Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to Zambia: Zimbabwe, Gabon


Zambia (zămˈbēə), officially Republic of Zambia, republic (2015 est. pop. 15,066,000), 290,584 sq mi (752,614 sq km), central Africa. It borders on Congo (Kinshasa) in the north, on Tanzania in the northeast, on Malawi and Mozambique in the east, on Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia in the south, and on Angola in the west. Lusaka is the capital and largest city.

Land and People

Zambia is largely made up of a highland plateau, which rises in the east. The elevation there ranges from c.3,000 to 5,000 ft (915–1,520 m), and higher altitudes are attained in the Muchinga Mts., where Zambia's highest point (c.7,120 ft/2,170 m) is located. Also in E Zambia are Lake Bangweulu, parts of lakes Mweru and Tanganyika, and the Luangwa and Chambeshi rivers. The Zambezi River drains much of the western part of the country (where the elevation is c.1,500–3,000 ft/460–910 m) and forms a large part of Zambia's southern boundary. The impressive Victoria Falls and the huge Lake Kariba (formed by Kariba Dam), both on the border with Zimbabwe, are part of the Zambezi in the south. The Kafue River drains W central Zambia, including the Copperbelt in the north. There are several large swamps, or flats, in Zambia, which are noted for their concentration of wildlife. The country also has numerous national parks, but their emphasis is on tourism rather than preservation. In addition to Lusaka, other cities include Chingola, Kabwe, Kitwe, Livingstone, Luanshya, Mufulira, Nchanga, Ndola, and Nkana.

The country's population is made up almost entirely of members of several Bantu ethnic and linguistic groups. English is the official language, and approximately 75 African languages and dialects are spoken, including Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, and Tonga. Some 50% to 75% of the population is Christian, while Muslims and Hindus make up between 24% and 49%; a small percentage follow traditional African beliefs. The greatest population density is found in the Copperbelt and the central provinces.


Some 85% of Zambians work the country's relatively infertile soil as subsistence farmers; commercial agriculture is mostly confined to a small number of large farms. The leading crops are corn, sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds, vegetables, flowers, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cassava, and coffee. Cattle, goats, pigs, and poultry are raised. There is a small fishing industry.

The mining and refining of copper constitutes by far the largest industry in the country and is concentrated in the cities of the Copperbelt. Cobalt, zinc, lead, emeralds, gold, silver, coal, and uranium are also mined. Industries include food and beverage processing, construction, horticulture, and the manufacture of chemicals, textiles, and fertilizer. Most of Zambia's energy is supplied by hydroelectric plants, especially the one at Kariba Dam.

Copper, cobalt, electricity, emeralds, tobacco, flowers, and cotton are the main exports. The principal imports are machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer, foodstuffs, and clothing. The leading trade partners are South Africa, Switzerland, and Great Britain.


Zambia is governed under the constitution of 1991 as amended. The president, who is both head of state and head of government, is popularly elected for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The unicameral legislature consists of the 158-seat National Assembly; 150 members are elected by popular vote and eight are appointed by the president. All legislators serve five-year terms. Administratively, Zambia is divided into nine provinces.


Early History to the Nineteenth Century

Some Bantu-speaking peoples (probably including the ancestors of the Tonga) reached the region by c.A.D. 800, but the ancestors of most of modern Zambia's ethnic groups arrived from present-day Angola and Congo (Kinshasa) between the 16th and 18th cent. By the late 18th cent. traders (including Arabs, Swahili, and other Africans) had penetrated the region from both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts; they exported copper, wax, and slaves. In 1835 the Ngoni, a warlike group from S Africa, entered E Zambia. At about the same time the Kololo penetrated W Zambia from the south, and they ruled the Lozi kingdom of Barotseland (see Western Province from 1838 to 1864.

The Colonial Period

The Scottish explorer David Livingstone first came to the area that is now Zambia in 1851; he visited Victoria Falls in 1855, and in 1873 he died near Lake Bangweulu. In 1890 agents of Cecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company signed treaties with several African leaders, including Lewanika, the Lozi king, and proceeded to administer the region. The area was divided into the protectorates of Northwestern and Northeastern Rhodesia until 1911, when the two were joined to form Northern Rhodesia.

The mining of copper and lead began in the early 1900s. By 1909 the central railroad from Livingstone to Ndola had been completed and about 1,500 Europeans had settled in the country. In 1924 the British took over the administration of the protectorate. In the late 1920s extensive copper deposits were discovered in what soon became known as the Copperbelt, and by the late 1930s about 4,000 European skilled workers and some 20,000 African laborers were engaged there. The Africans protested the discrimination and ill treatment to which they were subjected by staging strikes in 1935, 1940, and 1956. They were not allowed to form unions but did organize self-help groups that brought together persons of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

In 1946, delegates from these groups met in Lusaka and formed the Federation of African Welfare Societies, the first protectorate-wide African movement; in 1948 this organization was transformed into the Northern Rhodesia African Congress. In the early 1950s, under the leadership of Harry Nkumbula, it fought strenuously, if unsuccessfully, against the establishment of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953–63), which combined Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and Nyasaland (now Malawi). The booming copper industry had attracted about 72,000 whites to Northern Rhodesia by 1958, and the blacks there experienced increasing white domination.

Independence and Kaunda

Kenneth Kaunda, a militant former schoolteacher, took over the leadership of the Africans from the more moderate Nkumbula and in 1959 formed a new party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP). Following a massive civil disobedience campaign in 1962, Africans were given a larger voice in the affairs of the protectorate; there was also agitation for greater autonomy for Barotseland in the early 1960s. On Oct. 24, 1964, Northern Rhodesia became independent as the Republic of Zambia, with Kaunda as its first president; he was reelected in 1968 and 1973. The main problems faced by Kaunda in the first decade of independence were uniting Zambia's diverse peoples, reducing European control of the economy, and coping with white-dominated Southern Rhodesia (which unilaterally declared its independence as Rhodesia in Nov., 1965).

European economic influence in Zambia was reduced by increasing the number of trained Zambians, by diversifying the country's economy, and (from 1969) by the government's acquisition of a 51% interest in most major firms (especially mining and banking companies). Barotseland had become part of Zambia through the Barotseland agreement in 1964, which preserved some of Barotseland's autonomy, but that autonomy was subsequently lost, and separatist sentiment in Barotseland continued into the 1970s.

Zambia joined Great Britain and other countries in applying economic sanctions against white-ruled Rhodesia in 1965. It discontinued transporting goods via rail through Rhodesia to the seaport of Beira in Mozambique. Instead, overseas trade items were transported to and from the seaport of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, by plane and by truck (via the Great North Road). A petroleum pipeline between Dar es Salaam and Ndola was opened in 1968, and, with the help of China, the Tazara Railway (also known as the Great Uhuru or Tanzam Railway) connecting Dar es Salaam and Zambia was opened in 1975. In addition, the country halted imports of coal (used especially in the copper industry) from Rhodesia; mining in S Zambia increased until it supplied most of the country's needs. The Rhodesian army pressured Zambia to lift the sanctions by destroying parts of Zambia's transportation network. Zimbabwean independence was finally won in 1980. Throughout the 1970s Kaunda had combined his support of liberation movements in Rhodesia as well as Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa with the encouragement of diplomatic solutions—the approach favored by the West.

Beginning in the late 1960s Kaunda faced formidable opposition from political and student groups protesting the growing concentration of power in his hands. In 1972 all political parties except UNIP were outlawed and Zambia became a one-party state. Kaunda's frequent shuffling of the cabinet prevented a strong political rival from emerging, and he ran for reelection unopposed in 1978.

During the 1970s, the economic sanctions against Rhodesia and a drop in copper prices had put Zambia's economy under severe strain. In the 1980s, as a condition for future aid, Kaunda was forced by foreign creditors to introduce economic austerity measures. Shortages of basic goods, cuts in food subsidies, and unemployment led to rioting and strikes. Meanwhile, popular calls were heard for multiparty rule. In 1986, South Africa launched raids against Zambia and other neighboring countries, targeting camps that were suspected of being used by the African National Congress.

A New Regime

In 1990 another round of austerity measures sparked more unrest, and Kaunda was the target of a coup attempt. In the same year the constitution was amended to allow opposition parties. In 1991, Frederick Chiluba, a trade unionist who promised both political and economic reform for Zambia, overwhelmed Kaunda in the presidential election, and Chiluba's Movement for Multiparty Democracy party (MMD) won the majority of seats in the parliament. A coup allegedly plotted by the opposition led to a brief state of emergency in 1993.

Chiluba's economic reforms, including plans for privatizing the copper industry, initially resulted in better relations with foreign-aid donors, and economic conditions improved somewhat, but Zambia continued to be burdened by a large international debt. Chiluba was reelected in 1996, after parliament passed a constitutional amendment preventing Kaunda from running again. Following a 1997 coup attempt, Chiluba again declared a state of emergency. Numerous opposition leaders and military officers were arrested, including Kaunda, who was freed in 1998 and announced his intention to retire from politics.

By the end of the 20th cent., the standard of living in Zambia was about half what it had been in the mid-1960s, before copper prices began falling. Unemployment and inflation were high, and the country was threatened by the unprecedented prevalance of deadly AIDS/HIV infections. In May, 2001, Chiluba abandoned a bid for a third term in office; it would have required changing the constitution's two-term limit. Chiluba's attempt to change the constitution had provoked a political crisis, both within the country and within his own party.

In the December elections the MMD candidate, Levy Mwanawasa, was elected with less than 30% of the vote; the badly divided opposition also failed to win control of the national assembly. Opposition leaders rejected the victories, charging vote rigging, and some international monitors described the poll as seriously flawed. The country's supreme court, however, ultimately rejected (2005) opposition challenges to the election. Although Mwanawasa was originally viewed as Chiluba's protégé, he embarked on an anticorruption campaign that led to charges against Chiluba and others in the preceding government. Mwanawasa's anticorruption moves also resulted in the dismissal of his vice president and finance minister. A resulting attempt to challenge Mwanawasa's leadership of the MMD was easily defeated in July, 2005.

Meanwhile, the president rejected (Feb., 2005) a draft constitution submitted by a commission he had appointed in 2002; churches and civic and opposition groups supported the changes, foremost among them the requirement that a candidate receive more than 50% of the vote to be elected president. A new draft, which still contained that requirement and other recommendations, was submitted before the end of the year, but Mwanawasa said that it could not be adopted before the 2006 presidential election. In the September presidential vote Mwanawasa won reelection with 43% of the vote after trailing early in the campaign. The opposition accused the president of stealing the election, and there were some clashes between opposition supporters and police after the election. The MMD also secured a narrow majority in the national assembly.

In Nov., 2006, former president Chiluba's corruption trial, which had stalled because of his ill health, was officially suspended, and he was permitted to travel (December) to South Africa for medical treatment. However, a case brought in Great Britain, in which the Zambian government sued Chiluba and 19 other people to regain assets in Europe that the government asserted had been acquired through corruption, continued, and in May, 2007, the British court order the 20 defendants to repay $46 million. That same month, a Zambian court ordered Chiluba's trial to resume.

Meanwhile, opposition leader and Patriotic Front (PF) presidential candidate Michael Sata, who had placed second in the 2006 presidential election, was charged in Dec., 2006, with false declaration of his assets prior to the election. Sata denounced the charges as politically motivated, and they were soon dismissed. In June, 2008, President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke; he died in late August. Vice President Rupiah Banda succeeded him as acting president. Banda was elected president in October, narrowly defeating Sata; Hakainde Hichilema was a distant third. Sata again charged the victor with fraud, but southern African observers called the voting free and fair. In Aug., 2009, former president Chiluba was acquitted of corruption. The Sept., 2011, elections ended the MMD's 20 year hold on the presidency when Sata won the office with 43% of the vote, defeating Banda, Hichilema, and others. The PF also won a plurality of the national assembly seats. In Oct., 2014, Sata died and was succeeded on an interim basis by Vice President Guy Scott, an economist born to Scottish parents. Sata's death also led to a split within the PF between a faction aligned with Scott, who was ineligible to run for president, and one aligned with Defense Minister Edgar Lungu, who was chosen by the party's central committee as the PF's presidential candidate. Lungu won the Jan., 2015, special election, edging out opposition candidate Hichilema.

The early 21st cent. saw a revival of a desire for independence or autnonomy in the former Barotseland (now Western Province); the Zambian government was criticized by the Lozi (or Barotse) for not honoring the 1964 treaty that led to Barotseland's incorporation into Zambia. In 2012 traditional Lozi leaders in the Bartoseland National Council called for the area to pursue its own self-determination. Barotseland's traditional royal household supported the call for autonomy, which was denounced by the Zambian government and not supported by some of the other ethnic groups in the region.

The Aug., 2016, presidential election largely duplicated the 2015 special election. Lungu narrowly won more than 50% of the vote, but Hichilema's party accused the electoral commission of reducing its candidate's vote. Hichilema was charged with sedition in October after allegedly telling a crowd not to recognize Lungu as president. In Apr., 2017, he was charged with treason for allegedly obstructing Lungu's motorcade and jailed, but the charges were dropped in August. In July, 2017, after a series of arson fires that Lungu blamed on the opposition, the parliament approved a 90-day state of emergency.


See B. M. Fagan, Iron Age Cultures in Zambia (2 vol., 1967–69) and A Short History of Zambia (1968); M. Bostock and C. Harvey, ed., Economic Independence and Zambian Copper (1972); A. A. Beveridge and A. R. Oberschall, African Businessmen and Development in Zambia (1980); A. M. Bliss and J. A. Rigg, Zambia (1984); M. M. Burdette, Zambia (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Republic of Zambia), a state in central Africa, located in the heart of the continent, more than 1,000 km from the coasts of the Atlantic and Indian oceansIt is a member of the British Commonwealth. Zambia is bounded on the north by Zaïre and Tanzania, on the east by Malawi, on the south-east by Mozambique, on the south by Southern Rhodesia, on the southwest by Botswana and Namibia, and on the west by Angola. Area, 752,600 sq km. Population, 4.3 million (1970, estimate). The capital is Lusaka. Administratively, Zambia is divided into eight provinces, which are subdivided into districts.

Constitution and government. Zambia is a republic. The present constitution went into effect on Aug. 25,4973. The president, who is head of state, is elected by universal direct suffrage to a five-year term. The only presidential candidate is the chairman of the United National Independence Party (one-party participatory democracy), who is elected at the party’s general conference. The president is commander in chief of the armed forces and has the power to appoint and remove members of the government, to dissolve parliament, and to make civil and military appointments.

To assist the president a consultative body, the House of Chiefs, consisting of 37 members, is elected by provincial councils of chiefs to a three-year term.

The highest legislative body is the unicameral parliament (National Assembly), of which 125 members are elected by universal direct elections and ten may be appointed by the president. The term of office of the National Assembly is five years.

The government of Zambia—the cabinet—consists of the secretary general of the United National Independence Party, who is a member of the government by virtue of his office, the prime minister, and the ministers appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly. All citizens who have reached the age of 18 may vote.

Provinces are headed by cabinet ministers and districts by governors, who are also the chairmen of district party organizations. In the cities and rural areas there are elected organs of self-government: municipal, city, and local councils.

The judicial system is composed of the Supreme Court (the court of highest instance), the High Court, and provincial and local courts.


Natural features. Zambia occupies a plateau with a uniform, slightly undulating surface, above whose general level inselbergs and mountain ranges rise at great distances from each other. Most of the country lies at an altitude of 1,000–1,350m. Characteristic are vast flat depressions, the largest of which are of tectonic origin, forming a part of the East African Rift Zone (Bangweulu Depression, Luangwa Trough). Along the western rim of the Central African Trough rise the horst Muchinga Mountains, whose Mumpu Peak (1,893 m) is the highest in the country.

Zambia has large reserves of copper ore, concentrated in the Copperbelt, formed by alternating layers of sandstone, shale, and dolomite of the Katanga system; mineralization occurs in the dolomite. The copper ore is associated with cobalt and other metals; there are also zinc, lead, vanadium, cadmium, manganese ore, and coal.

The climate is subequatorial, with three distinct seasons: hot and dry (August-October), warm and wet (November-April), and dry and cool (May-July). Average temperatures in the hottest month (October) range from 23° to 27°C and in the coldest (July), from 15°C in the south to 20°C in the north. The amount of precipitation (most frequently occurring in the form of tropical downpours) depends on the terrain. In the valleys of the Luangwa River and of the middle course of the Zambezi annual precipitation is 600–800 mm; the eastern part of the plateau and the center of the country receive 800–1,000 mm annually and the watershed Lunda Plateau, 1,000–1,400 mm.

There is a dense river system. Almost all the rivers drain the Zambezi basin (the largest tributaries are the Kafue and the Luangwa); only the rivers of the extreme north belong to the Congo basin. The rivers have a generally calm current, but there are many rapids and waterfalls, the largest of which is Victoria Falls. Only sections of the rivers are navigable. Among the many lakes are Bangweulu, the southern extremity of Lake Tanganyika, the eastern part of Lake Mweru, and other smaller lakes.

In the wet regions are found the red lateritic soils of seasonally wet tropical forests and tall grass savannas. They give way in the drier regions to the brownish red or reddish brown soils of xerophytic tropical forests and dry savannas. Reddish brown meadowland soils are found in the river valleys.

About half of the country is covered by miombo, a dry tropical woodland with sparse stands of various species of Brachystegia, Julbernardia, and other trees, and by grasses. In the dry regions there is an acacia savanna with baobab and in the Luangwa and Zambezi valleys a park savanna. On the shores of the lakes are thickets of papyrus.

Zambia is part of the East African subregion of the Ethiopian zoogeographical region. The miombo and savannas are inhabited by large herbivorous animals, including the African elephant, African buffalo, rhinoceroses (two species), antelopes, and zebra and by such predators as lions, leopards, jackals, and hyenas. The vast Kafue National Park and the Luangwa Valley Game Preserve have been created to protect these animals. There are many birds and reptiles, including the Nile crocodile and various poisonous snakes (cobras, adders). The rivers and lakes abound in fish (tilapia, tylo chromis), and termites, mosquitoes, and the tsetse fly are widespread.


Population. About 98 percent of the population of Zambia is made up of the numerous indigenous peoples who by ethnolinguistic classification belong to various groups of the Bantu family. To the central Bantu group belong the Bemba (inhabiting the northern and northeastern regions) and the Tonga (in the southern regions), to the eastern group the Chewa and Ngoni (in the eastern regions), to the western group the Balunda, Baluyana, and Bankoya (in the western and northwestern regions), and to the southeastern group the Lozi (in the southwestern regions). Around these are grouped various related peoples. English and Afrikaners predominate among the population of European origin; there are also immigrants from Hindustan. The official language is English, and the main local languages are Bemba, Tonga, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, and Nyanja. Almost three-fourths of the indigenous population adheres to local traditional beliefs (the cult of ancestors and animism), and there are some syncretic sects. There are about 900,000 Christians, more than half of them Catholic and the rest Protestant. The Gregorian calendar is the official calendar.

The natural growth rate of the population is 3 percent annually. About two-thirds of the gainfully employed population is engaged in small-scale agriculture. Hired labor in 1969 (excluding Africans engaged in small-scale farming) amounted to 357,000 persons, of whom 327,000 were Africans. Of these 55,000 (49,000 Africans) worked in mining, 36,000 (34,000 Africans) in manufacturing, 60,000 (57,000 Af-ricans) in construction, 40,000 (39,000 Africans) in agriculture, and 35,000 (28,000 Africans) in commerce. A large part of the male population migrates in search of work. The greatest number of migrants come from the Central and Eastern provinces (where there was large-scale expropriation of land during the colonial period) and from the Northern Province and Luapula, where subsistence agriculture predominates. The migrants work in Southern Rhodesia, the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Zaïre and the United Republic of Tanzania. The overall population density is 5.7 per sq km. In the regions of major urban and rural settlements—the Copperbelt and the Barotse plain—population density reaches 50 per sq km and in some localities as much as 200 per sq km; over 90 percent of the urban and 70 percent of the rural population is concentrated in these regions. On the Lunda plateau (in the arid valleys of the Luangwa) and along the middle course of the Zambezi River, population density falls to one per sq km.

There are 18 cities with a total population of 1.1 million (1969 census), including the capital, Lusaka (population, 238,000). About two-thirds of the total urban population lives in the seven cities of the Copperbelt. After independence (1964) the growth of cities was promoted by the abolition of legal restrictions imposed during the colonial period on the settlement of Africans and their families in the cities.

Historical survey. The territory of present-day Zambia has been inhabited by people since ancient times. Near Kabwe remains of fossil man have been found (Broken Hill man). The ethnic composition of the population was strongly influenced by the migrations of the African people across the basin of the upper reaches of the Zambezi River—from which is derived the present name of the country. In the 17th and early 18th century, the disintegration of the primitive communal system was almost complete among a number of tribes of the Bantu language group inhabiting the territory of Zambia (the Barotse, Bemba, Angoni, and Tonga), making it possible for them to dominate the other, smaller ethnic groups.

Europeans, first the Portuguese and later the English, arrived in Zambia at the end of the 18th century. From the late 1880’s it was governed by the British South African Company, headed by C. Rhodes.

The country was originally divided into two territories, Northwestern and Northeastern Rhodesia, but in 1911 it was unified to form Northern Rhodesia (as it was called until 1964). The English government recognized the company’s right to govern Northern Rhodesia and to exploit its natural resources. In 1924, Northern Rhodesia was proclaimed a British protectorate; the company received monetary compensation from the British government and retained the rights to exploit the mineral resources. With the discovery of larger copper deposits in the country and the beginning of copper mining, particularly after the 1920’s, the British colonial authorities and the company began to expropriate the Africans’ land. The best land was parceled out to European colonists; large tracts of land suitable for cultivation were not used, constituting a reserve for colonization. The Africans who were driven off their land were resettled in regions that were unsuited for agriculture, where the colonial authorities created so-called reservations. The reservations served as a source of labor; migrant workers were primarily employed in the copper mines.

Organized opposition to the colonial regime in Northern Rhodesia was linked to the formation of a working class, principally in the copper-mining region. Mass strikes occurred here in 1935 and 1940. The liberation struggle in Northern Rhodesia intensified after World War II (1939–45).

In 1948 the first political party was founded—the African National Congress (ANC; prior to 1951, the Northern Rhodesia Congress) and in 1949, the Northern Rhodesia African Mine Workers’ Union. There was fierce opposition to the British plan to unite Northern and Southern Rhodesia with Nyasaland, aimed at strengthening British domination in these three possessions and more effectively exploiting their human and natural resources. The first political strike in the history of Northern Rhodesia (April 1953) was in protest against the unification plan. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was, however, created in September 1953. The popular movement for Northern Rhodesia’s secession from the federation and for independence took on a wider scope in the early 1960’s, including strikes (the largest occurring in May 1962 when 30,000 miners struck for three weeks), a “civil disobedience” campaign, and peasant riots. The struggle was led by the United National Independence Party (UNIP), founded in 1959 by the most radical members of the ANC, who had left the party in 1958 under the leadership of

K. Kaunda. In January 1964, Northern Rhodesia achieved autonomy in internal affairs, and on Oct. 24, 1964, the independent Republic of Zambia was proclaimed.

The government of independent Zambia declared the basic principles of its internal policies to be “the building in Zambia of a humane and democratic society,” and the raising of the living standard of the population. However, the development of the country has been complicated by the continued strong position of foreign capital in its economy, as well as by the fact that the traditional lines of communication connecting Zambia with the world primarily pass through Rhodesia and other territories under the colonial yoke. In 1968 the government began to take measures aimed at limiting the activity of foreign capital in Zambia and at strengthening the country’s economy (see below: Economic geography).

In accordance with the Constitution of 1973, Zambia was proclaimed a one-party state. Its foreign policy rests on the principle of positive neutrality. In international organizations (the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, UNESCO, and others) Zambia has opposed imperialism, colonialism, and racism and advocated the political boycott of the racist regime of Rhodesia and the use of force to abolish it.

On Oct. 30, 1964, diplomatic relations were established between Zambia and the USSR. Zambia concluded an agreement with the USSR for cultural cooperation in 1966 and an agreement for economic and technical cooperation in 1967, under which the USSR has been aiding Zambia in education, public health, and electrification. A trade agreement was concluded in 1971.


Political parties, trade unions, and other social organizations. The United National Independence Party, founded in 1959, has been the ruling party since 1964. All other parties were banned in 1973. The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions, founded in 1965, belongs to the All-African Trade Union Federation. There is also the National Student Union of Zambia.

Economic geography. Zambia inherited from the colonialists a one-sided economy completely oriented to the production of copper for the world market. All other branches of the economy were directly or indirectly subordinated to the copper industry, which was owned by two very large companies belonging to English, American, and South African capitalists. In 1968, of the 978 million kwachas of gross domestic product (in market prices), the mining industry, including the smelting of nonferrous metals, accounted for nearly 40% (398 million kwachas); commerce, 11.5 percent; manufacturing, 9.4 percent; construction, 7 percent; and agriculture, only 6.3 percent (with commodity output totaling less than one-third). Money transfers abroad, not including reinvestments and the wages of people residing in Zambia amounted to about 60 million kwachas.

In its first years, sovereign Zambia set out to achieve economic independence. The government of Zambia was able to make foreign companies pay it rent for the mines and to acquire 51 percent of the shares of the copper mining companies. Large appropriations have been made for transport and power engineering in order to eliminate dependence on the racist authorities of Southern Rhodesia and on the Portuguese colonial administration, for the production of Zambia’s mining industry is shipped through Southern Rhodesia to ports in Mozambique. The development of the manufacturing industry and of African farming is bringing about an improvement in the structure of the economy.

INDUSTRY. Zambia is one of the leading countries in the capitalist world in copper reserves. The extraction of copper is concentrated at the major mines of Kitwe-Nkana, Nchanga, Mufulira, Roan Antelope, Chibuluma, Chilila Bomb we and the smelting of blister copper and electrolysis, at smelters in Luanshya, Kitwe-Nkana, Mufulira, Chingola, and Ndola. All smelters, except the electrolysis smelter at Ndola, are located near mines. Cobalt, silver, and gold are extracted together with copper.

Production of the leading mining industries in 1970 (with data for 1964 in parenthesis) totaled blister copper, 103,000 (146,000) tons; electrolytic copper, 580,000 (497,000) tons; smelted zinc, 53,500 (47,000) tons; smelted lead, 27,200 (13,000) tons; cobalt, 2,100 (1,400) tons; and coal, 623,000 (none) tons.

After independence the country’s coal resources began to be developed; mines were brought into production at Nkandabwe and Siankandoba. Complex ores and cadmium (near Kabwe), amethyst, gypsum, limestone, talc, phyllite, and building sand and clay are also extracted. From time to time vanadium and manganese ore (Kabwe, Mansa), as well as uranic minerals (Copperbelt) are mined. The mining industry accounts for over three-fourths of Zambia’s electric power consumption and a great part of the consumption of petroleum products. Most of the country’s electric power is supplied by the hydroelectric plant Kariba-I (capacity, 705,000 kilowatts) on the Zambezi River, owned jointly by Zambia and Southern Rhodesia (the plant is located on the Rhodesian side of the Zambezi River). In 1969, out of a total consumption of 3.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, 2.9 billion came from Kariba-I. In 1972, construction of a hydro-electric power plant was begun on the Kafue River in order to lessen dependence on Rhodesia, as well as of an oil refinery with a capacity of 1.1 million tons. To supply a number of regions with electricity, four small electric plants were built with the aid of the USSR in the Northwestern Province.

Apart from concentration and smelting, manufacturing is for the most part represented by small enterprises, such as sawmills, flour mills, slaughter houses, and repair shops. Since 1964 chemical enterprises (Livingstone, Kitwe), a motor vehicle assembly plant (Lusaka), a bicycle factory (Mufulira), and a textile mill (Kafue) have been established. By 1968 manufacturing production had doubled by comparison with 1963.

AGRICULTURE. After independence, the government of Zambia took measures to eradicate vestiges of the colonial regime in the countryside. In 1970 it undertook agricultural reforms, dividing unused land among landless peasants. Of total land resources of 75.26 million hectares (ha), 4.8 million ha are arable land, 33.8 million ha are pasture, and 34 million ha are forests. Crop raising, primarily food crops, predominates in the rural economy. Corn cultivation is concentrated on the Tonga and Angoni plateaus and on the Barotse plain; in other areas the best irrigated plots are planted to corn. In the northwest and in the dry Zambezi and Luangwa valleys the chief crops are sorghum, millet, and eleusine. Cassava is widely grown in the Luapula valley and in the BangweulaMweru Basin. Cash crops include tobacco, corn, peanuts, cotton, and sugarcane. The large plantations and farms of the European colonists dominate agricultural production. Virginia tobacco is grown on the European farms. Sugarcane is grown, with raw sugar production totaling 34,000 tons in 1969.

Livestock raising is poorly developed and only in the regions free of the tsetse fly. The number of cattle is growing slowly, and of the 1.4 million head in 1969, over 1 million belonged to African farms, where cattle are rarely slaughtered.

Marketed agricultural production in 1970 (with 1964 data in parenthesis) totaled corn, 550,000 (212,000) tons; tobacco, 5,000 (13,000) tons; cotton, 2,000 (none) tons; and peanuts, 100,000 (10,000) tons.

The fish catch is estimated at about 40,000 tons a year. Zambia is largely self-sufficient in foodstuffs. In good crop years it exports corn and peanuts. Wheat, flour, and meat products are imported.

TRANSPORTATION. The basis of the transportation system is the single-track railroad from Livingstone to Ndola (1,045 km). There are 34,700 km of roads (1969, estimate), including 1,500 km of hard-surfaced roads and 3,500 km of gravel roads. The remaining routes are dirt roads, impassable during the rainy season. Since 1964, the Great North Road and Great East Road, linking the country with Tanzania and Malawi, have been improved. A national airline, Zambia Airways, has been established, which handles a large part of the international and domestic transport. There are international air-ports in Lusaka, Ndola, and Livingstone. A railroad is being built between Zambia and Tanzania. The principal export cargo—copper—is shipped through Dar-es-Salaam (30 per-cent, 1969), Lobito (25 percent, 1969), Beira, and Lourengo Marques. There is an oil pipeline between Ndola and Dar-es-Salaam.

FOREIGN TRADE. Exports totaled 541.9 million kwachas in 1968 and 714.7 million kwachas in 1970; imports totaled 326.6 million kwachas in 1968 and 358.5 million kwachas in 1970. Copper constitutes about 95 percent of exports (Zambia is the leading country in the capitalist world in copper export), complex metals 2.8 percent, and tobacco and corn 1 percent. The chief countries to which Zambia exports are (1969) Great Britain (25.8 percent), Japan (23.5 percent), and the Federal Republic of Germany (12.5 percent). Many commodities used in manufacturing as well as consumer goods are imported, including mining equipment, chemical products, and fuel. The major suppliers are Great Britain (22.9 percent), South Africa (22.4 percent), the USA (10 percent), and Japan (7.2 percent). From 1964 to 1970 the trade balance has shown a large surplus.

The basic monetary unit is the kwacha.


Armed forces. Zambia has an army and air force of about 5,500 men (1971). In addition there are police units totaling about 6,000 men. The commander in chief is the president, and the minister of defense exercises overall direction of the army. Army recruitment is based on voluntary enlistment. The army (4,500 men) consists of four infantry battalions, an independent armored battalion, an engineer battalion, an artillery battery, and a communications company; it is armed with foreign weapons. The air force (about 1,000 men and 34 aircraft) consists of four squadrons.

Health and social welfare. In 1963 the birth rate was 51.4 per 1,000; the mortality rate, 19.6 per 1,000; and the child mortality rate, 259 per 1,000 live births (more recent data is unavailable). In the period 1965–70 the average life expectancy was 43.5 years. Infectious and parasitic diseases predominate. Tuberculosis, smallpox, malaria, leprosy, and intestinal schistosomiasis are widespread. Endemic diseases include trypanosomiasis (in the Northwestern Province and the Luangwa Valley), plague, and spirochetosis; of the helminthic diseases, ancylostomiasis predominates, with the greatest concentrations in the Luapula Valley, and the shore of Lake Bangweulu. In 1967 there were five general hospitals, one hospital for infectious diseases, one pediatric hospital, one psychiatric hospital, and 44 local, or village, hospitals; the total number of beds was 11,700 (three beds per 1,000 inhabitants). In 1967 there were 245 doctors (one doctor per 16,000 inhabitants), of whom 145 were employed by the government, over 500 doctor’s assistants, 17 dentists, 76 pharmacists, and about 500 nurses and midwives. In 1969 there were 22 medical students at the university, and the nursing school in Kitwe graduated its first 20 nurses, who were natives of Zambia. In 1969 public health expenditures constituted 5.2 percent of the national budget.


VETERINARY SERVICES. Infectious diseases and infestation predominate in the morbidity of farm animals. The prevalence of the tsetse fly and the abundance of bloodsucking carriers and their animal hosts have resulted in the almost universal distribution of trypanosomiasis among cattle (128 outbreaks, 1970), streptotrichosis (12 outbreaks), theileriasis (eight outbreaks), and anaplasmosis (20 outbreaks). The frequently recorded hydropericarditis of cattle has harmed live-stock breeding. In most regions anthrax has been recorded, and in the west and northwest there are endemic concentrations of rabies. A large number of the farm animals are infected with helminths (schistosomatosis, cysticercosis). A veterinary service is being organized (about 50 specialists, 1969).

Education. Under the colonial regime Zambia’s educational system was based on racial segregation. In 1963 over 58 per-cent of the population over seven years of age was illiterate. A major task facing Zambia after independence was that of establishing universal primary education as quickly as possible, and the separate instruction of European and African children was abolished. Since 1966 private Catholic schools have been under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. Children between six and eight years of age are admitted to seven-year primary schools. In grades 1–4 students are taught in their native language, but English (taught from grade 1) is the language of instruction thereafter. During the 1969 academic year 621,500 students were enrolled in pri-mary schools. The course of study in secondary schools (where instruction is separate for boys and girls) is five years—two years in a junior secondary school and three years in a senior secondary school—and courses are conducted in English. In 1969 over 48,000 students were enrolled in secondary schools. Training for primary school teachers is provided by two-year teacher-training courses upon graduation from the junior secondary school. Secondary school teachers are trained in two-year schools upon graduation from the senior secondary school or at the university. In 1968 over 2,000 students were enrolled in teacher-training schools, excluding the university. Occupational training is offered to graduates o primary schools (three years) and of junior secondary schools (three years). In the 1968 academic year over 2,000 students were enrolled in trade schools. The largest secondary special educational institutions are the technical colleges in Lusaka and Ndola.

The first higher educational institution, the University of Zambia in Lusaka, was established in 1965 with departments of natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, law, and pedagogy. The USSR provided the equipment for the university’s school of medicine and engineering department; classes in the school of medicine began in 1969. During the 1970 academic year 1,184 students were enrolled at the university.

There are public libraries in Lusaka (35,000 volumes) and Ndola (29,000 volumes). The National Museum of Zambia is located in Livingstone.


Press, radio, and television. The daily newspapers (1972) are the Times of Zambia (since 1964), an English-language paper with a circulation of 50,000, and Zambia Mail (since 1960), a government newspaper published in English with a circulation of 35,000. The English-language monthly Z has been published since 1969. In the provinces, several newspapers are published in Bemba, Tonga, Nyanja, and Lozi.

Radio and television broadcasting is controlled by the Zambia Broadcasting Services, founded in 1966. There are radio stations in Lusaka, Kitwe, and other cities, transmitting two services with programs in both English and seven local languages. There are television studios in Lusaka, Kitwe, and Kabwe. The government information agency is the Zambia News Agency (ZANA).

Architecture and art. Early cave paintings consisting of schematic drawings of animals, people, and hunting scenes and petroglyphs (in the northern and eastern regions) dating from the fourth millennium B.C. have been discovered in Zambia. The traditional dwellings are primarily circular frame huts made with wattle and covered with a thatched conical roof, whose overhang frequently forms a veranda. In the north the huts are tightly grouped around the square on which the chief’s house stands, while in the south they are loosely distributed. In the middle of the 20th century the layout of villages became- more regular, and adobe houses began to be built. The cities that arose early in the 20th century (Lusaka, Livingstone, Ndola) have a layout adapted to the relief, with low buildings constructed of reinforced concrete and bricks. Traditional art includes wood carving (the decoration of chairs, headrests, and combs with human and animal figures), pottery (vessels with scratched geometric de-signs, clay pipes), and weaving using palm leaves and reeds (mats, baskets with colored geometric designs).

Music. Music has been an important part of the everyday life of the people since earliest times. Tribal chiefs had their own musicians, bands, choruses, and dancers. The extent of a chief’s power was measured by the number of drums he possessed. Also widespread were the kalimba (African piano) and its variants, the ndandi and kankobele; various stringed instruments (generally with one string), such as the manibwa, zither, and lute; and wind instruments, including flutes, pipes, horns, and trumpets (usually of wood).

The yoke of the European colonialists interrupted the country’s cultural development. After World War I (1914–18), under the influence of the new rhythms of the music played by European military orchestras, the dance called mbeni became popular in the cities. In 1930 the African Kelulu created a new dance—the kalela, and in 1939 the first ensemble of kalela dancers was organized. In the 1950’s the rhythms of this dance became popular throughout Africa, and since 1964 kalela dancing contests have been held in the cities. In 1966 a kalela ensemble performed at the First Festival of African Art in Dakar.


Theater. Prior to 1964 there were only English amateur companies in Northern Rhodesia, performing in seven cities in the so-called little theaters. Since independence, African theater groups have emerged, as well as national playwrights and directors (Gideon Lumpa and Kenneth Nkhata). In 1964 the Zambian Arts Trust was founded for the purpose of developing native art. The trust has presented Aeschylus’Oresteia (adapted to African motifs, 1967), and Sons and Daughters by John De Graft (1968). Every year there are festivals of the dramatic arts.



Istoriia Afriki v XlX-nachale XX v. Moscow, 1967. Pages 156–63,382–93.
Noveishaia istoriia Afriki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968. Pages 504–30.
Demkina, L. A.Krakh Federatsii Rodesii i N’iasalenda. Moscow, 1965.
Kaunda, K.Zambia Shall Be Free. New York, 1963.
Gann, L.H.A History of Northern Rhodesia. London, 1964. Lipets, lu.G.Strany Ingo-Vostochnoi Afriki. Moscow, 1968. Svanidze, I. A.Sel’skoe khoziaistvo Severnoi Rodezii Moscow 1963.
Hall, R.Zambia. London, 1966.
Zambia [An Economic Surrey]. Lusaka, 1968.
Industrial and Commercial Trade PromotionZambia. Lusaka, 1969.
Goodall, E., C. K. Cooke, and J. D. Clarke.Prehistoric Rock Art of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Salisbury, 1959.
Cunnison, J.The Luapula Peoples of Northern Rhodesia. Manchester, 1959.
Mitchell, J. C. The Kalela Dance. Manchester [1956].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Republic of Zambia

Capital city: Lusaka

Internet country code: .zm

Flag description: Green with a panel of three vertical bands of red (hoist side), black, and orange below a soar­ing orange eagle, on the outer edge of the flag

Geographical description: Southern Africa, east of Angola

Total area: 290,585 sq. mi. (752,614 sq. km.)

Climate: Tropical; modified by altitude; rainy season (Octo­ber to April)

Nationality: noun: Zambian(s); adjective: Zambian

Population: 11,477,447 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: African (more than 70 groups) 98.7%, Euro­pean 1.1%, other 0.2%

Languages spoken: English (official), major vernaculars include Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages

Religions: Christian 50%-75%, Muslim and Hindu 24%­49%, indigenous religions 1%

Legal Holidays:

African Freedom DayMay 25
Christmas DayDec 25
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Farmers' DayAug 1, 2011; Aug 6, 2012; Aug 5, 2013; Aug 4, 2014; Aug 3, 2015; Aug 1, 2016; Aug 7, 2017; Aug 6, 2018; Aug 5, 2019; Aug 3, 2020; Aug 2, 2021; Aug 1, 2022; Aug 7, 2023
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Heroes' DayJul 4, 2011; Jul 2, 2012; Jul 1, 2013; Jul 7, 2014; Jul 6, 2015; Jul 4, 2016; Jul 3, 2017; Jul 2, 2018; Jul 1, 2019; Jul 6, 2020; Jul 5, 2021; Jul 4, 2022; Jul 3, 2023
Holy SaturdayApr 23, 2011; Apr 7, 2012; Mar 30, 2013; Apr 19, 2014; Apr 4, 2015; Mar 26, 2016; Apr 15, 2017; Mar 31, 2018; Apr 20, 2019; Apr 11, 2020; Apr 3, 2021; Apr 16, 2022; Apr 8, 2023
Independence DayOct 24
International Women's DayMar 8
Labour DayMay 1
New Year's DayJan 1
Unity DayJul 5, 2011; Jul 3, 2012; Jul 2, 2013; Jul 1, 2014; Jul 7, 2015; Jul 5, 2016; Jul 4, 2017; Jul 3, 2018; Jul 2, 2019; Jul 7, 2020; Jul 6, 2021; Jul 5, 2022; Jul 4, 2023
Youth DayMar 12
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in southern Africa: an early site of human settlement; controlled by the British South Africa Company by 1900 and unified as Northern Rhodesia in 1911; made a British protectorate in 1924; part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953--63), gaining independence as a member of the Commonwealth in 1964; important mineral exports, esp copper. Official language: English. Religion: Christian majority, animist minority. Currency: kwacha. Capital: Lusaka. Pop.: 10 924 000 (2004 est.). Area: 752 617 sq. km (290 587 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
With investments of over USD 5 billion, mostly in the mining sector, India is one of the largest investors in Zambia. India has provided considerable economic assistance to Zambia in the form of grants and credits.
"South Africa recognises the importance of Zambia and ripe opportunities for South African investments.
It will be my first time in Zambia rallying so really looking forward to the experience.
Last year Agritech Expo Zambia won the AAXO ROAR award for Best Africa Bound Trade & Consumer Exhibition in the 12000+ sqm category at the AAXO ROAR Organiser and Exhibitor Awards in Johannesburg which honour excellence in the exhibition and events industry on the continent.
He also had the opportunity to meet with the University of Zambia's Vice Chancellor Luke Evuta Mumba to share knowledge about starting sport-based degree programmes in sports administration and sports management, as well as discussing potential future research opportunities.
Zambia Airways will launch local and regional routes this year, while intercontinental routes, including Europe, the Middle East and Asia, will be added.
AFC already has a large presence in Zambia. To date, the Corporation has invested over $150 million in various projects in the power and downstream oil sectors.
UBA Zambia Managing Director Stanley Ugwuenze told Times of Zambia that he bank had provided over 15,000 prepaid cards to the Zambia National Farmers Union and 100,000 to other farmers under the e-voucher system for accessing farming inputs.
The goals were scored by Haithem Jouini (4, 84), for Tunisia, and by attacker of Belgian Club of Lierse SK, Ronald Kampamba for Zambia.
Zambia's budget deficit will see a marginal improvement in 2016 as the government makes efforts to improve domestic revenue collection.
And they're not meant to be, because robustness rather than a shiny exterior is what a company needs in Zambia, especially with its present economic woes.

Full browser ?