Zimbabwe Key Dates

300 AD    First Stone Age settlements.
5th C.    Bantu people arrive in the area.
11th-15th C.    Centre of flourishing Shona-based African civilisation, builders of the massive stone fortress at Great Zimbabwe (near Masvingo).
1830s    Ndebele people from South Africa conquer the south of present day Zimbabwe.
1885    South African leader Cecil J. Rhodes obtains mining rights from the Ndebele King Lobengula.
1889    British South Africa Company (BSAC) under Cecil Rhodes colonises the region under royal charter.
1890    City of Salisbury (now Harare) founded by settlers.
1893    BSAC troops defeat uprising by the Ndebele tribe.
1896-97    Uprisings by Ndebele and Shona are quelled by BSAC (1st Chimurenga).
1898    Name of Southern Rhodesia adopted.
1923    Southern Rhodesia becomes a self-governing colony British colony. White rule formalised in 1930.
1934    Black nationalist group African National Congress (ANC) founded with help from Congress Party of India.
1953    Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland formed from the former colonies of Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia. Salisbury is the capital.
1957    ANC reactivated under leadership of Joshua Nkomo.
1959    ANC banned by Federation Government.
1961    Zimbabwe African Patriotic Union (ZAPU) formed by Joshua Nkomo – banned in 1962.
1961    New constitution adopted, providing for nearly complete independence from Britain.
1962    Racial segregationist Rhodesian Front party wins elections.
August 1963    Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) formed from offshoot of ZAPU, led by Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole and Robert Mugabe.
December 1963    Federation breaks up due to racial discrimination policies of Federal Govt. Northern Rhodesia becomes Zambia, Nyasaland becomes Malawi. Southern Rhodesia remains a British colony.
April 1964    New Prime Minister Ian Smith rejects demands for black majority rule. ZANU banned.
1965    Talks with Britain on independence fail over demands for black majority rule.
May 1965    Ian Smith wins elections.
11 November 1965    Rhodesia issues Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from Britain. Southern Rhodesia renamed Rhodesia. Independence not recognised by other nations.
1966    ANC, ZANU and ZAPU begin guerrilla war (2nd Chimurenga).
1967    South Africa begins to assist in anti-guerilla war.
1967    Rhodesia is first country to have UN sanctions imposed on it.
2 March 1970    Rhodesia declared a republic.
1976    South Africa officially ends support to Rhodesia government.
1976    ZANU and ZAPU unite to form Patriotic Front (PF).
1977    PF steps up guerrilla war from bases in surrounding ‘frontline’ countries.
March 1978    Rhodesian Govt. reaches settlement with moderate African nationalists for transition to black majority rule. Settlement rejected by PF and United Nations.
January 1979    New constitution enfranchises all blacks while retaining some protection for whites. Country renamed Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
31 May 1979    Bishop Abel Muzorewa becomes first black Prime Minister. Fighting between black nationalist groups.
November 1979    Lancaster House agreement. PF agrees to new settlement.
11 December 1979    Zimbabwe-Rhodesia votes to become British colony again.
1980    British Governor oversees elections for new government. UN Sanctions lifted.
18 April 1980    Zimbabwe formally gains independence. Robert Mugabe becomes Prime Minister after landslide election victory.
1980    Zimbabwe admitted to United Nations.
1982    Zimbabwe sends troops to Mozambique to secure the ‘Beira Corridor’ railway route and other strategic locations.
1983    Mugabe sacks Nkomo and accuses him of preparing to overthrow the government.
1983-84    Some 20,000 persons feared killed by Govt. troops in crushing a rebellion in Matabeleland amongst followers of Nkomo (ZAPU-PF).
1987    Reserved seats for whites in parliament are abolished.
22 December 1987    ZAPU-PF and ZANU-PF unite under Mugabe as the ZANU-PF.
1 January 1988    Constitutional change introduces executive President in place of Prime Minister. Mugabe is President.
March 1992    New law allows compulsory land redistribution from white farmers to blacks.
March 1996    Opponents withdraw from presidential election after voting rules are changed to favour Mugabe.
1998    Economic crisis provokes riots and strikes.
1999    Zimbabwe military forces deployed to assist beleaguered Democratic Republic of Congo government.
September 1999    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party formed by the ZCTU and various groups.
February 2000    Mugabe defeated in referendum on draft constitution. Squatters seize hundreds of white-owned farmers in violent campaign.
July 2001    Finance Minister admits economic crisis and serious food shortages.
February 2002    Parliament passes law limiting press freedom.
March 2002    Mugabe wins another rigged presidential election.
April 2002    State of disaster declared as worsening food shortages threaten famine. UN says farm seizures are a contributing factor.
December 2002    ZANU-PF government accused of preventing emergency food supplies from reaching areas supporting the MDC.

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