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Africa 2006,

Paleontologists claim that humans inhabited the region between one and two million years ago. During the 15th Century the Luba, Lunda (Kazembe), Bemba (Chitimukulu) and Lozi (Barotse) kingdoms flourished in the region stretching from Shaba (in Congo Kinshasa) to Zambia. They were joined in 1840 by fugitives from upheavals in the Zulu kingdom in South Africa. By the 1880s, driven by his dream of a British Empire from the Cape to Cairo, Cecil John Rhodes and his British South Africa Company (BSA) claimed the region. In 1924 Northern Rhodesia, as it was known, was transferred to the British government and in the late 1920s the discovery of vast copper reserves lured mining moguls from Britain, South Africa and America and thousands of white settlers. In 1953 Northern Rhodesia (over strong objections from its inhabitants) was linked together with Nyasaland (later Malawi) and Southern Rhodesia in a white-ruled Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Agitation by North ern Rhodesia's Kenneth Kaunda and his United National Independence Party (UNIP) and Dr Hastings Banda of Nyasaland led to the dissolution of the Federation in 1963. In October 1964 President Kaunda led Zambia to independence. He consolidated his rule by banning the opposition and nationalizing the copper mines and other assets. In 1991, the relaxation of the ban propelled trade union leader and head of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), Frederick Chiluba, to victory against Kaunda at the polls. He restored democracy and instituted drastic economic reforms. Chiluba was reelected in November 1996 and after completion of his second five year term stepped down. In 2001 presidential election Levy Mwanawasa narrowly defeated Anderson Mazoka of the United Party for National Development (UPND).