independence as Malawi in 1964.