Like most of sub-Saharan Africa's countries, Zambia was a false creation of European imperialism during the "scramble for Africa" during the late 1800s. The territory of Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) cut across dozens of ethnic groupings, chiefdoms, and languages and pulled these different societies together under an increasingly centralized colonial state. Colonial rule in Zambia (1899-1964) was a period of "divide and rule" where different chiefdoms were played off each other by the BSAC and the British government, respectively. (Although specific African leaders would often use colonial power to achieve their own ends).
When vast copper reserves were discovered in the mid-1920s the country was mobilized to mine this valuable mineral to enrich the colonial powers, whilst the rest of the economy was neglected. As Marcia Burdette noted in her Zambia: Between Two Worlds, the colonial administration transformed Zambia into "a mineral-exporting enclave with a vast underdeveloped hinterland." Due to the growing nationalist militancy of the African population, independence was achieved in 1964. Zambia's post-colonial politics can be divided into 3 periods, each of which corresponds to the establishment of a new republic and constitution.