The Republic of Zambia (IPA: [ˈzæmbɪə]), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, located in the southeast of the country. The population is concentrated mainly around the capital and the Copperbelt to the northwest.
Zambia has been inhabited for thousands of years by hunter-gatherers and migrating tribes. After sporadic visits by European explorers starting in the 18th century, Zambia was gradually claimed and occupied by the British as protectorate of Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century. On 24 October 1964, the protectorate gained independence with the new name of Zambia, derived from the Zambezi river which flows through the country. After independence the country moved towards a system of one party rule with Kenneth Kaunda as president. Kaunda dominated Zambian politics until multiparty elections were held in 1991.
Zambia’s economy has been traditionally dominated by the copper mining industry; however the government has recently been pursuing an economic diversification programme. During the 1970s, the country began sliding into a poverty from which it has not recovered. Zambia’s total foreign debt exceeded $6 billion in 2000; the growing population strains the economic growth and HIV/AIDS is widespread. The average per capita income is $395, placing Zambia as one of the world’s poorest countries.