October 24 – Independence Day in Zambia

Posted on October 24, 2013
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, Republic of Zambia,
Happy birthday to you! (And many more!)

On this date in 1964, this African nation became independent of the United Kingdom (Britain).

I am sure that you know that every land has had a rich and complex history long before Europeans showed up and began to trade or fight with the people already living there, before the Europeans enslaved, colonized, or conquered the civilizations or villages or what-have-you. But part of that rich and complex history, oftentimes, includes neighboring peoples trading or fighting with each other, enslaving, colonizing, and conquering each other.

What is now Zambia was once home to Khoisan people. The Bantu colonized the area in the 1200s, and Great Britain colonized it in the 1800s. At that point, it was called Northern Rhodesia. Its current name comes from the Zambezi River, which means “heart of it all.”

Did you know...?

  • Zambia is one of the poorest nations on earth, with over 85% of the people living below the “poverty line.”
  • Termites in Zambia build hills as large as cottages.

  • Lusaka is the capital city, but Livingstone used to be the capital. That town was named for David Livingstone, the British explorer who was the first European known to have explored the area and to have seen the glorious Victoria Falls. On the Zambia side of the falls is a bronze statue of Livingstone.
  • Speaking of waterfalls, Zambia has many waterfalls—with 18 major and medium-sized falls dotted around the country. Waterfall Tours is a big thing there!
  • Zambia is home to the world's largest mushroom, which commonly grows to almost a yard (a meter) in diameter.
  • Even though Zambia is only about as large as Texas, there are eight semi-official languages. Bemba, Kaonde, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, and Tonga, Chewa. And let's not forget the official language: English.

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