The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the [British] South Africa Company in 1923. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more complete voting rights for the black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980. Robert MUGABE has been the country's only ruler (as president since 1980) and has dominated the country's political system since independence.



Location: Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia
Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 30 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 390,580 sq km

land: 386,670 sq km

water: 3,910 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Montana
Land boundaries: total: 3,066 km
Border countries: Botswana 813 km, Mozambique 1,231 km, South Africa 225 km, Zambia 797 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy Season (November to March)
Terrain: mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld); mountains in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Runde and Save rivers 162 m

highest point: Inyangani 2,592 m
Natural resources: coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals
Land use: arable land: 8.24%

permanent crops: 0.33%

other: 91.43% (2005)
Total renewable water resources: 20 cu km (1987)
Natural hazards: recurring droughts; floods and severe storms are rare
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; land degradation; air and water pollution; the black rhinoceros herd, once the largest concentration of the species in the world, has been significantly reduced by poaching; poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution
Geography - note: landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zambia; in full flood (February-April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world's largest curtain of falling water



Population: 11,350,111
Nationality: noun: Zimbabwean(s) 
adjective: Zimbabwean
Ethnic groups: African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%
Religions: syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%
Languages: English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects
Literacy: total population: 90.7%




Country name:    
long form: Republic of Zimbabwe 
short form: Zimbabwe 
former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia
Government type:    
parliamentary democracy
name: Harare 
geographic coordinates: 17 50 S, 31 03 E
18 April 1980 
National holiday:
Independence Day, 18 April (1980)
Constitution: 21 December 1979
Legal system: 
mixture of Roman-Dutch and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal
Supreme Court; High Court

Flag description: seven equal horizontal bands of green, yellow, red, black, red, yellow, and green with a white isosceles triangle edged in black with its base on the hoist side; a yellow Zimbabwe bird representing the long history of the country is superimposed on a red five-pointed star in the center of the triangle, which symbolizes peace; green symbolizes agriculture, yellow - mineral wealth, red - blood shed for independence, and black stands for the native people





Economy - overview: Zimbabwe is recovering slowly.
Agriculture - products:
corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; sheep, goats, pigs
Industries: mining (coal, gold, platinum, copper, nickel, tin, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel; wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages
Currency (code): US$




Telephone system: general assessment: system was once one of the best in Africa, but now suffers from poor maintenance; more than 100,000 outstanding requests for connection despite an equally large number of installed but unused main lines; a substantial mobile-cellular network; 
international: country code - 263;
Internet country code: .zw




Airports: 341 (2007)
Railways: total: 3,077 km
Roadways: total: 97,440 km

paved: 18,514 km

unpaved: 78,926 km (2002)
Ports and terminals: Binga, Kariba




Military branches:
Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF): Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), Zimbabwe Republic Police (2005)

Transnational Issues


Disputes - international: Botswana built electric fences and South Africa has placed military along the border to stem the flow of thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing to find work and escape political persecution; Namibia has supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to, plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 2,500 (Democratic Republic of Congo) 
IDPs: 569,685 (MUGABE-led political violence, human rights violations, land reform, and economic collapse) (2007)


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