The New International Encyclopædia/British Central Africa Protectorate

Edition of 1905.  See also British Central Africa Protectorate on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

BRITISH CENTRAL AFRICA PROTECTORATE. A British colonial possession in Central Africa, occupying the eastern part of British Central Africa, known formerly as Nyassaland. It is bounded by Lake Nyassa, Portuguese East Africa. Rhodesia, and German East Africa, and covers an area of over 42,000 square miles. It occupies an elevated plateau, well watered, and with a climate less unhealthful than any of the surrounding territories. The principal river is the Shire, which crosses the province of that name. The chief agricultural products are rice and coffee, the latter being cultivated mostly in the Shire Province. The introduction of wheat has been attended with considerable success. The chief exports are coffee, rubber, and ivory. The total value of the imports and exports for 1901 amounted to $710,000 and about $190,000, respectively, showing a considerable decline from 1900. The chief inland port of the protectorate is Chiromo, at the junction of the rivers Ruo and Shire. The British Government maintains a naval station and free port at Chinde, on the coast of Portuguese East Africa. The government of the protectorate is administered by a commissioner under the Foreign Office. For administrative purposes the protectorate is divided into twelve districts. The revenue is derived chiefly from a hut tax, customs duties, and a Government grant. The local revenues and total expenditures for 1901 amounted to $240,000 and $380,000, respectively. There is a military force of about 1300, under British and Sikh officers, besides a naval force of three gunboats. There is a telegraph line across the protectorate to Lake Tanganyika, which is to be extended to the Nile. The native population of the protectorate, calculated on the basis of the hut tax, is about 900,000. The larger part of the population is confined to the Shire Province, while large tracts of territory are uninhabited, on account of the slave raids of former times. The European population numbers about 450. The largest town is Blantyre. on the Portuguese frontier, with a population of over 6000. including about 100 Europeans. The headquarters of the administration are at Zomba. The trade ports are Port Herald, Chiromo, and Kotakota (the last on Lake Nyassa).

British Central Africa Protectorate was organized in 1891 out of a part of the territory administered by the British South Africa Company, and was put directly under the Foreign Office. In 1895 war was carried on with various tribes on the southern frontier, which, under the leadership of Arab slave-traders, had been raiding the country on man-hunting expeditions. In 1898 and 1899 considerable progress was made toward determining the boundary between the protectorate and German and Portuguese East Africa.

Consult: Johnston, British Central Africa (London, 1897); Scott Keltie, The Partition of Africa (London, 1895); Decle, Three Years in Savage Africa (London, 1897).