Zambia is situated in a slightly southern spot of Central Africa. It is one of the numerous landlocked countries in the continent. It is bounded by Angola (West), Tanzania and Congo (North-East), Malawi (East). Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, and Namibia border Zambia to the south. Zambia is one of the biggest country in Africa in terms of land area. Although its population is unevenly distributed, the main population centers are the capital, Lusaka, and another big city to the south, Copperbelt. Zambia was formerly known as Northern Rhodesia, and it has a very interesting manner on the way it gained its independence. Zambia declared its independence during the last day of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Hence, Zambia is in the record books as the only nation thus far to enter an Olympic Games as one and leave as another.
Zambia used to be one of the numerous British colonies in the African continent. When it declared independence in 1964, it was during those heady days of the idealistic clashes between communism on one side lead by the Soviet Union, and democracies on the other side, lead by the United States. These clashes of ideologies found the fledgling African states with newly declared independence as a favorable ground for expressing their conflicting aims. Hence, when Zambia became independent, it immediately fell into a tug-of-war between communists and democracies while all around it was civil war – Angola, Mozambique, and then Southern Rhodesia, which became Rhodesia when it gained independence. Apart from this, there was the lingering conflict with Rhodesia, resulting to numerous border skirmishes, which resulted to the closure of their border in 1973.
Zambia’s climate is tropical, and the landscape features abrupt changes from plateaus to plains to gentle rolling hills. Moreover, two major river systems originate or pass through the country: the Zambezi basin to the south, which covers about 75 percent of the country, and the Congo basin, which covers the northernmost part of the country. The western part of the country features flat plains that are prone to flooding, particularly from December to June. On the other hand, the eastern part of Zambia features plateaus that rise abruptly, forming cliffs and heights that are favored by outdoor lovers and trekkers. Moreover, elevation affects the climate of Zambia, hence plateau areas receive rainfall that maintains the vegetation.
However, unlike most African nations, Zambia was more blessed when it gained independence. It contained numerous minerals, which are the main source for revenues. The most important minerals mined in Zambia are copper, diamond, silver, iron, and gold. However, its location affects trading and this was most evident during the conflict with Rhodesia, because Zambia’s only access to the sea was through an agreement with Rhodesia to use the latter’s ports. Zambia solved this problem by entering into an agreement with the government of Tanzania, for which a railway was built into from Zambia to Tanzania’s port of Dar es Salaam, giving Zambia access to the sea and trade with other nations. In terms of energy source, Zambia is self-sufficient with its extensive development of the numerous waterfalls and rivers crisscrossing the land.
Apart from minerals, tourism is another major source of revenues. The main tourist destinations of the land are the following:
- Lake Tanganyika. This is Africa’s deepest lake, which Zambia shares with Tanzania. The lake is situated in the Congo basin to the north of the country.
- Victoria Falls. Considered to be the highest in the world, the falls is a major source of electricity for Zambia. Along with Kalambo falls, these two are some of the major source of hydroelectric power for the country.