Zambia is the Darkest Africa. Here Livingstone first saw the Victoria Falls, here you find the fascinating African wildlife, and here is also the chaos and corruption that Africa is so full of. The country is landlocked and surrounded by many others - Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.
Zambia is named after the river Zambezi, which along with the Kafue and Luangwa flows and protects the land. Lusaka is the name of its capital, with Livingstone the second largest city. The lakes Tanganyika, Kariba, Bangweulu and Mweru give life and beauty. The Copperbelt and other metal deposits promise rich treasures. The country has reason to be peaceful and prosperous, and it is - at least in a certain manner of speaking.
The people of Zambia hold either Christian or traditional beliefs, or both. The republic is made up of about 10 million people who speak more than 70 indigenous languages. They belong to 35 ethnic groups, the main ones being Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi and Tonga. Clearly this country was not designed with ease of governing in mind. However, Zambia is not today in as much of a mess as many of its neighbours. It keeps democratic elections with only a little murmur of discontent, and there is no fighting.
The area became a hunting ground for Swahili-Arab slave traders from around the 10th century. Portuguese explorers followed them in the 1700s, with the British South Africa Company arriving in the late 19th century to take control and establish the colony of Northern Rhodesia. The natives received such blessings from cilisation as the hut tax, while at the same time Europeans settled and farmed on their land.
Zambia became an independent, but poor state in 1963. Kenneth Kaunda was the man who had led the resistance, and he continued to lead the country for 27 years.
He was a typical dictator who mixed Marxism with traditional African values, but in the end took most for himself. The country became poorer instead of richer, and by the 1980s Zambia was in such a bad condition that its people took to the streets. After several rounds of rioting, the dictator gave in, allowed free elections, and admitted defeat when the labour leader Frederick Chiluba won. After the two allowed terms in office he stepped down for his handpicked follower, Levy Mwanawasa.
Today, Zambia is a quite calm country, with only a minor coup attempt in 1997 to look back on. It has several national parks and sights of nature that attract a growing number of tourists.