A Brief History of Zimbabwe

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            The land now known as the country of Zimbabwe has been called by many names. In 1898 when it was colonized by the British it was called Southern Rhodesia. A century later in 1961 a constitution was formed in the country, which unfortunately was written to favor the primarily white powers in the country. The country’s predominantly white government declared its independence from British rule in 1965. However, the UK government demanded that the black African majority in the country be given more voting rights before they would recognize the declaration of independence. In 1979 a guerrilla uprising in the country resulted in the first free elections. By 1980 former Rhodesia becoming Zimbabwe, a country free from British rule. Zimbabwe means “House of Stone” in one of the country’s official languages, Shona.

            Despite its newly found independence, Zimbabwe’s next decades would be far from peaceful. Robert Mugabe, the nation’s first prime minister, began a land redistribution campaign in 1997. The campaign, later referred to as “chaotic,” resulted in an exodus of white famers. The exit of farmers ultimately crippled the economy, and created widespread shortages of basic commodities. In 2000 the campaign intensified resulting in persistent turmoil which has continued ever since. By 2009, Mugabe was made to share his governmental power with the newly elected prime minister, Morgan Twswangirai. Previous to the last few decades in its history, Zimbabwe was once thought of to be one of southern Africa’s most prosperous countries- it was even given the nickname of Africa’s “breadbasket.”

 

Zimbabwe. CIA World Factbook. 4 Dec. 2018. Web. 

Power, Samantha. “How to Kill a Country.” The Atlantic. Dec. 2003. Web. 

 Banner image sourced from https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/zimbabwe.htm

Map sourced from https://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/africa/zw.htm