History Of Malawi

The Mighty Shire River

By Inno Chanza

The first European to see the river Shire in Nyasaland was Jasper Boccaro. Boccaro was travelling from Tete to the Indian Ocean in 1616. πŸ’₯

Boccaro chose not use the Zambezi river in his return journey to the coast. He carried silver deposits he found at Tete. πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Boccaro travelled through the Shire Highlands crossing the river Shire and went to east side of Lake Nyasa and proceeded to the Indian Ocean with his samples of silver deposits. Boccaro when he asked the natives the name of this mighty river… he couldn’t understand them properly so he wrote the name of the river ‘Cherim’ pronounced as ‘Shering’ river of Central Africa. The river appeared on the early maps with this name.πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

Dr Francisco Jose Maria de Lacerda also visited parts of Nyasaland doing his environmental research and wrote about the river Shire in 1798.πŸ‘Œ

In 1831, Major Monteiro and Captain Gamitto while conducting a mission to Tete claimed to have sailed through the Shire river.πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

In 1846, the legendary Candido da Costa Cardoso with his ships sailed through the Shire and travelled over the Shire Highlands to the west coast of Lake Nyasa. Cardoso wrote properly the name of the river as Tchiri. But the Portuguese were pronouncing the name as “Shiri” sometimes “Shire”πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

In August 1859, Dr David Livingstone and Dr John Kirk sailed through the Shire river arriving on the 16th of September 1859… on the southern shores of Lake Nyasa. Livingtone wrote the name of the river as Shire based on the Portuguese pronunciation. πŸ’£πŸ’₯

The first settlers in Nyasaland …in time of Buchanan in 1880s… with the background of John Kirk and Dr Livingstone… thought the name of the river was English with the prounciation “Shaa” derived from Shire “of a county”. πŸ’₯

Sir Harry John Johnstone had to do a thorough research in 1895 to confirm the origins of the name Shire river.πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

His findings from the natives were that the name was Nyanja “Chiri” pronounced Tchiri. Chiri is an old Nyanja which meant for the steep banks of the great river.✊✊

 

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