Western Province

Western Province, province (1990 pop. 607,497), c.63,000 sq mi (163,170 sq km), W Zambia. The capital is Mongu. The area, covered mostly by savanna, is drained by the Zambezi River. Livestock and grain are raised, and teak is produced. In the early 19th cent. the province was the site of the kingdom of the Lozi (or Barotse) people; they were conquered in 1838 by Kalolo invaders from what is now Lesotho, but regained power in 1864. In 1890 and 1900, Lewanika, the Lozi paramount chief, signed treaties with the British South Africa Company, which gave the company extensive trading and mining rights. As Barotseland the area became (1911) a province of the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, although it retained considerable autonomy. The Barotseland Agreement (1964) officially made the province part of Northern Rhodesia when it became independent as Zambia, but there was some separatist sentiment among the Lozi after 1964. The agreement called for preserving some of Barotseland's autonomy, but the agreement was subsequently abrogated by the Kuanda government. The province was given its current name in 1969. In the early 21th cent., some Lozi increasingly called for the province to become independent, and in 2012 the Barotseland National Council, a group of traditional leaders, called for self-determination.

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