Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/693

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CENTRALAFRICA taken to be a line drawn from the south-easternmost corner of the Congo Free State frontier to the northwesternmost corner of the Portuguese possessions on the east bank of the Luangwa river. Within these limits we have a territory of about 150,000 square miles, which includes two-thirds of Lake Nyasa, the south end of Lake Tanganyika, more than half Lake Mweru, and the whole of Lake Bangweulu, nearly the whole courses of the rivers Shire and Luangwa, the whole of the river Chambezi (the head-waters of the river Congo), the right or east bank of the Luapula (or Upper Congo) from its exit from Lake Bangweulu to its issue from the north end of Lake Mweru.

Other lesser sheets of water included within the limits of this territory are the Great Mweru Swamp, between Tanganyika and Mweru, Moir’s Lake (a small mountain tarn lying between the Luangwa and the Luapula), Lake Malombe (on the upper Shire), and the salt lake Chilwa, which lies on the borders of the Portuguese province of Mozambique. The southern border of all this territory is separated from the river Zambezi by the Portuguese possessions; nevertheless, considerably more than twothirds of the country lies within the Zambezi basin, and is included within the subordinate basins of Lake Nyasa and of the river Luangwa. The remaining portions drain into the basins of the river Congo and of Lake Tanganyika, and also into the small Lake Chilwa, which at the present time has no outlet, though in past ages it probably emptied


itself into the Lujenda river, and thence into the Indian Ocean. As regards orographical features, much of the country is high plateau, with an average altitude of 3500 feet above sea-level. Only a very minute portion of its area—the country along the banks of the river Shire— lies at anything like a low level; though the Luangwa valley may not be more than about 900 feet above sealevel. Lake Nyasa lies at an elevation of 1700 feet above the sea, is about 350 miles long, with a breadth varying from 15 to 40 miles. Lake Tanganyika is about 2680 feet above sea-level, with a length of about 400 miles and an average breadth of nearly 40. Lake Mweru and Lake Bangweulu are respectively 3000 feet and 3760 feet above sealevel ; Lake Chilwa is 1946 feet in altitude. The highest mountain found within the limits previously laid down is Mount Mlanje, in the extreme south - eastern corner of the Protectorate. The highest peak of Mlanje reaches an altitude of 9683 feet. (In German territory, near the north end of Lake Nyasa, and close to the British frontier, is Mount Rungwa, the altitude of which exceeds 10,000 feet.) Other high mountains are Mounts Chongone and Dedza, in Angoniland, which reach an altitude of 7000 feet, and points on the Nyika Plateau and in the Konde Mountains to the northwest of Lake Nyasa, which probably exceed a height of 8000 feet. There are also Mounts Zomba (6900 feet) and Chiradzulu (5500 feet) in the Shire Highlands. The principal plateaux or high ridges are (1) the Shire Highlands, a clump of mountainous country lying between the river Shire, the river Ruo, Lake Chilwa, and the south end of Lake Nyasa; (2) Angoniland—a stretch of elevated country to the west of Lake Nyasa and the north-west of the river Shire; (3) the Nyika Plateau, which lies to the north of Angoniland; and (4) the Nyasa - Tanganyika Plateau, between the basin of the river Luangwa, the vicinity of Tanganyika, and the vicinity of Lake Mweru. Finally may be mentioned the tract of elevated country between Lake Bangweulu and the river Luapula, and between Lake Bangweulu and the basin of the Luangwa. The whole of this part of Africa is practically without any stretch of desert country, being on the whole favoured with an abundant rainfall. The nearest approach to a desert is the rather dry land to the east and north-east of Lake Mweru. Here, and in parts of the lower Shire