Malawi is a country of 14 million people. The capital city is Lilongwe and is home to about 890,000 people. The main geographic feature is the East African Rift Valley, which cuts the country from north to south. The Chewa are the dominant ethnic group, and their language Chichewa is prominently spoken throughout the country. The country is densely populated relative to other African countries, and their education system does include a version of an elite public school called the Kamuzu Academy, but most children are not eligible, and dropout rates remain high. Despite the density of the population, most of Malawi's population lives in rural areas, and nearly all of the arable land has been cultivated; crops such as maize, sorghum, and millet are prominent crops. Tobacco is the country's major cash crop, along with tea, sugar, and cotton. Malawi was colonized in 1891 by the British, and they achieved independence in 1962. Dr. Hastings Banda and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) were the first to govern in independence. In 1970 Banda declared himself "president for life' spiraling into an increasingly oppressive rule, which included secret police and spies that he used to jail and torture dissidents. During the 1990s, many riots and strikes put pressure on Banda, and he conceded in 1993 to approve the return of multiparty democracy. He was defeated in the 1994 elections by Bakili Muluzi and his United Democratic Front (UDF) party. Muluzi won again in 1999. A Muluzi backed candidate, Bingu wa Mutharika, won in 2004 and also in 2009. In 2011 the country faced an economic crisis leading many to protest. Mutharika responded to those protests with violence and less political freedom. Still, he died suddenly in 2012 and was replaced by his vice-president Joyce Banda who has opted for a more democratic representation in her government.