Kabwe is the capital of the Zambian Central. Formerly named Broken Hill, it was founded when lead and zinc deposits were discovered in 1902.
Kabwe also has a claim to being the birthplace of Zambian politics as it was an important political centre during the colonial period. It is now an important transportation and mining centre.
European/Australian prospectors named it Broken Hill after a similar mine in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. The mine was the largest in the country for around thirty years until it was overtaken in the early 1930s by larger copper mining complexes on the Copper belt.
In 1921 a human fossil, a skull, called Broken Hill Man or Rhodesian man was found in the mine. (Classified as Homo rhodesiensis or Homo heidelbergensis)
A study by the Blacksmith Institute found Kabwe to be one of the ten most polluted places in the world due mostly to heavy metal (mostly zinc and lead) tailings making their way into the local water supply.