Lusaka Commonwealth Walkway

Zambia / Africa

The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central, Southern and East Africa, formerly known as Northern Rhodesia.  Its neighbour are the Democratic Republic, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola.  The population is concentrated mainly around Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt Province to the north, the core economic hubs of the country. Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, the region was affected by the Bantu expansion of the thirteenth century.  Following European explorers in the eighteenth century, the British colonised the region into the British protectorates of Barotseland-North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century.  These were merged in 1911 to form Northern Rhodesia.  For most of the colonial period, Zambia was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South Africa Company.   On 24 October 1964, Zambia became independent from the United Kingdom (the 9th African country to do so) and Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda (1924-2021) became the inaugural President. Kaunda's socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) maintained power from 1964 until 1991.  Kaunda played a key role in regional diplomacy, co-operating closely with the United States in search of solutions to conflicts in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola, and Namibia.  From 1972 to 1991 Zambia was a one-party state with UNIP as the sole legal political party under the motto ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ coined by Kaunda.  Kaunda was succeeded by Frederick Chiluba (1943-2011) of the social-democratic Movement for Multi-Party Democracy in 1991, beginning a period of socio-economic development and government decentralisation.  Zambia has since become a multi-party state and has experienced several peaceful transitions of power. Zambia contains abundant natural resources, including minerals, wildlife, forestry, freshwater, and arable land.  In 2010, the World Bank named Zambia one of the world's fastest economically reformed countries.  The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is headquartered in Lusaka. Fun facts: 
  • Zambia is home to Victoria Falls, which is double the height of Niagara Falls.  
  • It is also home to the Big Five and relies on copper as one of its biggest exports.  
  • Zambia produces around 1.5 million tonnes of copper a year. 
Lusaka: Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia and is one of the fastest developing cities in southern Africa.  As of 2019, the city's population was about 3.3 million, while the urban population is estimated at 2.5 million in 2018.  Lusaka is the centre of both commerce and government in Zambia.  English is the official language of the city administration, while Nyanja and Bemba are the commonly spoken street languages. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area dates to the 6th century AD with the first known settlement in the 11th century.  It was then home to the Lenje and Soli peoples from the 17th century.  The founding of the modern city occurred in 1905 when it lay in the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, controlled by the British South African Company (BSAC). The BSAC built a railway linking their mines in the Copperbelt to Cape Town and Lusaka was designated as a water stop on that line.  White Afrikaner farmers then settled in the area and expanded Lusaka into a regional trading centre, taking over its administration.  In 1929 the British colonial administration decided to move their capital from Livingstone to a more central location and Lusaka was chosen.  Town planners including Stanley Adshead (1868-1946) worked on the project and the city was built out over the subsequent decades.  Lusaka lost some of its status to Salisbury (now Harare in Zimbabwe) when the latter became the capital of the merged Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953.  However, this was regained when it was named the capital of the newly independent Zambia in 1964.  A large-scale building programme in the city followed, including government buildings, the University of Zambia, and a new airport.  Wealthy suburbs in Lusaka include Woodlands, Ibex Hill, and Rhodes Park.  This resulted in large-scaled migration of people, which lead to a lack of sufficient housing.

3.7 miles / 6 kilometres

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