Zimbabwe Facts

Zimbabwe Facts and History


Zimbabwe – Former Rhodesia

Zimbabwe – the former Rhodesia – is a landlocked country in Southeast Africa and covers an area of 390,580 km². In English the country is called Zimbabwe.

In recent times, the news of the drastic measures taken by the dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe (born 1924) has shaped the image of the country in the world. In an election that election observers did not consider to be free and fair, he secured power for a further six years in 2002. In the mid-1990s, his campaign against homosexuals, and in 2005 the destruction of slum areas and the displacement of around 700,000 alleged opponents of the regime, aroused international protests.

In 2000, Mugabe’s government implemented land reforms aimed at eliminating the unequal distribution of large estates; previously, the 40,000 white farmers owned as much agricultural land as the land-owning 4 million blacks. The land reform that expropriated the white landlords, however, had catastrophic consequences because, on the one hand, the resettlement of small farmers did not work as desired and, on the other hand, the newly appointed landowners lacked the money, knowledge and employees to be able to cultivate the land assigned to them. The result was famines and a decline in exports, including the main export good, tobacco, which placed an additional burden on the state.

In the presidential runoff election on June 27, 2008, Mugabe was the only candidate. The leader of the opposition Tsvangirai had withdrawn his candidacy shortly before the election out of fear for his life and that of his supporters. On June 29, 84-year-old Robert Gabriel Mugabe was sworn in again as president.

Around 1.6 million people in the country are HIV positive and several million people are hungry. At the end of November 2008, a severe cholera epidemic broke out in the country, killing thousands of people.

Zimbabwe has significant UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the 2 km wide Victoria Waterfalls on the border with Zambia, where the Zambezi River plunges down to 110 meters. The ruins of the former colonial city of Greater Zimbabwe are the largest building complex south of the Sahara that has survived from this period. In addition, numerous areas of Zimbabwe have been declared national parks. They form the habitat for many rare animal and plant species and have special scenic beauties such as huge bizarre granite formations (in the Rhodes-Matopos National Park).

Name of the country Republic of Zimbabwe
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location Landlocked in southern Africa
National anthem Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe
Population approx. 16.5 million (Credit: Countryaah: Zimbabwe Population)
Languages English as well as Shona, Fanalago, Cishona u. Isindebele
Capital Harare
Surface 390,580 km²
Highest mountain Inyangani with a height of 2,592 m
Longest river Zambezi with a length of 2,660 km
Largest lake Kariba Lake with an area of 7,770 km²
International license plate ZW
National currency US dollars, South African rand and the renminbi
Time difference to CET + 1 h
International phone code 00263
Voltage frequency 220/230 volts and 50 Hertz(an adapter is recommended.)
Internet TDL (Top Level Domain) . or

Zimbabwe: history

Until the 18th century

The first empires of the Shona people emerged in the early 13th century and now constitute the largest group of the population. In the 15th century this epoch reached its climax with the heyday of the city of Zimbabwe.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, since the 15th century, the influence of the Portuguese colonialists increased. From the beginning of the 15th century they controlled the coastal sections of the African east coast and thus the trade with the Arab states, the empires of the Shona and the subsequent Torwa and Rotse through the sale of the rich treasures of gold, copper and gold in the region Made ivory rich. Later, the Portuguese penetrated into the interior of what is now Zimbabwe, and from 1629 to 1693 the area was under Portuguese protectorate.

In the 19th century

From 1824 the country was conquered by the Ndebele, who fled from the Zulu and subjugated the local population.

In 1888 the Briton Cecil Rhodes from the British South Africa Company (BSAC) came to the territory of the Ndebele, where he assumed it was like gold. From 1889 British settlers occupied the country with the help of soldiers after Great Britain had authorized the BSAC to do so. Ten years later the area was renamed to Rhodes in Southern Rhodesia. Northern Rhodesia was south of the Zambezi and is today’s Zambia.

20th century until today

Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony in 1923. In 1953 both parts of Rhodesia were united with Nyassaland (Malawi) to form the Central African Federation, which lasted ten years. In 1965, a white minority government declared the independence of Southern Rhodesia, which was not recognized by Great Britain.

In 1970 the white minority government proclaimed the Republic of Southern Rhodesia, which was not recognized by any other nation. Guerrilla resistance by the black population and a civil war that lasted until 1979 with 40,000 dead and 80,000 refugees were the result.

1979-1980 the Lancaster House Agreement was signed, which resulted in the disarmament of the revolutionary guerrillas, the holding of elections and the release of independence. Thereupon Robert Gabriel Mugabe (born 1924), who had brought the majority of the Shona on his side, won the election. In the following years about half of the more than 200,000 whites left the country.

In 1987 the Mugabe government ordered punitive expeditions with numerous civilian victims in Matabeleland due to unrest. In 1990 a one-party government voted for a socialist development path. In order to prevent an international flight of capital, the government decided instead to adopt IMF-supported economic measures. One of the main reasons for this was the severe damage that Zimbabwe’s agriculture suffered as a result of the 1992 drought.

The government under President Mugabe increasingly assumed the features of a personal dictatorship, combined with serious corruption in the party and administration. In the mid-1990s, Mugabe began a campaign against homosexuals that can now be punished with ten years in prison. From 1999 the expropriation of the whites began, who, although less than 1% of the population, held 70% of the arable land in their hands.

After the expropriation of numerous white farmers, the formerly agricultural exporting country even had to import food. An unprecedented impoverishment process has since spread in the country. In addition, according to UN estimates, around 1.6 million people in Zimbabwe suffer from AIDS or are infected with the HI virus.

After Zimbabwe’s Commonwealth membership was suspended in 2002 in response to Mugabe’s apparent electoral fraud, Mugabe himself declared the country’s exit in 2003.

In May 2005, Mugabe started the so-called “Drive Out Waste” campaign. As a result of this action against the supposed opponents of the ruling clique under Mugabe, around 700,000 people were expelled from the slums of the cities and their houses were destroyed within two months. As a result, they lost their shelter and mostly also their livelihoods. International protests followed, but – as always in such cases – they paid lip service and had no effect.

The elections at the end of March 2008 likely resulted in defeat for Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. But he then simply did not have the election results published and his thugs put the opposition under massive pressure. Since then, supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have suffered from ever worsening persecution.

Following the announcement of the results of the March 2008 presidential election, it emerged that opposition candidate Morgan rRchard Tsvangirai (born 1952) had won the election but did not achieve an absolute majority, so that a runoff between him and Mugabe was required he agreed on May 9th and which took place on June 27th. In this runoff election, Robert Gabriel Mugabe was the only candidate. The opposition candidate Tsvangirai withdrew his candidacy shortly before the election out of fear for his life and that of his supporters. On June 29, 2008, Mugabe was sworn in again as President.

Zimbabwe Facts