This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Zambia. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Zambia. Zambia's political environment in 2001 was dominated by presidential and parliamentary elections held on December 27. Zambia was ruled by President Kenneth Kaunda and the United National Independence Party from independence from Britain in 1964 until the transition to a multiparty system in 1991. Zambia's president and parliament are elected to serve concurrent five-year terms by universal adult suffrage. Zambia's trade unions remain among Africa's strongest, and union rights are constitutionally guaranteed. The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions, an umbrella for Zambia's 19 largest unions, operates democratically without government interference.