Northern Rhodesia, a wealthy protectorate of the United Kingdom with borders that corresponded roughly to modern Zambia, was created from a combination of Barotziland North West Rhodesia and North-East Rhodesia. Both of these areas were under the control of the British South Africa Company, which had acquired the area in 1899 by dint of a royal charter.
The charter empowered the company with complete administrative control over what became known as Southern Rhodesia and Northern Bechuanaland. While the charter gave the company power in the south, it soon expanded northward, extending its activities across the Zambezi River into what eventually became Northern Rhodesia.
The name of the area was derived from the name of Cecil John Rhodes, a British empire builder and the most influential figure in the European expansion into Southern Africa. Rhodes gained influence for the British in the area through negotiations with local chiefs for mineral rights in 1888.
These negotiations, while questionable in terms of fairness to the indigenous population, were so successful that later the same year, both Northern and Southern Rhodesia has proclaimed a part of the British sphere of influence.
Northern Rhodesia remained under the complete administrative and legislative control of the British South Africa Company until 1923, at which time the company surrendered all of its buildings, assets, land, and other monopolistic rights aside from mineral rights in return for a cash payment from the British government.
Thus, Northern Rhodesia became a British protectorate, and in 1924 executive and legislative councils were established along with the office of the Governor of Northern Rhodesia. Seeing the situation of the white population in nearby South Africa, the Colonial Office promoted the immigration of white settlers to the area, reserving vast stretches of prime farmland taken from important tribal areas. This appropriation of land clashed with the land rights of the local population, who had little recourse for complaining about the situation or fighting it.
The outbreak of World War II saw Northern Rhodesia playing an essential role for the British. As soon as the war began, citizens of Northern Rhodesia signed up to fight for the British army in both the European (Western Front) and African theaters.
Arguably as necessary, the vast copper resources of Rhodesia were used to create vital munitions for the British war effort. This desperate need for copper caused an upswing in the price of the material, which saved the failing Rhodesian economy.
Northern Rhodesia was considered as a possible location for the settlement of European Jews fleeing the political repression of the Nazi regime in Germany, particularly following the Kristallnacht, a massive anti-Semitic program launched by fascist organizations on November 9, 1938.
Following the war, Northern Rhodesia took steps toward democratization with the establishment of an African Representative Council in 1946. Again following the lead of South Africa, white Rhodesia settlers opposed any policy that would allow the larger African population to gain more excellent representation in the political process or better access to education.
Most of the white population pushed for an amalgamation with the more prosperous Southern Rhodesia. In spite of the strong opposition of the white community, two African members were appointed to the Northern Rhodesian legislative council in 1948, the first step toward enfranchising the indigenous peoples. Northern Rhodesia became the independent nation of Zambia on October 24, 1964, and the name of the country was officially changed to Zambia with Kenneth David Kaunda as the first President of the Republic of Zambia.
Credit: Crisis and Achievements- Northern and Southern Rhodesia (pre-1950).