The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighboring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola.

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. In 1888, the British South Africa Company, (BSA Company) led by Cecil Rhodes, obtained mineral rights in North Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia. The two were administered as separate units until 1911 when they were merged to form Northern Rhodesia. In 1923, the Company ceded control of Northern Rhodesia to the British Government after the government decided not to renew the Company's charter.

In 1953, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland joined Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively) with Nyasaland (now Malawi). A two-stage election held in October and December 1962 resulted in an African majority in the legislative council. The council passed resolutions calling for Northern Rhodesia's secession from the federation and demanding full internal self-government under a new constitution and a new National Assembly based on a broader, more democratic franchise. The federation was dissolved on 31 December 1963, and Northern Rhodesia became an independent country -- the Republic of Zambia -- on 24 October 1964.

Zambia's economy has been traditionally dominated by the copper mining industry; however the government has recently been pursuing an economic diversification program. 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. Zambia is one of the world's poorest countries.