Archives are a gift from one generation to another. The level of our care for them marks the level of our civilisation.

The history of the Zambian National Archives dates back to 1935 when the Southern Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) Archives were opened. Services were extended to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi). A depot was opened in Livingstone in 1947, but was closed and its records were transferred to Southern Rhodesia. The depot re-opened in Lusaka in 1956. After the dissolution of the Federation in 1963, the Zambian Archives ceased to be a depot and became the National Archives of Zambia.

In 1969, the National Archives Act was passed in Parliament. Under this law, the legal and sole mandate for the care and preservation of public records was entrusted with the National Archives of Zambia.

The role of the National Archives will be to provide an efficient and effective records management system and safe custody of all public records, archives and printed and non-printed publications in order to ensure lawful access to information by government institutions and the general public.