This article is about the African nation. For the 18th-century BC king of Isin, see Zambiya
), officially the Republic of Zambia
, is a landlocked country
at the crossroads of Central
and East Africa
. It is typically referred to as being in Southern Africa at its most central point and is apart of the Southern African Development Committee.
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
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
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.
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.
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").
Map of Köppen climate classification.
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 the Zambezi basin, there are a number of rivers flowing wholly or partially through Zambia, including: the Kabompo
, 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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
provinces of the country have the highest diversity of flowering plants. Approximately 53% of flowering plants are "rare and occur throughout the country".
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.
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.
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.
Broken Hill Man was discovered in Zambia in Kabwe District
Khoisan and Batwa
Ancient (but graffitied) Rock Art in Nsalu Cave, Kasanka National Park in North-Central Zambia.
Zambia once was inhabited by the Khoisan and Batwa
peoples until around AD 300 when migrating Bantu
began to settle the areas.
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
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.
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.
fisherwomen in Southern Zambia.
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.
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 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
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.
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."
These Bantu settlers participated in the trade at the site Ingombe Ilede
in Southern Zambia. At this trading site they met Kalanga
traders from Great Zimbabwe
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
The African traders were later joined by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
The "decline of Great Zimbabwe", due to increasing trade competition from other Kalanga/Shona kingdoms like Khami
, 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.
Drawing of the ruler of Lunda
, Mwata Kazembe
, receiving Portuguese in the royal courtyard in the 1800s
The Bemba along with other related groups like the Lamba
, 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.
genesis story that articulated the distinction between 2 types of Luba emperors goes as follows:
, 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.
A drawing of Lunda
houses by a Portuguese visitor. The size of the doorways relative to the building emphasizes the scale of the buildings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Maravi Confederacy
In the 1200s, before the founding of the Luba-Lunda states, a group of Bantu people started migrating from the Congo Basin
to Lake Mweru
then finally settled around Lake Malawi
. These migrants are believed to have been inhabitants around the Upemba
area in the Democratic Republic of Congo
. By the 1400s these groups of migrants collectively called the Maravi, and among them was the Chewa people
(AChewa) who started assimilating other Bantu groups like the Tumbuka
The kalonga (ruler) of the AChewa
descends from the kalonga of the Maravi Empire.
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.
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.
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.
The Maravi "declined" as a result of succession disputes within the confederacy, attack by the Ngoni
and slave raids from the Yao
Mutapa Empire and Mfecane
chiefs. The Ngoni made their way into Eastern Zambia
in South Africa. They assimilated into the local ethnic groups.
The Mutapa Empire ruled territory between the Zambezi
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.
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.
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
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 Chikunda
. After the decline of the Portuguese the Chikunda made their way to Zambia.
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
It is hypothesised by Julian Cobbing
that the presence of early Europeans slave trading
and attempts to control resources in various parts of Bantu Speaking Africa
caused the gradual militarization of the people in the region. This can be observed with the Maravi's WaZimba warrior caste who, once defeating the Portuguese, remained militaristic afterwards.
The Portuguese presence in the region was a reason for the founding of the Rozvi Empire
, a breakaway state of Mutapa. The ruler of the Rozvi, Changamire Dombo, became a leader in South-Central Africa. Under his leadership, the Rozvi defeated the Portuguese and expelled them from their trading posts along the Zambezi river.
Another instance of this increased militarization was the rise of the Zulu
under the leadership of Shaka
. Pressures from the English colonialists in the Cape
and increased militarization of the Zulu resulted in the Mfecane
(the crushing). The Zulu expanded by assimilating the women and children of tribes they defeated, if the men of these Nguni tribes
escaped slaughter, they used the military tactics of the Zulu to attack other groups.
This caused mass displacements, wars and raids throughout Southern, Central and Eastern Africa as Nguni or Ngoni
tribes made their way throughout the region and is referred to as the Mfecane. The arriving Nguni under the leadership of Zwagendaba
crossed the Zambezi river moving northwards. The Ngoni were the final blow to the "already weakened" Maravi
Empire. Some Nguni settled around what later is Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania and assimilated into neighbouring tribes.
In the western part
of Zambia, another Southern African group of Sotho-Tswana
heritage called the Kololo
manage to conquer the local inhabitants who were migrants from the fallen Luba and Lunda states called the Luyana
or Aluyi. The Luyana established the Barotse Kingdom
on the floodplains of the Zambezi
upon their arrival from Katanga. Under the Kololo, the Kololo language was imposed upon the Luyana until the Luyana revolted and overthrew the Kololo by this time the Luyana language was somewhat forgotten and a new hybrid language emerged, SiLozi
and the Luyana began to refer to themselves as Lozi
It is said that by the 19th century, most of the various peoples of Zambia were established in their later areas.
The Portuguese explorer Francisco de Lacerda
led an expedition from Mozambique to the Kazembe region in Zambia (with the goal of exploring and to crossing Southern Africa from coast to coast for the first time),
and died during the expedition in 1798. The expedition was from then on led by his friend Francisco Pinto.
This territory, located between Portuguese Mozambique
and Portuguese Angola
, was claimed and explored by Portugal in that period.
Other European visitors followed in the 19th century, including David Livingstone
who had a vision of ending the slave trade through the "3 Cs": Christianity, Commerce, and Civilisation. He saw the waterfalls on the Zambezi River
in 1855, naming them the Victoria Falls
after Queen Victoria
of the United Kingdom. He described them thus: "Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight".
Locally the falls are known as "Mosi-o-Tunya"
or "thundering smoke" in the Lozi or Kololo dialect. The town of Livingstone
near the Falls is named after him. Publicised accounts of his journeys motivated a wave of European visitors, missionaries and traders after his death in 1873.
To the east, in December 1897 a group of the Angoni or Ngoni
(originally from Zululand) rebelled under Tsinco, son of King Mpezeni
; the rebellion was put down
and Mpezeni accepted the Pax Britannica
. That part of the country then came to be known as North-Eastern Rhodesia
. In 1895, Rhodes asked his American scout Frederick Russell Burnham
to look for minerals and ways to improve river navigation in the region, and it was during this trek that Burnham discovered copper deposits along the Kafue River
North-Eastern Rhodesia and Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia were administered as separate units until 1911 when they were merged to form Northern Rhodesia, a British protectorate. In 1923, the BSA Company ceded control of Northern Rhodesia to the British Government after the government decided not to renew the company's charter.
In 1923, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), a conquered territory which was also administered by the BSA Company, became a self-governing British colony. In 1924, after negotiations, the administration of Northern Rhodesia transferred to the British Colonial Office
In 1953, the creation of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
grouped together Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland
(later Malawi) as a single semi-autonomous region. This was undertaken, with opposition from a minority of the population, who demonstrated against it in 1960–61.
Northern Rhodesia was a center of most of the turmoil and crisis characterizing the federation in its later years. Initially, Harry Nkumbula
's African National Congress
(ANC) led the campaign, which Kenneth Kaunda
's United National Independence Party (UNIP) subsequently took up.
A 2-stage election held in October and December 1962 resulted in an African majority in the legislative council and a coalition between the 2 African nationalist parties. The council passed resolutions calling for Northern Rhodesia's secession from the federation and demanding full internal self-government under a new constitution and a new National Assembly
based on a broader, more democratic franchise.
The federation was dissolved on 31 December 1963, and in January 1964, Kaunda won the only election for Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia. The Colonial Governor
, Sir Evelyn Hone
, urged Kaundal to stand for the post. There was an uprising in the north of the country known as the Lumpa Uprising
led by Alice Lenshina
– Kaunda's first internal conflict as leader of the nation.
Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia on 24 October 1964, with Kenneth Kaunda
as the first president. Domestically, the economy was somewhat dependent on foreign expertise which was provided in part by John Willson CMG
There were over 70,000 Europeans resident in Zambia in 1964.
Kaunda's endorsement of Patriotic Front
guerrillas conducting raids into neighbouring (Southern) Rhodesia
resulted in political tension and a militarisation of the border, leading to its closure in 1973.
The geopolitical situation during the Rhodesian Bush War
in 1965 – countries friendly to the nationalists are coloured orange.
On 3 September 1978, civilian airliner, Air Rhodesia Flight 825
, was shot down near Kariba by the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army
(ZIPRA). 18 people, including children, survived the crash only for most of them to be shot by militants of the Zimbabwe African People's Union
(ZAPU) led by Joshua Nkomo
. Rhodesia responded with Operation Gatling
, an attack on Nkomo's guerilla bases in Zambia, in particular, his military headquarters outside Lusaka; this raid became known as the Green Leader Raid. On the same day, 2 more bases in Zambia were attacked using air power and elite paratroops and helicopter-borne troops.
A railway (TAZARA – Tanzania Zambia Railways) to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam
, completed in 1975 with Chinese assistance, reduced Zambian dependence on railway lines south to South Africa and west through an "increasingly troubled" Portuguese Angola
. Until the completion of the railway, Zambia's major artery for imports and the critical export of copper was along the TanZam Road, running from Zambia to the port cities in Tanzania. The Tazama oil pipeline
was built from Dar es Salaam to Ndola
In the 1970s, the price of copper, Zambia's principal export, witnessed a decline. Zambia turned to foreign and international lenders for relief, and, as copper prices remained depressed, it "became increasingly difficult" to service its growing debt. By the 1990s, with limited debt relief, Zambia's per capita foreign debt remained among the highest in the world.
In June 1990 riots against Kaunda accelerated. Some protesters were killed.
In 1990 Kaunda survived an attempted coup
, and in 1991 he agreed to reinstate multiparty democracy, having instituted 1-party rule under the Choma Commission of 1972. Following multiparty elections, Kaunda was removed from office (see below).
In the 2000s, the economy attained single-digit inflation in 2006–2007, real GDP growth, decreasing interest rates, and increasing levels of trade. Most of its growth is due to foreign investment in mining and to higher world copper prices.
National Assembly building in Lusaka
From 2011 to 2014, Zambia's president had been Michael Sata, until Sata died on 28 October 2014.
After Sata's death, Vice President Guy Scott
, a Zambian of Scottish descent, became acting President of Zambia. Presidential elections were held on 22 January 2015. A total number of 11 presidential candidates contested in the election and On 24 January 2015, it was announced that Edgar Chagwa Lungu
had won the election to become the 6th President. He won 48.33% of the vote, a lead of 1.66% over his closest rival, Hakainde Hichilema
, with 46.67%.
In August 2016 Zambian general election
president Edgar Lungu won re-election in the first round of the election. The opposition had allegations of fraud and the governing Patriotic Front
(PF) rejected the allegations made by opposition UPND party.
In the 2021 general elections
, characterised by a 70% voter turnout, Hakainde Hichilema won 59% of the vote, with his closest rival, incumbent president Edgar Chagwa Lungu, receiving 39% of the vote. 
On 16 August Edgar Lungu conceded in a TV statement, sending a letter and congratulating president-elect Hakainde Hichilema.
On 24 August 2021, Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in as the new President of Zambia
in a ceremony attended by some heads of states including the head of commonwealth it was held at the Heroes Stadium in the capital city Lusaka.
The Zambian Defence Force (ZDF) consists of the Zambia Army (ZA), the Zambia Air Force (ZAF), and the Zambian National Service (ZNS). It is designed primarily against external threats.
It is administratively divided into 10 provinces
subdivided into 117 districts
, and electorally into 156 constituencies and 1,281 wards.
- Central Province
- Eastern Province
- North-Western Province
- Northern Province
- Southern Province
- Western Province
The government has prosecuted critics using the legal pretext that they had incited public disorder
. Libel laws
are used to suppress free speech and the press.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal for males and females.
A 2010 survey revealed that 2% of Zambians find homosexuality to be morally acceptable.
In December 2019, it was reported that United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Lewis Foote
was "horrified" by Zambia's jailing of same-sex couple Japhet Chataba and Steven Samba. After an appeal failed and the couple was sentenced to 15 years in prison, Foote asked the Zambian government to review both the case and the country's anti-homosexuality laws. Foote faced a backlash and canceled public appearances after he was threatened on social media, and was subsequently recalled after President Lungu declared him persona non grata
Note: In censuses carried out during the British colonial administration prior to 1963, the black African population was estimated rather than counted.
Source: Central Statistical Office, Zambia
As of the 2010 Zambian census
, Zambia's population was 13,092,666. Zambia has 73 "distinct ethnic groups". During its colonial administration by the British between 1911 and 1963, the country attracted immigrants from Europe and the Indian subcontinent, the latter of whom came as indentured workers. Most Europeans left after the collapse of white-minority rule.
In a census—conducted on 7 May 1911—there were a total of 1,497 Europeans; 39 Asiatics and an estimated 820,000 black Africans. Black Africans were not counted in the 6 censuses conducted in 1911, 1921, 1931, 1946, 1951 and 1956, prior to independence, and their population was estimated. By 1956, there were 65,277 Europeans, 5,450 Asiatics, and an estimated 2,100,000 black Africans.
Zambia continues to have a population of a historically mixed race group referred to as "Coloured" or Goffal
, a group made up mostly of people with black African and white British heritage (at times Indian heritage). Coloureds have not been recorded on the census since Zambia gained independence in 1964 and have not had the same rights as other groups (read: Goffal
In the 2010 population census, 99.2% were black Africans and 0.8% consisted of other racial groups.
44% of the population concentrated along the transport corridors. The fertility rate was 6.2 as of 2007 (6.1 in 1996, 5.9 in 2001–02).
The onset of industrial copper mining on the Copperbelt in the 1920s triggered more rapid urbanisation.
Mining townships on the Copperbelt dwarfed existing centres of population and continued to grow following Zambian independence. Economic decline in the Copperbelt from the 1970s to the 1990s has altered patterns of urban development, and the country's population remains concentrated around the railway and roads running south from the Copperbelt through Kapiri Mposhi, Lusaka, Choma and Livingstone.
The population includes approximately 73 ethnic groups,
most of which are Bantu
-speaking. Almost 90% of Zambians belong to 9 ethnolinguistic groups: the Nyanja-Chewa
In the rural areas, ethnic groups are concentrated in particular geographic regions. All the ethnic groups can be found in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. In addition to the linguistic dimension, tribal identities are "relevant" in Zambia.
These tribal identities are linked to family allegiance or to traditional authorities. The tribal identities are nested within the "main" language groups.
Tribal and linguistic map
Immigrants, mostly British or South African, and some white Zambian citizens of British descent, live mainly in Lusaka and in the Copperbelt in northern Zambia, where they are either employed in mines, financial and related activities or retired. There were 70,000 Europeans in Zambia in 1964.
Zambia has a population of Indians, concentrated mainly in the capital city and other urban areas. Zambia also has an estimated 80,000 Chinese.
In years, some hundred dispossessed white farmers have left Zimbabwe at the invitation of the Zambian government, to take up farming in the Southern province.
It has a minority of coloureds of mixed race. During colonialism, segregation
separated coloureds, blacks and whites in public places including schools, hospitals, and in housing. There has been an increase in interracial relationships due to Zambia's growing economy importing labor. Coloureds are not recorded on the census and are considered a minority in Zambia.
According to the World Refugee Survey 2009
published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
, Zambia had a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 88,900. The majority of refugees in the country came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (47,300 refugees from the DRC living in Zambia in 2007), Angola (27,100; see Angolans in Zambia
), Zimbabwe (5,400) and Rwanda (4,900).
Zambia is officially a Christian nation under the 1996 constitution, while recognizes and protects freedom of religion.
Some self-identified Christians blend elements of traditional African religion with their faith.
Christianity arrived to Zambia through missionary work in the second half of the 19th century, and its variety of sects and movements reflect changing patterns of missionary activity; for example, Catholicism came from Portuguese Mozambique in the east, while Anglicanism reflects British influences from the south. Following its independence in 1964, Zambia saw a greater influx of other church missions from across the world, particularly North America and Germany. In subsequent decades, Western missionary roles have been assumed by native believers (except for some technical positions such as physicians). After Frederick Chiluba
, a Pentecostal Christian, became president in 1991, Pentecostal congregations expanded more around the country.
The community of Seventh-day Adventists
, on a per-capita basis, accounts for about 1 in 18 Zambians.
The Lutheran Church of Central Africa
has over 11,000 members in the country.
Counting only active preachers, Jehovah's Witnesses who have been present in Zambia since 1911
have over 190,000 adherents; nearly 800,000 attended the annual observance of Christ's death in 2021.
About 12% of Zambians are members of the New Apostolic Church;
with more than 1.2 million believers, the country has the third-largest community in Africa, out of a total worldwide membership of over 9 million.
Not including indigenous beliefs, non-Christian faiths total less than 3% of the population. Followers of the Baháʼí Faith
number over 160,000,
or 1.5% of the population; the William Mmutle Masetlha Foundation run by the Baháʼí community is particularly active in areas such as literacy and primary health care. Approximately 0.5% of Zambians are Muslim
, and a similar proportion are Hindu
, in each case concentrated more in urban areas.
About 500 people belong to the Ahmadiyya
community which is variably considered an Islamic movement or a heretical sect.
There is a Jewish community composed mostly of Ashkenazis
Some texts claim that Zambia has 73 languages and/or dialects; this figure is probably due to a non-distinction between language and dialect, based on the criterion of mutual intelligibility. On this basis, the number of Zambian languages would probably be about 20 or 30.
Widely spoken languages Bemba - 33.5 Nyanja - 14.8 Tonga - 10.4 Tumbuka - 5.8 Lozi - 4.2 other - 30.3
Density map of dominant regional languages
Urbanisation has had an effect on some of the indigenous languages, including the assimilation of words from other languages. Urban dwellers sometimes differentiate between urban and rural dialects of the same language by prefixing the rural languages with 'deep'.
Some will thus speak Bemba and Nyanja in the Copperbelt; Nyanja is spoken in Lusaka and Eastern Zambia. English is used in official communications and is the language of choice at home among – now common – interethnic families. This evolution of languages has led to Zambian slang heard throughout Lusaka and other cities. The majority of Zambians "usually speak more than one language": the official language, English, and the "most spoken language" in the town or area they live in. Portuguese has been introduced as a second language into the school curriculum due to the presence of a Portuguese-speaking Angolan community.
French is studied in private schools, while some secondary schools have it as an optional subject. A German course has been introduced at the University of Zambia
The right to equal and adequate education for all is enshrined within the Zambian constitution.
The Education Act of 2011 regulates equal and quality education.
The Ministry of General Education effectively oversees the provision of quality education through policy and regulation of the education curriculum.
Fundamentally, an aim of education is to promote the "full and well-rounded development of the physical, intellectual, social, affective, moral, and spiritual qualities of all learners". The education system has 3 core structures: Early childhood education and primary education (Grades 1–7), secondary education (Grades 8–12), and tertiary education. Adult-literacy programs are available for semi-literate and illiterate individuals.
The government's annual expenditure on education has increased over the years, from 16.1% in 2006 to 20.2% in 2015.
It is experiencing a generalised HIV/AIDS
epidemic, with a national HIV prevalence rate
of 12.10% among adults.
The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS for adults aged 15–49 decreased to 13% in 2013/14, compared to 16% roughly a decade earlier.
The maternal mortality rate in 2014 was 398 per 100,000 live births, compared to 591 in 2007; over the same period, the mortality rate of children under 5 dropped to 75 from 119 per 1,000 live births.
A proportional representation of Zambia exports, 2019
Zambia averages between $7.5 billion and $8 billion of exports annually.
It totaled $9.1 billion worth of exports in 2018.
In 2015, about 54.4% of Zambians lived below the recognised national poverty line, improved from 60.5% in 2010.
Rural poverty rates were about 76.6% and urban rates at about 23.4%.
The national poverty line was ZMK 214 (USD 12.85) per month.
It ranked 117th out of 128 countries on the 2007 Global Competitiveness Index
which looks at factors that affect economic growth.
In the same index in 2019 Zambia slipped in ranking to 19th place in Africa and120th globally
. As of 2020 Zambia ranks 7th in Ease of Doing Business
in Africa and 85th out of 190 countries globally. Social indicators continue to decline, particularly in measurements of life expectancy at birth (about 40.9 years) and maternal mortality (830 per 100,000 pregnancies).
After international copper prices declined in the 1970s, the socialist regime made up for falling revenue with abortive attempts at International Monetary Fund structural adjustment
programs (SAPs). The policy of not trading through the main supply route and line of rail to the sea – the territory was known as Rhodesia (from 1965 to 1979), and later known as Zimbabwe – cost the economy. After the Kaunda regime, (from 1991) successive governments began limited reforms. The economy "stagnated" until the 1990s. In 2007 Zambia recorded its 9th consecutive year of economic growth. Inflation was 8.9%, down from 30% in 2000.
Export Treemap (2014)
Zambia is dealing with economic reform issues such as the size of the public sector, and improving Zambia's social sector delivery systems.
The bureaucratic procedures surrounding the process of obtaining licences encourages the use of facilitation payments.
Zambia's total foreign debt exceeded $6 billion when the country qualified for Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative
(HIPC) debt relief in 2000, contingent upon meeting certain performance criteria. Initially, Zambia hoped to reach the HIPC completion point, and benefit from substantial debt forgiveness, in 2003.
GDP per capita (current), compared to neighbouring countries (world average = 100)
In January 2003, the Zambian government informed the International Monetary Fund and World Bank
that it wished to renegotiate some of the agreed performance criteria calling for privatisation of the Zambia National Commercial Bank and the national telephone and electricity utilities. While agreements were reached on these issues, subsequent overspending on civil service wages delayed Zambia's final HIPC debt forgiveness from 2003 to 2005, at the earliest. In an effort to reach HIPC completion in 2004, the government drafted an austerity budget for 2004, freezing civil service salaries and increasing the number of taxes. The tax hike and public sector wage freeze prohibited salary increases and new hires. This sparked a nationwide strike in February 2004.
It is pursuing an economic diversification program to reduce the economy's reliance on the copper industry. This initiative seeks to exploit other components of Zambia's resource base by promoting agriculture, tourism, gemstone mining, and hydro-power. In July 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
and Zambia's President Edgar Lungu signed 12 agreements in capital Lusaka on areas ranging from trade and investment to tourism and diplomacy.
The economy has historically been based on the copper mining
industry. The output of copper had fallen to 228,000 metric tons in 1998 after a 30-year decline in output due to "lack of investment, low copper prices, and uncertainty over privatisation". In 2002, following the privatisation of the industry, copper production rebounded to 337,000 metric tons. Improvements in the world copper market have magnified the effect of this volume increase on revenues and foreign exchange earnings.
The major Nkana open copper mine, Kitwe
In 2003, exports of nonmetals increased by 25% and accounted for 38% of all export earnings, previously 35%. The Zambian government has[when?]
been granting licenses to international resource companies to prospect for minerals such as nickel, tin, copper, and uranium.
It hopes that nickel will take over from copper as the country's top metallic export.
In 2009, Zambia was hit by the world economic crisis
A number of white Zimbabwean farmers
were welcomed into Zambia after their expulsion by Robert Mugabe, whose numbers had reached roughly 150 to 300 people as of 2004.
They farm a variety of crops including tobacco, wheat, and chili peppers on an estimated 150 farms. The skills they brought, combined with general economic liberalisation under the president Levy Mwanawasa
, has been credited with stimulating an agricultural boom. In 2004, for the first time in 26 years, Zambia exported more corn than it imported.
In December 2019, the government unanimously decided to legalize cannabis for medicinal and export purposes only.
In 2009, Zambia generated 10.3 TWh of electricity.
early 2015, it began experiencing an energy shortage due to the poorer 2014/2015 rain season which resulted in lower water levels at the Kariba dam and other dams.
In September 2019, African Green Resources (AGR) announced that it would invest $150 million in 50 megawatt (MW) solar farm, along with irrigation dam and expanding the existing grain silo capacity by 80,000 tonnes.
Prior to the establishment of the republic, some inhabitants lived in tribes. A result of the colonial era was the growth of urbanisation. Ethnic groups started living together in towns and cities, influencing each other's way of life. They started adopting aspects of global or universal culture, including in terms of dressing and mannerisms.
Some cultures have survived in rural areas, with some outside influences such as Christianity. Cultures that are specific to certain ethnic groups within Zambia are known as 'Zambian cultures' while those lifestyles that are "common" across ethnic groups are labelled "Zambian culture" because they "are practiced by almost every Zambian".
sculpture, 19th century.
Some ceremonies and rituals are performed on occasions celebrating or marking achievements, anniversaries, the passage of time, coronations and presidential occasions, atonement and purification, graduation, dedication, oaths of allegiance, initiation, marriage, funeral, birth ceremonies and others.
Among the disclosed ceremonies and rituals include calendrical or seasonal, contingent, affliction, divination, initiation and regular or daily ceremonies.
Undisclosed ceremonies include those practiced in secret such by spiritual groups like Nyau and Nakisha dancers and marriage counsellors such as alangizi women.
As of December 2016, Zambia had 77 calendrical or seasonal traditional ceremonies recognized by government.
The ceremonies once a year include Nc’wala, Kulonga, Kuoboka, Malaila, Nsengele, Chibwela kumushi, Dantho, Ntongo, Makundu, Lwiindi, Chuungu, and Lyenya. These are known as Zambian traditional ceremonies
. Some others are: Kuomboka
(Western Province), Mutomboko
(Luapula Province), Kulamba
(Eastern Province), Lwiindi
(Southern Province), Lunda Lubanza
(North Western), Likumbi Lyamize
(North Western), Mbunda Lukwakwa
(North Western Province), Chibwela Kumushi
(Central Province), Vinkhakanimba
(Muchinga Province), Ukusefya Pa Ng'wena
Arts include pottery, basketry (such as Tonga baskets
), stools, fabrics, mats, wooden carvings, ivory carvings, wire craft, and copper crafts. Most Zambian traditional music
is based on drums (and other percussion instruments) with singing and dancing. In urban areas, foreign genres of music include Congolese rumba
, African-American music and Jamaican reggae.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services in Zambia is responsible for the Zambian News Agency
, while there are media outlets throughout the country which include; television stations, newspapers, FM radio stations, and Internet news websites.
Sports and games
Sports and games are social aspects of culture(s) that brings people together for "learning, development of skills, fun and joyous moments".
They include and not limited to football, athletics, netball, volleyball and indigenous games such as nsolo, chiyenga, waida, hide and seek, walyako, and sojo.
The games are considered to be social and edutainment events.
Zambia took part in global sports and games in 1964 Summer olympics.
The country declared its independence on the day of the closing ceremony of the 1964 Summer Olympics
, thereby becoming the first country ever to have entered an Olympic game as 1 country, and leave it as another. In 2016, Zambia participated for the 13th time in the Olympic games. 2 medals were won. The medals were won successively in boxing and on the track. In 1984 Keith Mwila won a bronze medal in the light flyweight. In 1996 Samuel Matete won a silver medal in the 400-metre hurdles.
Until 2014, the Roan Antelope Rugby Club in Luanshya held the Guinness World Record for the tallest rugby union goal posts in the world at 110 ft, 6 inches high.
This world record is now held by the Wednesbury Rugby Club
In 2011, Zambia was due to host the tenth All-Africa Games
for which 3 stadiums were to be built in Lusaka
, and Livingstone
The government was encouraging the private sector to get involved in the construction of the sports facilities because of a shortage of public funds for the project. Zambia later withdrew its bid to host the 2011 All-Africa Games, citing a lack of funds.
Music and dance
There is an uprising of cultural villages and private museums. The music which introduced dance is part of a cultural expression and embodies an aspect of life, from the "intricacies of the talking drums" to the Kamangu
drum used to announce the beginning of Malaila
ceremony. Dance as a practice "serves as a unifying factor bringing the people together as one".
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