August 14, 2012


Zimbabwe (/zɪmˈbɑːbw/ zim-bahb-way; officially the Republic of Zimbabwe) is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambiaand a tip of Namibia to the northwest (making this area a quadripoint) and Mozambique to the east. The capital is Harare. Zimbabwe achieved recognised independence from Britain in April 1980, following a 14-year period as an unrecognised state under the predominantlywhite minority government of Rhodesia, which unilaterally declared independence in 1965. Rhodesia briefly reconstituted itself as black-majority ruled Zimbabwe Rhodesia in 1979, but this order failed to gain international acceptance.
Zimbabwe has three official languagesEnglishShona and Ndebele. The country today equivalent to Zimbabwe was first demarcated by the British South Africa Company in the late 19th century; it became the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923. PresidentRobert Mugabe is the head of State and Commander in Chief of the armed forcesMorgan Tsvangirai is the Prime Minister. Mugabe has been in power since the country's internationally recognised independence in 1980.
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The country is mostly savanna, although the moist and mountainous east supports tropical evergreen and hardwood forests. Trees include teak and mahogany, knobthorn, msasa and baobab. Among the numerous flowers and shrubs are hibiscus, spider lily, leonotus, cassia, tree wisteria and dombeya.
Mammals include Hippopotamus, Rhinoceros, Baboon, Okapi, Giraffe, Kudu, Sable, Zebra, Warthog, Porcupine, Badger, Otter, Hare and many more. In all, there are around 350 species of mammals.
Snakes and lizards abound. The largest lizard, the water monitor, is found in many rivers, as are several species of crocodile. More than 500 species of birds like the Ant-thrush, Barbet, Bee-eater, Bishop bird, Bulbul, Bush-warbler, Guineafowl, Emerald cuckoo, Grouse, Gray lourie, and Pheasant. Not forgetting the Insect kingdom.
Zimbabwe has quite an incredible biodiversity. However, it contains a large amount of the conventional tropical flora and the African fauna. Mostly blanketed with savanna grasslands, its mountains nevertheless consist of evergreen forests. The chief animals of the country are the Big Five game, a few Primates and Antelope . A diverse variety of marine and avian fauna is also to be found amongst the 131 species of fish; the tiger fish is a specialty.
Proto-Shona speaking societies first emerged in the middle Limpopo valley in the 9th century before moving on to the Zimbabwean highlands. The Zimbabwean plateau eventually became the center of subsequent Shona states, beginning in ca. the 10th century. Around the early 10th century, trade developed with Arab merchants on the Indian Ocean coast, helping to develop the Kingdom of Mapungubwe in the 11th century. This was the precursor to the more impressive Shona civilisations that would dominate the region during the 13th to 15th centuries, evidenced by ruins at Great Zimbabwe, near Masvingo, and other smaller sites. The main archaeological site is a unique dry stone architecture.
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