Zambia Information

General Information for Zambia

Country: Zambia
Location: Southern Africa
Independence: October 24, 1964
Nationality: Zambian
Capital City: Lusaka
Population: 9,445,723
Important Cities: Livingstone, Kaoma, Kabwe, Kasama
Head of State: Frederic Chiluba
Area: 752,972
Type of Government: Republic
Currency: 122.6 Z kwacha=1 USD
Major peoples: Barotse, Tonga, Ila, Lozi, Bemba, Nyanja, Makishi
Religion: Christian 51%, African religion 48%, Hindu 1%
Climate: Tropical to subtropical
Literacy: 73%
Official Language: English
Principal Languages: Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga
Major Exports: Copper, Zinc, Cobalt
Pre-Colonial History The original hunter-gatherer occupants of Zambia began to be displaced or absorbed by more powerful migrating peoples about 2,000 years ago. The major waves of Bantu-speaking immigrants began in the 15th century, with the greatest influx the late 17th and early 19th centuries. These people came primarily from the Luba and Lunda tribes of southern Congo (Zaire) and northern Angola but were joined in the 19th century by Ngoni peoples from the south. In 1888, Cecil Rhodes, spearheading British commercial and political interest in central Africa, obtained a mineral right concession from local rulers. In the same year, Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively) were proclaimed a British sphere of influence. Northern Rhodesia was transferred to the British Colonial Office in 1924 as a protectorate. A two-stage election held in 1962 resulted in an African majority in the legislative Council and an easy coalition between the two African nationalist parties. On December 31, 1963, the federation was dissolved.
Post-Colonial History Northern Rhodesia, which was henceforth known as Zambia, became an independent republic within the Commonwealth on October 24, 1964, with Kenneth Kaunda as the country's first President. The Kaunda administration supported African liberation groups operating in Southern Rhodesia (then known as Rhodesia) and Mozambique. In December 1972 Zambia was declared a one-party state. In January 1973 Rhodesia closed the border with Zambia. In October 1978 Kaunda was nominated by United National Independent Party (UNIP) as sole presidential candidate, after the party had approved constitutional changes that effectively eliminated all opposition. The presidential and legislative elections took place in December 1978, and Kaunda was returned to a fourth term as President. Despite the implementation of unpopular economic austerity measures in 1982 and 1983, Kaunda was reelected President in October 1983. In May 1990 Kaunda announced that a popular referendum on the subject of multiparty politics would take place in October of that year. The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) was formed in July. In September 1991 Kaunda announced the dissolution of the National Assembly in preparation for the elections. On October 1991 Frederick Chiluva, with 75.79% of votes cast, defeated Kaunda in the presidential elections.

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