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**Historical Overview**:
– Zimbabwe’s previous names: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe Rhodesia
– Term Zimbabwe coined by Michael Mawema in 1960
– Zimbabwe chosen as preferred term by black nationalist movement in 1962
– Archaic human settlement dates back 500,000 years
– San people were earliest known inhabitants
– Bantu-speaking farmers arrived around 2,000 years ago
– Shona states emerged in Zimbabwean highlands from 10th century
– Kingdom of Mutapa ruled Zimbabwe and parts of Mozambique from 1450 to 1760
– British South Africa Company established Rhodesia region in 1890
– Rhodesia faced international isolation after declaring independence in 1965
– Independence as Zimbabwe achieved in 1980 after guerrilla war
– Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister in 1980

**Political Landscape**:
– Independence as Zimbabwe in 1980 after peace agreement
– Robert Mugabe ruled from 1980 to 2017
– Mugabe resigned in 2017 after a coup d’état
– Emmerson Mnangagwa became president in 2017
– Mugabe’s regime marked by authoritarianism and human rights violations
– Zimbabwe is a republic with a presidential system of government
– The ruling ZANU-PF party has won every election since independence
– The Senate was reinstated in 2005 under constitutional changes

**Geography and Environment**:
– Landlocked country in Southern Africa
– Bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique
– Capital and largest city is Harare
– Population of roughly 15 million people
– Zimbabwe has a central plateau and mountainous Eastern Highlands
– Victoria Falls, a major waterfall, is located in the northwest
– The highest point is Mount Nyangani at 2,592 m
– Zimbabwe has experienced two major post-Gondwana erosion cycles
– The country has diverse geological formations
– Zimbabwe contains seven terrestrial ecoregions
– Recurring droughts have impacted the country
– Deforestation and poaching have reduced wildlife

**Economic Challenges and Social Issues**:
– Economy declined from 1997 to 2008, followed by rapid growth
– Calls for subsequent land reform increased due to rising inequality
– Multiracial democracy was introduced to Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland
– The economy collapsed by 2003
– Up to a quarter of the population fled the country
– Operation Murambatsvina in 2005 left many urban poor homeless
– Zimbabwe faced international sanctions and was suspended from the Commonwealth
– Negative comments from citizens on the government’s handling of funds

**Human Rights and Governance**:
– Reports of human rights violations under Mugabe administration
– Violations of rights to shelter, food, freedom of movement, and assembly
– Evidence of crimes against humanity under Mugabe’s rule
– Male homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe
– Repression of opposition gatherings and media rights
– Tsvangirai contested rigged elections against Mugabe
– MDC-T challenged election fraud in the 2008 general election
– Donor nations adopted a wait-and-see attitude towards funding Zimbabwe
– Mnangagwa voiced support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2023

Zimbabwe (Wikipedia)

Zimbabwe (/zɪmˈbɑːbw, -wi/ ; Shona pronunciation: [zi.ᵐba.ɓwe]), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the north, and Mozambique to the east. The capital and largest city is Harare, and the second largest is Bulawayo.

Republic of Zimbabwe
Motto: "Unity, Freedom, Work"
Anthem: "Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe"
Location of Zimbabwe (dark green)
Location of Zimbabwe (dark green)
and largest city
17°49′45″S 31°03′08″E / 17.82917°S 31.05222°E / -17.82917; 31.05222
Official languages16 languages:
Ethnic groups
Zimbo (colloquial)
GovernmentUnitary presidential republic
• President
Emmerson Mnangagwa
Constantino Chiwenga
Kembo Mohadi
National Assembly
Independence from the United Kingdom
• Declared
11 November 1965
• Republic
2 March 1970
1 June 1979
18 April 1980
15 May 2013
• Total
390,757 km2 (150,872 sq mi) (60th)
• Water (%)
• 2024 January estimate
16,868,409 (73rd)
• 2022 census
• Density
39/km2 (101.0/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $44.448 billion (131st)
• Per capita
Increase $2,749 (175th)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $32.424 billion (106th)
• Per capita
Increase $2,005 (149th)
Gini (2019)Negative increase 50.3
HDI (2022)Decrease 0.550
medium (159th)
CurrencyZimbabwe Gold
U.S. dollar ($) (USD)
South African rand; Other currencies
Time zoneUTC+2 (CAT)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideleft
Calling code+263
ISO 3166 codeZW
Internet TLD.zw
Zimbabwe, relief map

A country of roughly 15 million people as per 2022 census, Zimbabwe's largest ethnic group are the Shona, who make up 80% of the population, followed by the Northern Ndebele and other smaller minorities. Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most common. Zimbabwe is a member of the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Beginning in the 9th century, during its late Iron Age, the Bantu people (who would become the ethnic Shona) built the city-state of Great Zimbabwe; the city-state became one of the major African trade centres by the 11th century but was abandoned by the mid 15th century. From there, the Kingdom of Zimbabwe was established, followed by the Rozvi and Mutapa empires. The British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes demarcated the Rhodesia region in 1890 when they conquered Mashonaland and later in 1893 Matabeleland after the First Matabele War. Company rule ended in 1923 with the establishment of Southern Rhodesia as a self-governing British colony. In 1965, the white minority government unilaterally declared independence as Rhodesia. The state endured international isolation and a 15-year guerrilla war with black nationalist forces; this culminated in a peace agreement that established de jure sovereignty as Zimbabwe in April 1980.

Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, when his ZANU–PF party won the general election following the end of white minority rule and has remained the country's dominant party since. He was the President of Zimbabwe from 1987, after converting the country's initial parliamentary system into a presidential one, until his resignation in 2017. Under Mugabe's authoritarian regime, the state security apparatus dominated the country and was responsible for widespread human rights violations. From 1997 to 2008 the economy experienced consistent decline (and in the latter years, hyperinflation), though it has since seen rapid growth after the use of currencies other than the Zimbabwean dollar was permitted. In 2017, in the wake of over a year of protests against his government as well as Zimbabwe's rapidly declining economy, a coup d'état resulted in Mugabe's resignation. Emmerson Mnangagwa has since served as Zimbabwe's president.

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