By Brian Morris
This publication is a pioneering and finished learn of the environmental historical past of Southern Malawi. With over fifty years of expertise, anthropologist and social ecologist Brian Morris attracts on quite a lot of information – literary, ethnographic and archival – during this interdisciplinary quantity.
Specifically focussing at the complicated and dialectical dating among the folks of Southern Malawi, either Africans and Europeans, and the Shire Highlands panorama, this learn spans the 19th century until eventually the tip of the colonial interval. It comprises precise money owed of the early background of the peoples of Northern Zambezia; the improvement of the plantation financial system and heritage of the tea estates within the Thyolo and Mulanje districts; the Chilembwe uprising of 1915; and the advanced tensions among colonial pursuits in preserving common assets and the worries of the Africans of the Shire Highlands in keeping their livelihoods.
A landmark paintings, Morris’s research constitutes a massive contribution to the environmental historical past of Southern Africa. it is going to allure not just to students, yet to scholars in anthropology, economics, heritage and the environmental sciences, in addition to to somebody drawn to studying extra in regards to the heritage of Malawi, and ecological matters in relation to southern Africa.
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Additional info for An Environmental History of Southern Malawi: Land and People of the Shire Highlands
Around 325 square miles (840 square km) in area most years (as in 1960) and always rather shallow, the level of Lake Chilwa has fluctuated enormously over the centuries, and in recent decades it has often become completely dry. Some 200 years ago, during a pluvial period, when there was around 30 % more rainfall than was usual for the Shire Highland, Lake Chilwa was much more extensive, linking with Lake Chiuta in the Mangoche district (Pike and Rimmington 1965: 37; Wilson 2014). Forming a crescent of numerous rocky hills and mountains, the Shire Highlands was described by the geographer, Frank Debenham, as forming a ‘lunar landscape’ (1955: 26).
The mountain was made famous by another travel-writer, Laurens van der Post, in his best-selling book, Venture to the Interior (1952), though his graphic account of his ‘encounter’ with Mulanje Mountain is both fanciful and facile (see my critique Morris 2009: 322–325). And it was not some ‘unknown’ mountain as van der Post pretended, for Alexander Whyte, head of the Scientific Department in Harry Johnston’s colonial administration, had climbed Lichenya plateau—in October 1891. Whyte spent two weeks botanizing on the mountain, and discovered the famous Mulanje cedar which was later described as a new species in the Transactions of the Linnean Society (1984).
Stead 1978; Johnston-Stewart 1984; Dowsett-Lemaire 1989b. On the forest flora of the Blantyre hills see Dowsett-Lemaire 1989a: 96–99). 10 Thyolo Mountain Lying about 20 miles (32 km) south of Blantyre-Limbe, Thyolo Mountain (4795 feet; 1462 m) dominates the tea-growing areas of the Thyolo district. The mountain, in the form of a flat ridge some four miles long (6 km) was, until comparatively recently completely covered with extensive submontane evergreen forest. 86 square miles (1000 ha). The Thyolo mountain forest was dominated by Chrysophyllum gorungosanum (chifila), a tree growing to 60 m, with milky fruit, and by various fig trees, of which the strangler fig Ficus samsibarica was the most numerous.