Historical Context

History of Modern Zimbabwe

1889- British colonizer Cecil Rhodes creates the British South Africa Company.

1895- The British South Africa Company adopts the name Rhodesia in honor of Cecil Rhodes.

1923- Southern Rhodesia becomes a self-governing British colony after the white minority votes to end BSAC rule. 

1965- Prime Minister of Rhodesia, Ian Smith declares independence under white minority rule. This leads to international outrage and UN economic sanctions.

1980- On April 18th the country gains independence as Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe and his party win elections.

2005- Operation Murambatsvina, a government “clean-up” program to destroy broken down homes and towns, is enacted by the government led by President Mugabe. The police destroys homes and businesses, and around 700,000 people are displaced. The government characterizes it as a way to stop illegal structures from being built and to stop illegal businesses from being run, but it displaces almost the whole country and severely affects the way Zimbabweans live.                                

2008- Robert Mugabe wins presidential re-election after his opponent withdraws from the election due to claims of intimidation.

In July of 2008, the United Nations the widens sanctions that they have against the leaders of Zimbabwe.

2013- Robert Mugabe wins re-election.

2017- Robert Mugabe resigns as President due to a military take over. Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is elected president.

2018- Emmerson Mnangagwa wins presidential election and announces a plan to stabilize the economy and hopes to encourage foreign investment.

Map of Zimbabwe

More resources about Zimbabwe

News articles

Zimbabwean news


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Kate Hollenbeck ’18

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