History of Malawi

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The History of Malawi covers the area of present-day Malawi. The region was once part of the Maravi Empire. In colonial times it was known as British Central Africa and Nyasaland and was at one time part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The country reached full independence, as Malawi, in 1964.

Oil was first found there in the late 19th century. It was the first oil found around the world.



Hominid remains and stone implements have been identified in Malawi dating back more than one million years, and early humans inhabited the vicinity of Lake Malawi 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human remains at a site dated about 8000 BC show physical characteristics similar to peoples living today in the Horn of Africa. At another site, dated 1500 BC, the remains possess features resembling Bushmen people. These short people with copper colored skin were known as the Akufula or Batwa. They are responsible for rock paintings found south of Lilongwe in Chencherere and Mphunzi.

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