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Zambia Information - Page 2
Zambia has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Evidence of early human habitation has been found at the Victoria Falls, in the south, and the Kalambo Falls, in the north. The areas around the Falls are important prehistoric sites. Artefacts have been excavated which are over three hundred thousand years old.

Over the centuries various groups migrated to the area; Bantu people were in the region by 1500. The Lunda Empire became a dominant force. Other groups included the Bemba, the Chewa and the Lozi.

Trade took place with African states on the east and west coasts and with the Portuguese. Goods sold included copper, ivory, rhino horn and slaves.

By the end of the nineteenth century the British South African Company, run by Cecil Rhodes, had occupied the area as well as much of the neighbouring country.

In 1911 the country was known as Northern Rhodesia and later, in 1924, the region became a British Protectorate.

During the early twentieth century the Zambian Copperbelt was discovered. The find proved to be one of world's richest sources of copper but was not commercially exploited until the 1920s and 1930s when improvements in technology made this economically viable. The Copperbelt had an enormous impact on the country's history. Colonial interest increased in Northern Rhodesia and work in the copper mines gave impetus to Zambian nationalism.

In 1953 Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) became a Federation. The Federation lasted until the end of 1963 - both Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi) gained independence in 1964.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda, an activist for independence, was the first President of the Republic of Zambia.

From the 1920s and 1930s copper was Zambia's major industry. Copper revenues financed roads, schools and hospitals. However, by the end of the twentieth century a fall in copper prices and a slowdown in production caused great losses. Advised by the World Bank, Zambia embarked upon a privatisation programme that included the copper industry.

In February 2010 Zambia and China signed a mining cooperation agreement to set up a joint economic zone. Later in 2010 it was agreed to build a second hyrdroelectric power plant on the Kafue River.

Zambia's economy contracted in 2020 but rebounded in 2021 supported by firm copper prices.

Apart from copper mining, Zambia mines emeralds, cobalt, lead, zinc and coal. Other industries include furniture, clothing, food processing, beverages, chemicals, fertiliser, construction and hydropower.

In the services sector tourism is an important earner of foreign currency.

The majority of the labour force works in the agriculture sector. Agricultural products are maize, sorghum, rice, cassava, groundnuts, sunflower seeds and sugarcane. Zambia is also one of the world's largest seed exporters. Cotton and tobacco are also grown. Cattle, goats, pigs and poultry are reared.

There are a number of rock art sites in Zambia, for example, the Kundabwika Rock Painting, the Mkomo Rock Shelter, the Nachikufu Cave, and the Nsefu Cave and Rock Painting.

Traditional crafts include pottery, basketry and woodcarving.

Music, song and dance were an integral part of traditional Zambian life. Song was used to pass on values, duties and beliefs. Traditional instruments, particularly the drum, are still played at Zambian ceremonies.

In the literary world, Binwell Sinyangwe, the well-known Zambian writer, has published novels about life in Zambia: Quills of Desire and A Cowrie of Hope.

Football is very popular in Zambia. Other sports played include rugby and cricket.

Christmas Day, Easter and New Year's Day are celebrated. Other holidays are Youth Day (12 March), Labour Day (1 May), Africa Freedom Day - the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, (25 May), Heroes Day (2 July), Unity Day (3 July), Farmers Day (6 August) and Independence Day (24 October).

News from Zambia is available in Newslink.

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