African Great Lakes

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This article is about the lakes in Africa. For other uses of the term "Great Lakes", see Great Lakes (disambiguation).
Satellite view of the African Great Lakes region and its coastline.

The African Great Lakes (Swahili: Maziwa Makuu) are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift. They include Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake in the world, and Lake Tanganyika, the world's second largest in volume as well as the second deepest.[1] The term Greater Lakes is also used, less commonly, for some of them. Countries in the African Great Lakes region include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.[2]

Catchments[edit]

A – Albert
Y – Kyoga
E – Edward
K – Kivu
V – Victoria
T – Tanganyika
M – Malawi

The African Great Lakes are divided among three different catchments (river basins); a number, such as Lake Turkana, also have internal drainage systems. The following, in order of size from largest to smallest, are included on most lists of the African Great Lakes:

Some call only Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward the Great Lakes, as they are the only three that empty into the White Nile. Lake Kyoga is part of the Great Lakes system. However, it is not itself considered a Great Lake, based on size alone. Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kivu both empty into the Congo River system, while Lake Malawi is drained by the Shire River into the Zambezi. Lake Turkana has no outlet.

African Great Lakes region[edit]

The African Great Lake region consists of countries that surround the African Great Lakes. It comprises Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.[2]

The Bantu Swahili language is the most commonly spoken language in the African Great Lakes region.[3] It also serves as a national or official language of four nations in the region: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Due to the density of population and the agricultural surplus in the region, the area became organized into a number of small states. The most powerful of these monarchies were Rwanda, Burundi, Buganda, and Bunyoro. Unusual for sub-Saharan Africa, the traditional borders were largely maintained by the colonial powers.

Being the long sought after source of the Nile, the region had long been of interest to Europeans. The first Europeans to arrive in the region in any numbers were missionaries who had limited success in converting the locals, but did open the region to later colonization. The increased contact with the rest of the world led to a series of devastating epidemics affecting both humans and livestock. While seen as a region with great potential after independence, the region has in recent decades been marred by civil war and conflict, from which only Tanzania has largely escaped. The worst affected areas have been left in great poverty.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "~ZAMBIA~". www.zambiatourism.com. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  2. ^ a b "International Documentation Network on the Great African Lakes Region". Princeton University Library. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Shema, Rutagengwa Claude. "Great Lakes Region of Africa – Burundi". Regional Coordinator Great Lakes Peace Initiative (GLPI). Retrieved 22 November 2013. 

References[edit]

  • Jean-Pierre Chrétien. The Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History trans Scott Straus

Coordinates: 8°00′S 35°00′E / 8.000°S 35.000°E / -8.000; 35.000