Zimbabwe History

Zimbabwe history can be dated back to the stone structures at Khami, Great Zimbabwe (below left)and Dhlo-Dhlo as they are the first indications of civilisation around what is now known as Zimbabwe, or to give it its full title the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Great ZimbabweThe first major civilisation in the history of Zimbabwe was that of the Mwene Mutapa and the centuries between 1200 - 1600 saw the rise and fall of the Monomotapa (or Mutapa) Empire (above right) which was brought to its knees in the early seventeenth century by Portuguese traders and settlers. From the ruins of the empire came a new aggressive Rozwi Empire which expunged the Portuguese and augured peace and prosperity for the next two centuries with the centres of Dhlo-Dhlo, Khami, and Great Zimbabwe reaching their peaks until as a result of the mid-19th century turmoil in the Transvaal and Natal, the Rozwi Empire came to an end being conquered by the Ndebele (a branch of the Zulus).

Cecil John RhodesIn the 1880s Zimbabwe history took a colonial turn when the Europeans arrived in the south of the country including one Cecil John Rhodes (right) whose British South Africa Company signed a treaty in 1888 with the Ndebele to mine gold in the kingdom. Following this treaty, the British Government gave the BSA Company a mandate in 1889 to colonise the area that was to become Southern Rhodesia however the rapid influx of European settlers led to conflict with the Ndebele in 1893. The Ndebele were defeated and the colonisation began in earnest.

In 1922 Rhodes' British South Africa Company mandate over the area was ended and despite being in a minority, the whites in the area voted for self-government and shortly afterwards consolidated their position by introducing the Land Apportionment Act in 1930, effectively precluding blacks from land possession, triggering rising intolerance of colonial rule and the emergence of nationalist groups including the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu). For the subsequent events in Zimbabwe history leading up to independence click here


Monomotapa Empire


Zimbabwe History

Zimbabwe History

Zimbabwe History

Zimbabwe History



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Zimbabwe History

Zimbabwe History

A brief history of Zimbabwe from ancient times through the colonial period to Zimbabwe today including a video documentary.


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