Initially, the steppes and savannas in
southern Africa were populated by hunter-gatherers, who,
around the time of Christ's birth, were suppressed by
farming peoples. Some of these created independent
kingdoms that lasted until the British colonization
around the last century. Zambia, like most African
countries, had its borders drawn by Europe's colonial
powers. The demarcation was a result of competition and
war between these powers, where natural resources were
often at the center.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Zambia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
At Kabwe in central Zambia, a skull was found in 1921
from one of the earliest homo sapiens (the modern human
species). The skull is estimated to be between 125,000
and 200,000 years old. At Victoria and Kalambo Falls,
archaeologists have also found tools and other remains
up to 100,000 years old.
When the first Bantu people came to the area of
today's Zambia about 2000 years ago, they pushed away
pygmy people who lived there for tens of thousands of
years. The Bantu people brought with them an Iron Age
culture with agriculture and livestock care. The Tongan
people in the south were the first but lacked a central
organization. Lozi, lunda and bemba, who, a few hundred
years later, settled in the west and north, on the other
hand, built strong kingship. As these were far from the
coasts, they remained relatively unaffected by outside
influence for a long time.
It was not until the 16th century that Arab and
Portuguese caravans began to penetrate along the Zambezi
River. They brought ivory, slaves and copper back to the
outside world. The Zambian kingdoms came to build their
strength and welfare on this trade.
In the mid-19th century, Scottish missionary and
explorer David Livingstone traveled through the area,
and his travelogues came to mean much to the British's
interest in the interior of Africa. The place where he
died today is on Zambian soil. Livingstone was followed
by other European missionaries and settlers. The gold
and diamond rush against southern Africa had begun.
In 1890 Britain granted the financier and politician
Cecil Rhodes and his British British Africa Company the
right to exploit commodities and cheap labor north of
Zambezi. The company established its own order and
subverted the local kingdoms with bribes, violence and
promises of protection.
The British had thus secured their influence over the
area, which in 1911 was named Northern Rhodesia after
Cecil Rhodes. The area south of it was called Southern
Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In 1924, Northern Rhodesia
became a British crown colony. Under the rule of the
British, the African population was completely lacking
in influence. The mining operation, built around the
enormous copper deposits found in the 1920s, provided
economic development, but power lay with the whites and
little of the profits came from the black credit. In
1935, the first mining strikes broke out.
Resistance to colonial power
Since the blacks were prohibited from organizing
trade unions, they formed a number of "welfare
societies" instead. It was the beginning of active
resistance to colonial power. The associations
eventually merged into a federation that had a clear
political character and, in 1951, took the name of
North Rhodesia's African National Congress
(abbreviated in English to the ANC, not
to be confused with the ANC in South Africa).
The country's whites had long supported the British
plans to merge Northern Rhodesia with
Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland
(now Malawi), which would strengthen the power of the
whites. The ANC fought in vain against these plans, and
in 1953 the three colonies of the Central
African Federation were united.
At the end of the 1950s, a group of young radicals,
led by teacher Kenneth Kaunda, broke out of the ANC and
formed the Nationalist and Socialist-oriented
United National Independence Party (
UNIP). They demanded the independence of
Northern Rhodesia and launched a disobedience campaign
against the British.
In the elections that the British agreed to hold in
1962, UNIP won a major victory among African voters and
could form the country's first black majority
government. Britain realized that the colonial rule was
doomed. In 1963, the Central African Federation was
dissolved. Shortly thereafter, UNIP won the country's
first general election, and Kaunda became prime
minister. On October 24, 1964, the independent
Republic of Zambia was proclaimed with Kaunda
as its first president.
Unlike Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia had no
extensive white landowner class. This is the main reason
why the countries met with different fates. Southern
Rhodesia, ruled by a minority of land-owning whites,
unilaterally proclaimed independence in 1965, but
African majority rule was not introduced until 1980.
Chiluba's wife is acquitted
The Supreme Court cancels prison sentence against President Chiluba's wife
Regina, convicted of corruption.
Clash of working conditions
Eleven Zambians are injured when gunfire erupts in a Chinese payroll dispute.
Two officers at the company are charged with attempted murder but are acquitted.
Two months in prison for George Mtombo
Former Secretary of Defense George Mtombo is sentenced to two months in
prison for check fraud. The opposition claims that President Banda exerted
pressure on the judiciary to get Mtombo convicted. Mtombo has made himself known
as one of Banda's earliest critics.
Decisions on hydro power plants in Kafue
The government decides to build a hydroelectric power plant with Chinese
assistance in the Kafue River.
Zambia and China are expanding cooperation
President Banda visits Beijing. Zambia and China decide to form a common
economic zone and increase cooperation on mineral extraction. Zambia also
receives a loan of $ 1 billion, which corresponds to 40 percent of the total