Zambia has moved from being a major copper producer and potentially one of the continent's richest countries at independence in 1964 to one of the world's poorest. A colonial legacy, mismanagement, debt and disease are said to have contributed to the country's tribulations. Politically, it switched from colonial government into an era of one-party rule lasting 27 years. A multi-party system emerged in the early 1990s.
Zambia Tourist Attractions
Zambia is landlocked and sparsely populated by more than 70 ethnic groups, many of them Bantu-speaking. It has some spectacular scenery, including the Victoria Falls along the Zambezi river, the Bangweulu Swamps and the Luangwa river valley.
In the late 1960s it was the third largest copper miner, after the US and the Soviet Union. World copper prices collapsed in 1975 with devastating effects on the economy. The World Bank has urged Zambia to develop other sources of revenue - including tourism and agriculture. Lake Titicaca
Even so, copper accounts for most of Zambia's foreign earnings and there is optimism about the Zambia travel future of the industry, which was privatised in the 1990s. Electronics manufacturers have fuelled demand and investment in mines has grown.
Zambia map (Please mouse click on the thumbnail photos below to see an enlargement)
Aids is blamed for decimating the cream of Zambian professionals - including engineers and politicians - and malaria is a major problem. Millions of Zambians live below the World Bank poverty threshold of $1 a day. Zambia hosts tens of thousands of refugees who have fled fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Full name: Republic of Zambia
Population: 11.9 million (UN, 2007)
Area: 752,614 sq km (290,586 sq miles)
Major language: English (official), Bemba, Lozi, Nyanja, Tonga
Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Hinduism, Islam
Life expectancy: 42 years (men), 42 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Kwacha = 100 ngwee
Main exports: Copper, minerals, tobacco
GNI per capita: US $490 (World Bank, 2006)
Internet domain: .zm
International dialling code: +260