Malawi has not yielded much in the way of hominid remains (to date,
only one jaw bone dated around 2.5 million years) it is in the region
that the earliest ancestors of humans lived. The roots of language,
story and communication were formed here.
Before recorded history, movements of people swept through Central
Africa and national boundaries were not recognised. Only with the
colonial influx were borders and nations established - often with
little reference to the people who lived there.
Africa was involved from earliest times in trade with places as
far away as Arabia, India and China. Slave taking and the exchange
of gold, ivory and other tropical products took place long before
travellers arrived from Europe. There is a strong Islamic influence,
especially around the lake, from these early contacts, which predated
a powerful Christian initiative into the region through missionaries
like David Livingstone and many others.
During the colonial period, the country was incorporated into the
federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, achieving independence in
1964 with Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda as Prime Minister, Later (life)
President. In 1994 Malawi held democratic elections for the first
time since independence, and the current President, re-elected in
1999, is Dr Bakili Muluzi.