In the west of today’s Zambia, in the upper Zambezi Valley, the Lozi (Rotse) empire came into being around 1650 and was subjugated by the Kololo after 1840. Until the 19th century, the east of what is now Zambia belonged to the Kazembe Empire, which controlled trade between Katanga and the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Around 1890 the British South Africa Company began to occupy territories north of the Zambezi. Organized as the Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia in 1911, these areas came under direct British colonial administration in 1924. The German General Lettow-Vorbeck stayed undefeated in the northeast of the colony during the First World War until the surrender. The British recruited tens of thousands of Africans from their colonies to fight for the British crown. In 1953, Northern Rhodesia was merged with Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Nyassaland (now Malawi) to form the Central African Federation. In 1959, the United National Independence Party (UNIP), led by K. Kaunda, split off from the underground Northern Rhodesia Congress (NRC). Kaunda and H. K. Banda (Nyassaland) achieved the dissolution of the federation under colonial rule in 1963. On October 24, 1964, Northern Rhodesia gained independence under the name “Zambia”; Kaunda became president. He had numerous foreign companies nationalized in 1968-70 and in 1973 after the ban of the United Progressive Party (KPP) founded in 1971 by Simon Kapwepe (* 1922, † 1980 ) and later of all opposition parties, he established a one-party state under the UNIP led by him. Kaunda’s tough change of course suggests a “Second Republic”.
In terms of foreign policy, Zambia, which supported the movement of the non-aligned states, was one of the frontline states fighting the settler oligarchies in southern Africa. In 1973, as a country starting with letter Z according to Countryaah, Zambia interrupted the railway lines leading through the area of Zambia to what was then Rhodesia and the Republic of South Africa. In order to become independent from these states in terms of transport and economy, the Zambian government had already contracted China in 1970 to build a railway line to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) for Zambia (the Tanzam Railway, completed in 1975). In 1978, Southern Rhodesia launched military attacks on Zambia, which resulted in the collapse of the Zambian infrastructure and thus famine. This situation only eased with the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980. At the end of 1979 Zambia lifted its sanctions against Rhodesia (resumption of transport and trade relations). The crisis-ridden economic development, which has intensified since 1974 due to the drop in the price of copper, led to numerous civil unrest in the 1980s. The country suffered from an inflation rate of up to 60%, enormous foreign debt and high unemployment.
After several parties were re-admitted (December 1990) and a new constitution was passed (August 1991), presidential elections were held in November 1991, in which Kaunda, after 27 years of sole rule, had to cede power to the union leader and president of the MMD, F. Chiluba . After their clear victory in the elections, Chiluba and the MMD initially endeavored to establish a democratic and pluralistic constitutional state in a »Third Republic«. With the privatization of state-owned companies, the government has been trying to strengthen the private economic sector since 1995. In the elections in November 1996, which were described as neither free nor fair by independent observers and boycotted by the UNIP, Chiluba was elected confirmed in office. During the election campaign, Chiluba introduced a controversial constitutional amendment that ensured continued power for him. After a failed coup attempt by some military officials, a state of emergency was declared in 1997, which was not lifted again until 1998. Since Chiluba , against its autocratic leadership style, its politics of corruption and mismanagement, the population as well as opposition forces v. a. Protested several times at the beginning of 2001, could no longer run for a third term according to the constitution, won the controversial presidential elections of December 2001 L. Mwanawasa (MMD), that of Chiluba had been nominated as successor and presidential candidate and was sworn in as the new president in January 2002. Mwanawasa , who was confirmed in office in elections in October 2006, took action against corruption in the country more drastically than any of his predecessors.
After the death of Mwanawasa in August 2008, Vice President R. Banda took over the government. Banda emerged victorious from the presidential elections on October 30, 2008 (40.6% versus 38.6% for his rival M. Sata, Patriotic Front). On November 2, 2008, Banda was sworn in as President. His government strengthened economic cooperation with the People’s Republic of China in 2009/10.
Parliamentary and presidential elections were held in September 2011. Opposition leader Sata was able to prevail against incumbent Banda in the fight for the presidency. Due to the violation of environmental and safety regulations, the Zambian government withdrew the license for coal mining from the Chinese operators of the Collum Coal Mine south of the capital Lusaka and took control of the mine. Former President Banda was arrested in late March 2013 on suspicion of abuse of office in connection with an oil deal with Nigeria and was only released on bail. From April 2013 he had to answer in court. His immunity as a former head of state was lifted in early March 2013. Even under the leadership of M. Sata , there has been little progress in reducing the large civil society and social deficits in Zambia. In October 2014, Sata , whose poor health had repeatedly cast doubt on his ability to govern , traveled to London for medical treatment. Here he died on October 28, 2014 in a hospital. The official business was initially taken over by the previous Vice President Guy Scott (* 1944) , Son of Scottish immigrants to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
On January 20, 2015, E. Lungu , the leader of the Patriotic Front, was elected the new president with around 48.3% of the vote. The UPND candidate Hakainde Hichilema (* 1962) received around 46.7% of the vote. Lungu was sworn in on January 25, 2015 for the remainder of the late M. Sata’s term of office. His government was confronted with a sharp drop in the world market price for copper, the country’s most important export product, which, coupled with an energy crisis, led to considerable economic difficulties. On August 11, 2016, presidential, parliamentary and local elections as well as a constitutional referendum took place. According to the electoral commission, the population confirmed E. Lungu with around 50.4% of the votes in the presidency. Hakainde Hichilema from the opposition UPND then came to around 47.6%. The opposition alleged electoral fraud. The PF also became the strongest force in parliament, gaining 80 seats. The UPND had 58 seats.