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country, Great Zimbabwe, Mutapa, Zambezi River, Victoria Falls

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Zimbabwe, country in southern Africa, named after the famous 14th-century stone-built city of Great Zimbabwe, located in the southeast. The country is renowned for the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and for its bountiful wildlife. Zimbabwe’s population is divided into two main ethnic and linguistic groups, the Ndebele and the Shona, the former mostly inhabiting the southwest. The capital is Harare, which is the center of a commercial farming district.

Inhabited for at least 2,000 years, the region of present-day Zimbabwe was the site of several large African states, notably Great Zimbabwe, Mutapa, and the Rozwi Empire. Zimbabwe was the British colony of Southern Rhodesia from the late 1800s until 1965, when its white settlers proclaimed it the state of Rhodesia, which Britain refused to recognize. In 1980 the majority black population won independence for the country as Zimbabwe.


For younger readers

Barnes-Svarney, Patricia. Zimbabwe. Chelsea House, 1997. For readers in grades 5 to 9.

Harrison, Peter, ed. History of Southern Africa. Facts on File, 2003. Reference work for grades 7 and up.

Rogers, Barbara Radcliffe, and Stillman D. Rogers. Zimbabwe. Children's Press, 2002. In the Enchantment of the World series, for readers in grades 4 to 8.

Sheehan, Sean. Zimbabwe. 2nd ed. Marshall Cavendish, 2004. For readers in grades 5 to 7.


De Wall, Victor. The Politics of Reconciliation: Zimbabwe's First Decade. Africa World, 1991. An examination of cooperation between blacks and whites.

Dzimba, John. South Africa's Destabilization of Zimbabwe, 1980-89. St. Martin's, 1998. A study of South Africa's attempt in the 1980s to destabilize its black-ruled neighbor.

Godwin, Peter. Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa. Grove/Atlantic, 1997. A journalist remembers his boyhood in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1960s.

Ranger, Terence O. Are We Not Also Men? The Samkange Family and African Politics of Zimbabwe 1920-64. Heinemann, 1996. This biography of a prominent family sheds light on the social and political history of the region.

Rasmussen, R. Kent, and Steven C. Rubert. Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe. 3rd ed. Scarecrow, 2001. Reference on Zimbabwean history.

Smith, Ian. The Great Betrayal: The Memoirs of Africa's Most Controversial Leader. Seven Hills, 1997. Former Rhodesian prime minister Smith engineered independence from Britain and resisted black majority rule. In this work, he recalls his years in office.

Weiss, Ruth. Sir Garfield Todd and the Making of Zimbabwe. St. Martin's, 1999. The story of a white Rhodesian reformer who supported multiracial sharing of power.


Newitt, Malyn D. D., B.A., Ph.D. Professor of History in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, King's College, London. Author of The Camera Islands: Struggle Against Dependency in the Indian Ocean and other books.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

country, Great Zimbabwe, Mutapa, Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Ndebele, white settlers, Harare, Shona, southern Africa, capital, population, independence, Britain, center, site, years

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