More than 100,000 years ago, on the ancient land we now call Zambia, mankind’s ancestors (the beginnings of the human race) lived. Economic and cultural activity flourished in this resource rich environment for centuries prior to the European exploitation.
In the late 1800’s, the country of Zambia was divided into two entities: North-Western Rhodesia, controlled by the British South Africa Company and North-Eastern Rhodesia. In 1911, the two units were merged and formed Northern Rhodesia. In 1923, the British government took control.
After many years of struggle with the British, independence was secured in 1964, and the name was officially changed to Zambia.
In the early 20th century, lucrative copper mining opportunities brought an onslaught of European immigration, and the country subsequently became the world’s 4th largest producer of same. However, by the mid-1970’s, the price of copper had declined worldwide and Zambia’s economy was devastated.
Kenneth Kaunda, the first president, Kaunda outlawed all opposition political parties. Due to an ever-increasing inflation rate and rising debts, riots took place in Lusaka and many of the protestors were killed. Kuanda was then forced to establish a multiparty democracy.
In 1991, Kuanda lost the presidential election to Frederick Chiluba. Chiluba brought about economic reforms which included privatization and establishment of a stock market. He was reelected in 1996. Prior to the 2001 elections, Chiluba contemplated changing the constitution in order to allow him to run for another term, but protests followed and he did not pursue the change. Levy Mwanawasa, a former vice president under Chiluba, was elected president.
Mwanawasa suffered a stroke in June 2008 and died in Paris in September. Vice President Rupiah Banda took over as acting president and was elected president in October. Banda has announced his intentions of running for the office in the 2011 elections.
In the past few years, Zambia’s economy has stabilized – primarily due to foreign investments in its mining industry and higher copper prices.
Zambia is famous for the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls, the latter named by David Livingstone, a Scottish explorer, and the first European to see the falls.
In recent years an impressive collection of national parks has been developed in an effort to protect once decimated species of wildlife, including elephants, leopards and lions.
- Official Name Republic of Zambia
- Population 12,620,219
- Coastline 0 (landlocked)
- Capital City Lusaka (pop. 1.2 million)
- Currency Zambian Kwacha (ZMK)
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- Languages English (official), and numerous local languges.
- National Day October 24
- Religions Christian, Muslim and Hindu
- Country Dialing Code 260
- Electricity Zambia uses 230 volts AC (50 Hz)
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- Zambia Flag
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- Land Area 740,720 sq km (285,992 sq miles)
- Highest Point Mafinga Mts. (Hills) – 8,503 ft. (2,301m)
- Lowest Point Zambezi River – 1,079 ft. (329m)
Land Divisions 9 provinces, including: Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, Lusaka, Northern, North-Western, Southern and Western.
Located south of the Equator, Zambia is in both the eastern and southern hemispheres. This landlocked country is positioned in southern Africa, and bordered by the countries of Botswana, Angola, Namibia, D.R.O.C., Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Most of the country consists of a wide plateau, with some scattered mountains (Muchinga) north and central.
The major river system, formed by the Zambezi and its tributaries – the Luangwa and Kafue Rivers, cuts into the plateau forming deep valleys and waterfalls such as Victoria Falls on the southern border with Zimbabwe.
Major lakes include Bangweulu, Mweru and Tanganyika.
Additional landforms include a swamp basin surrounding Lake Bangweulu and savanna grasslands. Woodlands and Rhodesian teak forests cover a large part of the southwest, though they are decreasing in size as the growing population demands more land.
Latitude and longitude
- Latitude/Longitude 15º 26′ S, 28º 20′ E
- Additional Maps
- Large Color Map
- Outline Map
- CIA Map
- Zambia Maps, at University of Texas
Known for the world’s biggest waterfall (and several others), numerous rivers, lakes and wetlands, a rich variety of birds and wildlife, outstanding game preserves and national parks and incredible varieties of wildlife, Zambia offers a variety of attractions for naturalists.
“Must Sees” include Victoria Falls, which it shares begrudgingly with Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River, Lakes Kariba, Mweru, Bangweulu and Tanganyika, as well as the Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
In addition to its breathtaking beauty, the country is a safe place to travel as the Zambians are friendly and peaceful.
Zambia Travel Info and Warnings
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Though located in the tropical latitudes, the general height of the land gives Zambia a more pleasant climate with relatively low humidity.
There are three seasons – cool and dry from May to August, hot and dry from September to November, warm and wet from December to April. Only in the valleys of the Zambezi and Luangwa is there excessive heat.
Note that Zambia seasons are just the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere; Spring: September – October, Summer: late October – mid-March, Fall: late March – April and Winter: May – August.