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About Eastern Province

The history of the province is centered around the Chewa people who under the rule of Kalonga Gawa Undi established a vast empire extending to modern day Central Malawi and the northeastern part of Tete Province in Mozambique. The chieftains of the empire exercised control over the territory in modern times. The most notable of them was Kalonga Gawa Undi X, whose regime started in 1954. By 1957, he joined Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula’s political party that supported the British Colonial Empire. By the time he completed his European tour and returned to his province, nationalism had almost spread in the entire province. To avoid uprising, periodic fatalities and loyalty he enjoyed among masses, he supported the nationalist movement. After the independence of Zambia, during the 1960s, some of the districts in the province had unprecedented growth in infrastructure and agriculture. However, the growth of the province was terminated along with that of the country due falling copper prices.

As of 2010, Chewa was the largest community in the region with 39.7 per cent population and Chewa was the widely spoken language in Eastern province with 34.6 per cent speaking it. The province was claimed as a part of Malawi in 1968 by the then Malawian President Dr. Hastings Kamazu Banda who was a supporter of the apartheid in South Africa against the wishes of Organization of African Uninty (OAU). The then Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda openly asked Malawi to go on war with Zambia to claim the province and also affirmed that Zambia would not have trade relations with Malawi until the claim on territory was withdrawn. The expansionist ambition of Malawi was discontinued and the Eastern Province remained with Zambia.