Lusaka was the site of a village named after its headman Lusaka, which, according to history, was located at Manda Hill, near where the Zambia's National Assembly building now stands. In the Nyanja language, Manda means graveyard. The area was expanded by European (mainly British) settlers in 1905 with the building of the railway.
In 1935, due to its fairly central location, its situation on the railway and at the crossroads of the Great North Road and Great East Road, it was chosen to replace Livingstone as the capital of the British colony of Northern Rhodesia.
After the federation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953, it was a centre of the independence movement amongst some of the educated elite that led to the creation of the Republic of Zambia. In 1964, Lusaka became the capital of the newly independent Zambia.
In recent years, Lusaka has become a popular urban settlement for Zambians and tourists alike. Its central nature and fast growing infrastructure sector have increased donor confidence and as such Zambians are seeing signs of development in the form of job creation, housing, etc. Consequently, it is thought that with proper and effective economic reforms, Lusaka as well as Zambia as a whole will develop considerably. Lusaka is home to a diverse community of foreign nationals, many of whom work in the aid industry as well as diplomats, representatives of religious organisations and some business people.
As the national capital, Lusaka is the seat of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, epitomized by the presence of the National Assembly (parliament), the State House (office of the President), and the High Court. The Parliament is situated at the Parliament complex, which features a 15-story building. The city is also the capital of Lusaka Province, the smallest and most populous of the country's nine provinces, and forms an administrative district run by Lusaka City Council. In 2007, the mayor was Steven Chilatu (PF), and the deputy mayor was Mary Phiri.
List of mayors:F. Payne 1954–5
H. K. Mitchell 1955–6
Ralph Rich 1956–7
H. F. Tunaley 1957–8
H. K. Mitchell 1958–60
Jack Fischer 1960–1
Richard Sampson 1962–3
S. H. Chilesh 1964–5
W. Banda 1965–9
Fleefort Chirwa 1969–71?
Simon C. Mwewa up to 1982
List of Governors (decentralisation – one party participatory era)Simon C. Mwewa 1982 to 1983
Donald C. Sadoki
Lt. Muyoba – up to 1991
List of Mayors – Multi-Party EraJohn Chilambwe 1993–1994
Fisho Mwale 1994–1996
Gilbert R. Zimba Local Government Administrator – 1996–1999
Zambia's highest institution of learning, the University of Zambia, is based in Lusaka. Lusaka has some of the finest schools in Zambia, including the American International School of Lusaka , International School of Lusaka, Rhodes Park School, the Lusaka International Community School, the French International School, the Italian international School, the Lusaka Islamic Cultural and Educational Foundation (LICEF), the Chinese International School, and Baobab College. Rhodes Park School is not an international school, though there is a large presence of Angolans, Nigerians, Congolese, South Africans, and Chinese. The children of the late President, Levy Mwanawasa as well as the children of Vice-President George Kunda, attend the Rhodes Park School.
Attractions include Lusaka National Museum, the Political Museum, the Zintu Community Museum, the Freedom Statue, the Zambian National Assembly, the Agricultural Society Showgrounds (known for their annual agricultural show), the Moore Pottery Factory, the Lusaka Playhouse theatre, a cinema, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, a cenotaph, a golf club, the Lusaka Central Sports Club, and the zoo and botanical gardens of the Munda Wanga Environmental Park. The city is also home to the University of Zambia. Along Great East Road are two of the first large shopping malls in Zambia: Arcades shopping mall (with open-air storefronts) and Manda Hill shopping mall (enclosed shops), which was revamped and is home to international stores such as Shoprite, Game and Woolworths, a new movie theatre and has the first KFC in the country.
The city centre includes several blocks west of Cairo Road, around which lie the New City Market and Kamwala Market, a major shopping area, as well as the Zintu Community Museum. Further east lies the government area, including the State House and the various ministries, around Cathedral Hill and Ridgeway neighbourhoods. One of the main streets and points of interest upon business is Cairo Road.
Cairo Road was a section of the Great North Road and was so named because it is a link in Cecil Rhodes' then dream of a Cape to Cairo Road through British colonies in Africa.
Some buildings along Cairo Road are the Findeco House (25 floors), Central Bank Building, Indeco House (19 floors), Zambia National Building Society Headquarters (20 floors), Old Zambia Lotto Head Office, Zambia National Commercial Bank (21 floors), Barclays Bank Zambia Head Office, Stanbic Bank Zambia Headquarters, Investrust Bank (18 floors).
Lusaka is home to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (which is used for both civil and military operations), and it lies on the railway line from Livingstone to Kitwe. There is also Lusaka City Airport, which is used by the Zambian Air Force.
Bus services to towns surrounding Lusaka, such as Siavonga and Chirundu, use the Lusaka City Market Bus and the inter-city bus terminus station and the city bus station (Kulima Towers Station).
Intracity public transport is provided primarily by minibuses, but also includes larger buses and shared taxis on fixed routes. Vehicles on most routes travel between specific parts of the city and the four terminals in the central business district (referred to as "Town"): Kulima Tower, City Market, Millennium and Lumumba. There is no official map of public transport routes in Lusaka, but an initiative to create a user-generated content map was begun in 2014. All public transport vehicles in Lusaka are operated by private operators.
As the hosts of the 2012 Zone VI Games and the capital city of Zambia, Lusaka boasts extensive sports infrastructure, including Nkholoma Stadium, Sunset Stadium, the Olympic Youth Development Centre, the Lusaka Golf Club and many other places. The city's ultra-modern 60,000 seat stadium, built by China, is named the National Heroes Stadium in memory of the Chipolopolo national team's football players who died in a plane crash off the coast of Gabon in 1993. The stadium was completed by the end of 2013 and since then has hosted an international friendly match between Zambia and Sudan, Zambia's 50th Year Golden Jubilee Celebrations and a Requiem Mass for the late President of Zambia, Michael Sata.
Lusaka is twinned with: Dushanbe, Tajikistan, since 1966
Beirut, Lebanon, (2018)
Los Angeles, United States, since 1968
The rugby union players Corné Krige and George Gregan, who respectively captained the South African and Australian teams in both the 2002 and 2003 Tri Nations Series, were coincidentally born in the same hospital in Lusaka.
Amy Holmes (born in 1973 in Lusaka) is a news anchor on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze.
Lusaka is the hometown and current place of residence of Joseph and Luka Banda, the first ever conjoined twins to be successfully separated and in full neurological health.
It is also the home of IIMegaxlxll videos, a young boy who gained fame on YouTube, Reddit and 4chan for his video titled "My longest yeah boy ever".
Primarily due to its high altitude, Lusaka features a humid subtropical climate (Cwa) according to Köppen climate classification. Its coolest month, July, has a monthly mean temperature of 14.9 °C (58.8 °F). Lusaka features hot summers and warm winters, with cold conditions mainly restricted to nights in June and July. The hottest month is October, which sees daily average high temperatures at around 32 °C (90 °F). There are two main seasons: a wet season and a dry season with the dry season lasting around half the year, from April to October.