History of Zimbabwe


A Brief History of Zimbabwe

•  1000:  Shona people established on Zimbabwean plateau.

•  1821:  Ndebele people split from S. African Zulu tribe, under Chief Mzilikazi migrate north, enslaving the Shona. They eventually assembled in modern day Matabeleland, with Bulawayo as their capital.

•  1888:  Chief Lobengula signs a trade agreement with British South Africa Company (under Cecil Rhodes), granting extensive mineral rights.


Cecil Rhodes

•  1893:  BSAC occupies the region, naming the territory ‘Rhodesia’.

•  1897:  Great Britain recognizes Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) as separate territories.

•  1923:  Southern Rhodesia becomes a self-governing British colony

•  1964:  Federation of Rhodesia dissolved. Northern Rhodesia becomes Zambia, Southern Rhodesia becomes Rhodesia.

•  1965:  Prime Minister Ian Smith declares Unilateral Independence from Britain.


Ian Smith

•  1966:  UN imposes trade sanctions on Rhodesia

•  1969:  Rhodesia introduces new Consitution which would prevent Blacks from ever gaining control of Government.

•  1966-79:  2nd Chimurenga, or Rhodesian Bush War.

•  1979:  Lancaster House talks lead to a peace agreement and new Consitution

•  1980:  Robert Mugabe and ZANU win first independent elections. New Zimbabwe is officially recognized worldwide on 18th April.

**NB 148084 **

Robert Mugabe

•  1982-85:  Gukurahundi (The early rain that washes away the chaff before the first rains). ZANU troops systematically murder approximately 30,000 Ndebele in Matabeleland (including Lupane).

•  1987:  ZANU and ZAPU merge to form a new party, ZANU-PF. Mugabe changes the Constitution, becomes executive president.

•  1998-99:  Economic situation worsens, accompanied by riots and strikes. Opposition party MDC formed.

•  2000:  ‘Jambanja’ begins. This involved the forcible and violent taking by ‘War Veterans of farms from White farmers, effectively demolishing the country’s economy. Thus began a long period of hunger and deprivation.


•  2005:  ZANU-PF ‘wins’ a two thirds majority in parliamentary polls, against a background of violence and cheating. ‘Murambatsvina’ leaves 700,000 homeless.

•  2006:  Currency inflation exceeds 1000%.


•  2008:  Morgan Tsvangirai wins Presidential election. ZANU-PF refuses to release exact results, and demands a run-off. After a sustained campaign of violence, Tsvangirai withdraws his candidacy, Mugabe is declared winner. Tsvangirai, in a power-sharing agreement, is given the post of Prime Minister, with no powers.

•  2009:  Zimbabwean Dollar ceases to trade, following the worst case of hyperinflation ever seen in a country not at war. Government adopts US dollar. Assassination attempt on Tsvangirai causes death of his wife.

•  2013:  Following gradual easing of International Sanctions, GNU announces Constitutional Referendum. New Constitution limits future presidencies to a maximum of 10 years (Mugabe was 89 at the time…) Fraudulent elections backed by ZANU-PF violence resulted in a 7th Presidential term for Mugabe, and a three quarters ZANU-PF majority in Parliament.


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