Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Coordinates: 15°S 30°E / 15°S 30°E / -15; 30

Republic of Zambia
"One Zambia, One Nation"
Anthem: "Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free"
Location of Zambia
and largest city
15°25′S 28°17′E / 15.417°S 28.283°E / -15.417; 28.283
Official languagesEnglish
Recognised regional languages
Ethnic groups
Christianity (official)[2]
GovernmentUnitary presidential republic
• President
Hakainde Hichilema
Mutale Nalumango
LegislatureNational Assembly
27 June 1890
28 November 1899
29 January 1900
17 August 1911
1 August 1953
24 October 1964
• Total
752,617 km2 (290,587 sq mi)[3] (38th)
• Water (%)
• 2021 estimate
19,473,125[4][5] (65th)
• 2010 census
• Density
17.2/km2 (44.5/sq mi) (191st)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
$75.857 billion[7]
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
$23.946 billion[7]
• Per capita
Gini (2015)57.1[8]
HDI (2019)Decrease 0.584[9]
medium · 146th
CurrencyZambian kwacha (ZMW)
Time zoneUTC+2 (CAT)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideleft
Calling code+260
ISO 3166 codeZM

Zambia (/ˈzæmbiə, ˈzɑːm-/), officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central, Southern and East Africa.[10] It is typically referred to as being in Southern Africa at its most central point and is a part of the Southern African Development Committee.[11] Its neighbors are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the south, Namibia to the southwest, and Angola to the west. The capital city of Zambia is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of Zambia. The population is concentrated mainly around Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt Province to the north, the economic hubs of the country.

Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, the region was affected by the Bantu expansion of the 13th century. Following European explorers in the 18th century, the British colonised the region into the British protectorates of Barotseland-North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia comprising 73 tribes, towards the 19th century. These were merged in 1911 to form Northern Rhodesia. For most of the colonial period, it was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South Africa Company.[12] On 24 October 1964, Zambia became independent of the United Kingdom and prime minister Kenneth Kaunda became the inaugural president. Kaunda's socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) maintained power from 1964 until 1991. Kaunda played a role in regional diplomacy, cooperating with the United States in search of solutions to conflicts in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola, and Namibia.[13] From 1972 to 1991 Zambia was a one-party state with UNIP as the sole legal political party under the motto "One Zambia, One Nation" coined by Kaunda. Kaunda was succeeded by Frederick Chiluba of the social-democratic Movement for Multi-Party Democracy in 1991, beginning a period of government decentralisation.

There are minerals, wildlife, forestry, freshwater and arable land.[14] In 2010, the World Bank named Zambia "one of the world's fastest economically reformed countries".[15] The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is headquartered in Lusaka.


A territory was known as Northern Rhodesia from 1911 to October 1964 when it was renamed Zambia on its independence from British rule. The name Zambia derives from the Zambezi River (Zambezi may mean "grand river").[16]


It has a tropical climate and consists mostly of plateaus with some hills and mountains, dissected by river valleys. At 290,587 sq mi it is the 38th-largest country in the world. The country lies mostly between latitudes 8° and 18°S, and longitudes 22° and 34°E.

It is drained by the river basins of Zambezi/Kafue in the center, west, and south covering about 3-quarters of the country; and Congo in the north covering about 1-quarter of the country. An area in the northeast forms part of the internal drainage basin of Lake Rukwa in Tanzania.

In the Zambezi basin, there are a number of rivers flowing wholly or partially through Zambia, including: the Kabompo, Lungwebungu, Kafue, Luangwa, and the Zambezi itself, which flows through the country in the west and then forms its southern border with Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Its source is in Zambia and it diverts into Angola, and a number of its tributaries rise in Angola's central highlands. The edge of the Cuando River floodplain (not its main channel) forms Zambia's southwestern border, and via the Chobe River that river contributes water to the Zambezi and most are lost by evaporation.[17]

The tributaries of Kafue and Luangwa flow mainly in Zambia. Their confluences with the Zambezi are on the border with Zimbabwe at Chirundu and Luangwa town respectively. Before its confluence, the Luangwa River forms part of Zambia's border with Mozambique. From Luangwa town, the Zambezi leaves Zambia and flows into Mozambique, and eventually into the Mozambique Channel.

The Zambezi falls about 100 metres (328 ft) over the 1.6-kilometre-wide (1-mile) Victoria Falls, located in the southwest corner of the country, subsequently flowing into Lake Kariba. From Lake Kariba going east, the Zambezi valley is formed by grabens and like the Luangwa, Mweru-Luapula, Mweru-wa-Ntipa and Lake Tanganyika valleys, is a rift valley.

The north of Zambia is flatter with broader plains. In the west lies the Barotse Floodplain on the Zambezi, which floods from December to June, lagging behind the annual rainy season (typically November to April). The flood dominates the natural environment and the lives, society, and culture of the inhabitants and those of other smaller, floodplains throughout the country.

In Eastern Zambia the plateau which extends between the Zambezi and Lake Tanganyika valleys is tilted upwards to the north, and so rises imperceptibly from about 900 m (2,953 ft) in the south to 1,200 m (3,937 ft) in the centre, reaching 1,800 m (5,906 ft) in the north near Mbala. These plateau areas of northern Zambia have been categorised by the World Wildlife Fund as a large section of the Central Zambezian miombo woodlands ecoregion.[18]

In Eastern Zambia, the Luangwa Valley splits the plateau in a curve north-east to south-west, extended west into the heart of the plateau by the valley of the Lunsemfwa River. Hills and mountains are found by the side of some sections of the valley, including in its north-east the Nyika Plateau (2,200 m or 7,218 ft) on the Malawi border, which extend into Zambia as the Mafinga Hills, containing the country's highest point, Mafinga Central (2,339 m or 7,674 ft).[19]

The Muchinga Mountains, the watershed between the Zambezi and Congo drainage basins, run parallel to the valley of the Luangwa River and form a backdrop to its northern edge, and they are in places below 1,700 m (5,577 ft). Their culminating peak Mumpu is at the western end and at 1,892 m (6,207 ft) is the highest point in Zambia away from the eastern border region. The border of the Congo Pedicle was drawn around this mountain.

The southernmost headstream of the Congo River rises in Zambia and flows west through its northern area firstly as the Chambeshi and then, after the Bangweulu Swamps as the Luapula, which forms part of the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Luapula flows south then west before it turns north until it enters Lake Mweru. The lake's other tributary is the Kalungwishi River which flows into it from the east. The Luvua River drains Lake Mweru, flowing out of the northern end to the Lualaba River (Upper Congo River).

Lake Tanganyika is another hydrographic feature that belongs to the Congo basin. Its south-eastern end receives water from the Kalambo River which forms part of Zambia's border with Tanzania. This river has Africa's second highest uninterrupted waterfall, the Kalambo Falls.


It is located on the plateau of Central Africa, between 1,000 and 1,600 metres (3,300 and 5,200 ft) above sea level. The average elevation of 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) gives the land a "generally moderate" climate. The climate of Zambia is tropical, modified by elevation. In the Köppen climate classification, most of the country is classified as humid subtropical or tropical wet and dry, with stretches of semi-arid steppe climate in the south-west and along the Zambezi valley.

There is the rainy season (November to April) corresponding to summer, and the dry season (May/June to October/November), corresponding to winter. The dry season is subdivided into the cool dry season (May/June to August), and the hot dry season (September to October/November). The modifying influence of altitude gives the country subtropical weather rather than tropical conditions during the cool season of May to August.[20] Average monthly temperatures remain above 20 °C (68 °F) over most of the country for 8 or more months of the year.


There are an estimated 3,543 species of wild flowering plants, consisting of sedges, herbaceous plants and woody plants.[21] The Northern and North-Western provinces of the country have the highest diversity of flowering plants. Approximately 53% of flowering plants are "rare and occur throughout the country".[22] Lists, descriptions, and keys of some plant species of Zambia and neighboring countries are covered in the Flora Zambesiaca project directed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

A total of 242 mammal species are found in the country, with most occupying the woodland and grassland ecosystems. The Rhodesian giraffe and Kafue lechwe are some of the subspecies that are endemic to Zambia.[23] An estimated 757 bird species have been seen in the country, of which 600 are either resident or Afrotropic migrants; 470 breed in the country; and 100 are non-breeding migrants. The Zambian barbet is a species endemic to Zambia. Roughly 490 known fish species, belonging to 24 fish families, have been reported in Zambia, with Lake Tanganyika having the highest number of endemic species.[24]

The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.5/10, ranking it 39th globally out of 172 countries.[25]



Archaeological excavation work on the Zambezi Valley and Kalambo Falls shows a succession of human cultures. Camp site tools near the Kalambo Falls have been radiocarbon dated to more than 36,000 years ago.

The fossil skull remains of Broken Hill Man (also known as Kabwe Man), dated between 300,000 and 125,000 years BC, shows that the area was inhabited by early humans.[26] Broken Hill Man was discovered in Zambia in Kabwe District.

Khoisan and Batwa

Zambia once was inhabited by the Khoisan and Batwa peoples until around AD 300 when migrating Bantu began to settle the areas.[27] It is believed the Khoisan people originated in East Africa and spread southwards around 150,000 years ago. The Twa people were split into the Kafwe Twa lived around the Kafue Flats, and the Lukanga Twa who lived around the Lukanga Swamp.[28] Examples of rock art like the Mwela Rock Paintings, Mumbwa Caves, and Nachikufu Cave, are attributed to these hunter-gatherers. The Khoisan and the Twa formed a patron-client relationship with farming Bantu peoples across central and southern Africa and were eventually either displaced by or absorbed into the Bantu groups.

Bantu (Abantu)

The Bantu people or Abantu (meaning people) are an ethnolinguistic group that constitutes the majority of people in eastern, southern and central Africa.

The earlier history of the peoples of what later is Zambia is deduced from oral records, archaeology, and written records from non-Africans.[29]

Bantu origins

The Bantu expansion brought iron working technology and happened primarily through a western route via the Congo Basin and an eastern route via the African Great Lakes.[30]

First Bantu settlement

The first Bantu people to arrive in Zambia came through the eastern route via the African Great Lakes. They arrived around the first millennium A.D., and among them were the Tonga people (also called Ba-Tonga, "Ba-" meaning "men") and the Ba-Ila and Namwanga and other related groups, who settled around Southern Zambia near Zimbabwe. Ba-Tonga oral records indicate that they came from the east near the "big sea". They were later joined by the Ba-Tumbuka who settled around Eastern Zambia and Malawi.

These first Bantu people lived in villages. They lacked an organised unit under a chief or headman and worked as a community and helped each other in times of field preparation for their crops. Villages moved around frequently as the soil became exhausted as a result of the slash-and-burn technique of planting crops. The people kept large herds of cattle.[31]

European missionaries who settled in Wl southern Zambia noted the independence of some Bantu societies. A missionary noted: "[If] weapons for war, hunting, and domestic purposes are needed, the Tonga man goes to the hills and digs until he finds the iron ore. He smelts it and with the iron thus obtained makes axes, hoes, and other useful implements. He burns wood and makes charcoal for his forge. His bellows are made from the skins of animals and the pipes are clay tile, and the anvil and hammers are also pieces of the iron he has obtained. He moulds, welds, shapes, and performs all the work of the ordinary blacksmith."[32]

These Bantu settlers participated in the trade at the site Ingombe Ilede in Southern Zambia. At this trading site they met Kalanga/Shona traders from Great Zimbabwe and Swahili traders from the East African Swahili coast. Ingombe Ilede was a trading posts for rulers of Great Zimbabwe, others being the Swahili port cities like Sofala.

The goods traded at Ingombe Ilede included fabrics, beads, gold, and bangles. Some of these items came from what is later southern Democratic Republic of Congo and Kilwa Kisiwani while others came from as far away as India, China and the Arab world.[33] The African traders were later joined by the Portuguese in the 16th century.[34]

The "decline of Great Zimbabwe", due to increasing trade competition from other Kalanga/Shona kingdoms like Khami and Mutapa, spelt the end of Ingombe Ilede.

Second Bantu settlement

The second mass settlement of Bantu people into Zambia was of people groups that are believed to have taken the western route of the Bantu migration through the Congo Basin. These Bantu people spent the majority of their existence in what is later the Democratic Republic of Congo.[35]

Luba-Lunda states

The Bemba along with other related groups like the Lamba, Bisa, Senga, Kaonde, Swaka, Nkoya and Soli formed integral parts of the Luba Kingdom in Upemba part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and have a relation to the BaLuba people. The area which the Luba Kingdom occupied has been inhabited by farmers and iron workers since the 300s.

Over time these communities learned to use nets and harpoons, make dugout canoes, clear canals through swamps and make dams as high as 2.5 meters. As a result, they grew an economy trading fish, copper and iron items and salt for goods from other parts of Africa, like the Swahili coast and, later on, the Portuguese. From these communities arose the Luba Kingdom in the 14th century.[36]

The Luba Kingdom had a centralised government and smaller independent chiefdoms. It had trading networks that linked the forests in the Congo Basin and plateaus of what is today Copperbelt Province and stretched from the Atlantic coast to the Indian Ocean coast.[36]

A Luba genesis story that articulated the distinction between 2 types of Luba emperors goes as follows:

Nkongolo Mwamba, the red king, and Ilunga Mbidi Kiluwe, a prince of legendary black complexion. Nkongolo Mwamba is the drunken and cruel despot, Ilunga Mbidi Kiluwe the refined and gentle prince. Nkongolo the Red is a man without manners, a man who eats in public, gets drunk, and cannot control himself, whereas [Ilunga] Mbidi Kiluwe is a man of reservation, obsessed with good manners; he does not eat in public, controls his language and his behaviour, and keeps a distance from the vices and modus vivendi of ordinary people. Nkongolo Mwamba symbolizes the embodiment of tyranny, whereas Mbidi Kiluwe remains the admired caring and compassionate kin.[37]

In the same region of Southern Congo the Lunda people were made into a satellite of the Luba empire and adopted forms of Luba culture and governance, thus becoming the Lunda Empire to the south. According to Lunda genesis myths, a Luba hunter named Chibinda Ilunga, son of Ilunga Mbidi Kiluwe, introduced the Luba model of statecraft to the Lunda sometime around 1600 when he married a local Lunda princess named Lueji and was granted control of her kingdom. Most rulers who claimed descent from Luba ancestors were integrated into the Luba empire. The Lunda kings remained separate and actively expanded their political and economic dominance over the region.[36]

The Lunda like its parent state Luba traded with both coasts, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. While ruler Mwaant Yaav Naweej had established trade routes to the Atlantic coast and initiated direct contact with European traders eager for slaves and forest products and controlling the regional Copper trade, and settlements around Lake Mweru regulated commerce with the East African coast.[36]

The Luba-Lunda states "declined" as a result of Atlantic slave trade in the west and Indian Ocean slave trade in the east and wars with breakaway factions of the kingdoms. The Chokwe, a group that is related to the Luvale and formed a Lunda satellite state, broke away from the Lunda state and themselves became slave traders, exporting slaves to both coasts. The Chokwe eventually were defeated by the other ethnic groups and the Portuguese.[38] This instability caused the collapse of the Luba-Lunda states and a dispersal of people into parts of Zambia from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some Zambians trace their ancestry to the Luba-Lunda and surrounding Central African states.[39]

The Maravi Confederacy

In the 1200s, before the founding of the Luba-Lunda states, a group of Bantu people started migrating from the

In 1480 the Maravi Empire was founded by the kalonga (paramount chief of the Maravi) from the Phiri clan. The Maravi Empire stretched from the Indian Ocean through what later is Mozambique to Zambia and parts of Malawi. The political organization of the Maravi resembled that of the Luba and is believed to have originated from there. The primary export of the Maravi was ivory which was transported to Swahili brokers.[40] Iron was also manufactured and exported. In the 1590s the Portuguese endeavoured to monopolize Maravi export trade. This attempt was met with outrage by the Maravi of Lundu, who unleashed their WaZimba armed force. The WaZimba sacked the Portuguese trade towns of Tete, Sena and other towns.[41]

The Maravi are believed to have brought the traditions that would become Nyau secret society from Upemba. The Nyau form the cosmology or indigenous religion of the people of Maravi. The Nyau society consists of ritual dance performances and masks used for the dances; this belief system spread around the region.[42] The Maravi "declined" as a result of succession disputes within the confederacy, attack by the Ngoni and slave raids from the Yao.[41]

Mutapa Empire and Mfecane

Prince Nyatsimba Mutota broke away from Great Zimbabwe, forming a new empire called Mutapa. The title of Mwene Mutapa, meaning "Ravager of the Lands", was bestowed on him and subsequent rulers.[43]

The Mutapa Empire ruled territory between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, in what later is Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, from the 14th to the 17th century. By its peak Mutapa had conquered the Dande area of the Tonga and Tavara. The Mutapa Empire predominately engaged in the Indian Ocean transcontinental trade with and via the WaSwahili. They primarily exported gold and ivory in exchange for silk and ceramics from Asia.[44]

Like their contemporaries in Maravi, Mutapa had problems with the arriving Portuguese traders. The peak of this "uneasy relationship" was reached when the Portuguese attempted to influence the kingdom's internal affairs by establishing markets in the kingdom and converting the population to Christianity. This action caused outrage from the Muslim WaSwahili living in the capital, and this chaos gave the Portuguese the excuse they were searching for to warrant an attack on the kingdom and try to control its gold mines and ivory routes. This attack failed when the Portuguese succumbed to disease along the Zambezi river.[45]

In the 1600s internal disputes and civil war began the "decline of Mutapa". The kingdom was conquered by the Portuguese and was eventually taken over by rival Shona states.[45]

The Portuguese had estates, known as Prazos, and they used slaves and ex-slaves as security guards and hunters. They trained the men in military tactics and gave them guns. These men became expert elephant hunters and were known as the

Inside the palace of the Litunga, ruler of the Lozi. Due to the flooding on the Zambezi, the Litunga has 2 palaces 1 of which is on higher ground. The movement of Litunga to higher land is celebrated at the Kuomboka