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638

CENTRAL

AFRICA

differs slightly from the countries to the north and south by the absence of such animals as prefer drier climates, as for instance the oryx antelopes, gazelles, and the ostrich. There is a complete blank in the distribution of this last between the districts to the south of the Zambezi and those of East Africa between Victoria Nyanza and the Indian Ocean. The giraffe is found in the Luangwa valley; it is also met with in the extreme north-east of the country. The ordinary African rhinoceros is still occasionally, but very rarely, seen in the Shire Highlands. The African elephant is fairly common throughout the whole territory. Lions and leopards are very abundant; the zebra is still found in great numbers, and belongs to the Central African variety of Burchell’s zebra, which is completely striped down to the hoofs, and is intermediate in many particulars between the true zebra of the mountains and Burchell’s zebra of the plains. The principal antelopes found are the sable and the roan {Hippotragus), five species of Cobus or water buck (the puku, the Senga puku, the lechwe, Crawshay’s waterbuck, and the common waterbuck); the pallah, the tsessebe, the hartebeest, the gnu, the duyker, the klipspringer, the oribi, the steinbok, and the reedbuck. Among tragelaphs are the bushbuck, the inyala, the water tragelaph ( Tragelaphus selousi), the kudu, and Livingstone’s eland. The only buffalo is the common Cape species. The hyaena is the spotted kind. The hunting dog is present. There are some seven species of monkeys, including two baboons and one colobus. The hippopotamus is found in the lakes and rivers, and all these sheets of water are infested with crocodiles, apparently belonging to but one species, the common Nile crocodile. The human race is represented by only one indigenous native type—the Negro. No trace is anywhere found of a Hamitic intermixture. Arabs from Zanzibar have settled in the country of late years, but not, as far as we know, from any period exceeding a century back. As the present writer takes the general term “ Negro ” to include equally the Hottentot, Bushman, and Pigmy tribes of Africa, this designation will cover all the natives of British Central Africa; they exhibit, however, in some parts signs of Hottentot or Bushman intermixture, and there are legends in some mountain districts of the former existence of unmixed Bushman tribes, while Bushman stone implements are found at the south end of Tanganyika. At the present day the population is, as a rule, of a black or chocolatecoloured Negro type, and belongs, linguistically, entirely and exclusively to the Bantu family. The languages spoken offer several very interesting forms of Bantu speech, notably in the districts between the north end of Lake Nyasa, the south end of Lake Tanganyika, and the river Luapula. In the more or less plateau country included within these geographical limits the Bantu dialects are of a very archaic type, and to the present writer it has seemed as though one of them, Kiemba—or Kiwemba—came nearer than any other spoken tongue to the original form of the Bantu mother language. Through dialects spoken on the west and north of Tanganyika these languages of the northern districts are somewhat closely connected with the Bantu dialects of Uganda. They also offer some resemblance to Zulu-Kaffir, and it would seem as though the Zulu-Kaffir race must have come straight down from the countries to the north-west of Tanganyika, across the Zambezi, to their present home. Curiously enough, some hundreds of years after this southward migration, intestine wars and conflicts actually determined a north-westward return migration of Zulus. From Matabeleland Zulu tribes 1 The present writer has explored the Cameroon Range in West crossed the Zambezi at various periods (commencing from Equatorial Africa, and found no conifer there. It would seem there- about eighty years ago), and gradually extended their fore as though conifers had been limited in their African distribution ravages and dominion over the plateaux to the west, to the eastern half of the continent.

district, the annual rainfall probably does not exceed an average of 35 inches. Elsewhere, in the vicinity of the highest mountains, the rainfall may attain an average of 75 inches, in parts of Mount Mlanje possibly often reaching to 100 inches in the year. The average may be put at 50 inches per annum, which is also about the average rainfall of the Shire Highlands, that part of British Central Africa which at present attracts the greatest number of European settlers. Ho part of the country comes within the forest region of West Africa. The whole of it may be said to lie within the savannah or park-like division of the continent. As a general rule the landscape is of a pleasing and attractive character, well covered with vegetation and fairly well watered. Actual forests of lofty trees, forests of a West African type, are few in number, and are chiefly limited to portions of the Nyika, Angoniland, and Shire Highlands plateaux, and to a few nooks in valleys near the south end of Tanganyika. Patches of forest of tropical luxuriance may still be seen on the slopes of Mounts Mlanje and Chiradzulu. On the upper plateaux of Mount Mlanje there are forests of a remarkable conifer (Widdringtonia whytei), a relation of the cypress, which in appearance resembles much more the cedar, and is therefore wrongly styled the “ Mlanje cedar.” This tree is remarkable as being the only conifer found growing in Central Africa between the mountains of Cape Colony and Natal in the south, and the highlands of Kilima-Njaro, Kenia, and Abyssinia in the north.1 Immense areas in the lower-lying plains are covered by long, coarse grass, sometimes reaching 10 feet in height. Most of the West African forest trees are represented in British Central Africa. A full list of the known flora has been compiled by Sir W. Thiselton-Dyer and his assistants at Kew, and is given in the first and second editions of Sir H. H. Johnston’s work on British Central Africa. Amongst the principal vegetable products of the country interesting for commercial purposes may be mentioned coffee (wild coffee is said to grow in some of the mountainous districts, but the actual coffee cultivated by the European settlers has been introduced from abroad); indiarubber—derived chiefly from the various species of Landolphia and from other apocynaceous plants; the Strophanthus pod (furnishing a valuable drug); ground nuts (Arachis and Voandzeiod); the cotton plant; all African cultivated cereals (sorghum, pennisetum, maize, rice, wheat — cultivated chiefly by Europeans — and eleusine); and six species of palms—the oil palm on the north-west (near Lake Nyasa, at the south end of Tanganyika, and on the Luapula), the Borassus and Hyphcene, Phoenix (or wild date), Rophia and the cocoanut palm. The last-named was introduced by Arabs and Europeans, and is found on Lake Nyasa and on the Lower Shire. Most of the European vegetables have been introduced, and thrive exceedingly well, especially the potato. The mango has also been introduced from India, and has taken to the Shire Highlands as to a second home. Oranges, lemons, and limes have been planted by Europeans and Arabs in a few districts. European fruit-trees do not ordinarily flourish, though apples are grown to some extent at Blantyre. The vine hitherto has proved a failure. Pineapples give the best result amongst cultivated fruit, and strawberries do well in the higher districts. In the mountains the native wild brambles give blackberries of large size and excellent flavour. The fauna is on the whole very rich. It has affinities in a few respects with the West African forest region, but