transport | urbanism | adventures | pontification
On the last of my four days in Zambia, I took a guided tour of the Livingstone Railway Museum. With the completion of the Victoria Falls Bridge in 1905, Livingstone became an important transit point in colonial East Africa. It was intriguing to see some of the remnants of this time. From Wikipedia:
In the mid 1890s Rhodesian Railways had reached Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia spurring industrial development there, fuelled by the coal mines at Hwange just 110 km (68 mi) south-east of Mosi-oa-Tunya. The railway was extended to Hwange for the coal, but Rhodes’ vision was to keep pushing north to extend the British Empire, and he would have built it to Cairo if he could. In 1904 the railway reached the Falls on the southern side and construction of the Victoria Falls Bridge started. Too impatient to wait for its completion, Rhodes had the line from Livingstone to Kalomo built and operations started some months in advance of the bridge using a single locomotive which was conveyed in pieces by temporary cableway across the gorge next to the bridge building site.
With the new Bridge open in September 1905, Livingstone boomed and the British South Africa Company moved the capital of the territory there in 1907. In 1911 the company merged the territory with North-Eastern Rhodesia as Northern Rhodesia.
Livingstone prospered from its position as a gateway to trade between north and south sides of the Zambezi, as well as from farming in the Southern Province and commercial timber production from forests to its north-west. A number of colonial buildings were erected which still stand. Although the capital was moved to Lusaka in 1935 to be closer to the economic heartland of the Copperbelt, industries based on timber, hides, tobacco, cotton (including textiles) and other agricultural products grew up.
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