Chronography of Zimbabwe

Page last modified 20 August 2023


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Map of railway changes of Zimbabwe

Demography of Zimbabwe


See also Africa


Mugabe Presidency

6 September 2019, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, former President of Zimbabwe (born 21 February 1924) died aged 95. He became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980 and President from 1987. However his authoritarian rule alienated many people, especially during the last decade of his rule.

21 November 2017, Mugabe bowed to the inevitable and officially resigned as Preident of Zimbabwe. He was succeeded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

15 November 2017, An army coup in Zimbabwe deposed 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

11 February 2009, Morgan Tsvangirai became the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe under a power-sharing agreement with President Mugabe, signed in September 2008.

15 September 2008, In Zimbabwe, negotiations resulted in a power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara; Tsvangirai to be the new Prime Minister.

11 March 2007, Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested as he held a political rally.

2006, As economic sanctions on Zimbabwe bit, inflation exceeded 1,000%.

20 March 2002, In Zimbabwe, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was charged with treason.

19 March 2002, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth for one year, because of violence during the recent Presidential elections.

11 March 2002. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe �won� presidential elections, widely held to have been rigged.

2000, The number of White settlers in Zimbabwe stood at 70,000, down from 278,000 in 1975. By 2004 almost all the White farmers had departed. Expropriationof White farmers� lands led to food shortages and inflation.

16 October 2000. Food riots hit Harare, capital of Zimbabwe.

11 September 2000, Hand grenade attack on the offices of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe. The Government was widely suspected of complicity.

16 February 2000. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe held a Referendum asking for additional powers, primarily to seize White-owned farms. This was a move to boost his popularity. White farmers still controlled 4,500 farms covering a thord of the country�s arable land area. They also produced 70% of the agricultural output of Zimbabwe, and employed 300,000 Black workers. The elctorate rejected the Referendum proposal. Mugabe then declared these White farmers �enemies of Zimbabwe� and encouraged veterans from the war of liberation (against White rule) to seize the farms, drive out the owners, and intimiadet and kill any White owners or Black workers who resisted. The first white farmer to be murdered by Mugabe�s war veterans was David Stevens, on 15 April2000. By 15 May 2000 1,000 farms had been invaded and 19 people killed in political violence.

6/1999, A new Opposition Party was founded by Trades Unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, called the Movement for Democratic Change.

18 January 1999, Canaan Banana, former President of Zimbabwe, was convicted in absentia of sodomy and sentenced to 10 years prison. However he had already fled the country.

10 January 1999, Robert Mugabe arrested 32 soldiers and accused them of plotting a coup, along with two journalists. There were doubts over the validity of this legal process.

11/1998, Workers groups in Zimbabwe protested agaionst corruption, and the intervention in the Congo.

8/1998, Mugabe sent 11,000 troops to fight in the Congo, a cost his country couild not afford.

19 January 1998, Food riots broke out in Zimbabwe as the price of maize meal rose by over 20%. Land confiscations and general mismanagement by Mugabe had crippled the economy. Despite government repression, there was a General Strike � March 1998.

17 March 1996, Mugabe was re-elected President of Zimbabwe.

22 December 1987, Prime Minister Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Joshua Nkomo agreed to unite the ZANU (PF) and ZAPU parties.

1986, The city of Great Zimbabwe wasa declared a World Heritage site.

8 August 1984, In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe announced plans for a one-Party State

9 March 1983, Joshua Nkomo fled Zimbabwe.

17 April1982. Salisbury, capital of Zimbabwe, was renamed Harare.

18 April1980. Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, formally became independent. See 25 September 1976. Robert Mugabe had become Prime Minister of Zimbabwe on 4 March 1980.

11 March 1980. Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, formerly Southern Rhodesia.

4 March 1980. Robert Mugabe was elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Southern Rhodesia had been a British colony since 1889.


Transition to Majority Black rule.

27 January 1980, Robert Mugabe, guerrilla chief, returned from three years exile to Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) to participate in elections that would transfer the country to Black majority rule, under the Lancaster House Agreement. Mugabe, who was expected to win the elections, said that, just because White people oppressed Black people when they had the power, it should not mean that now Black people would oppress White people.

12 December 1979. Lord Soames arrived in southern Rhodesia as the official governor, ending 14 years of rebellion and UDI.

10 September 1979, The Lancaster House Conference in the future of Rhodesia opened.

5 August 1979, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher urged rebel leaders in Rhodesia to hold talks.

1 June 1979, Rhodesia officially changed its name to Zimbabwe.

29 May 1979. Bishop Abel Muzorewa became Rhodesia�s first Black Prime Minister.

21 April 1979, Methodist Bishop Abel Muzorewa�s United African National Council won 51 of the 100 parliamentary seats, in a turnout of 63.9%. Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole�s Zimbabwe African National Union came second with 12 seats. The United National Federal party won 9 seats. The remaining 28 seats were reserved for White candidates.

30 January 1979, White voters in Rhodesia voted to ratify the new Constitution.

10 September 1978, Martial law was imposed in parts of Rhodesia.

4 September 1978, In Rhodesia, guerrillas fighting the Ian Smith regime shot down an airliner with a Russian SAM-7 missile, then massacred the survivors of the crash; they claimed the aeroplane was a �legitimate military target�.

16 May 1978, Rhodesian forces killed 94 at a Black political meeting.

21 March 1978. The first Black Ministers joined the government of Rhodesia. However Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo were excluded.

3 March 1978, Rhodesian forces attacked Zambia.

15 February 1978, Rhodesia�s Ian Smith and three Black leaders agreed on a transfer to Black majority rule.

24 November 1977, Ian Smith said he accepted the idea of universal adult suffrage in Rhodesia, which would mean a Black Government.

1 September 1977, Anglo-American proposals for a transition to legal rule in Rhodesia were published.


31 August 1977. In Rhodesia, Ian Smith�s Rhodesian Front Party won an overwhelming victory.

24 January 1977, The second round of Rhodesian talks failed; Ian Smith rejected British proposals for a transfer of power to Black majority rule.

28 October 1976, A conference on Rhodesia opened in Geneva.

25 September 1976. The government of Rhodesia, led by Mr Ian Smith, announced its acceptance of African rule within two years. Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, became independent on 18 April1980.

23 March 1976, Ian Smith rejected Harold Wilson�s conditions for a Rhodesian settlement.

18 February 1974, Terrorists killed two White farmers and a woman in Rhodesia(Zimbabwe).

3 August 1973, Race riots at the University of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

2 March 1970. Rhodesia was declared a republic. Formerly the colony of Southern Rhodesia, Prime Minister Ian Smith declared UDI.

12 February 1969, Ndabaningi Sithole, leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union, was convicted of incitement to murder Ian Smith.

6/1969, The UK severed all diplomatic ties with Rhodesia.

9 October 1968, Harold Wilson, British PM, met Ian Smith for further talks about Rhodesian independence aboard HMS Fearless moored off Gibraltar.The talks failed to resolve the situation.

7 October 1968. Rhodesia�s leader Ian Smith announced that there would be no majority rule in Rhodesia in his lifetime. He continued with talks between himself and Prime Minister Harold Wilson; but Mr Smith said that �ordinary Africans were incapable of answering the simplest question regarding a constitution�.

22 December 1966, Rhodesia left the Commonwealth.

6 December 1966. Ian Smith of Rhodesia refused UK government proposals to end UDI. Rhodesia left the Commonwealth on 22 December 1966.

2 December 1966, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson met Ian Smith on HMS Tiger off Gibraltar, for talks on the independence of Rhodesia.


Britan asked to use force againsr Rhodesia; can only impose trade embargo 1965-66

9 April1966, The UN authorised Britain to seize by force any oil being shipped to Rhodesia.

2 March 1966, Britain protested to Portugal about oil supplies reaching Rhodesia via Mozambique.

17 February 1966, The UK protested to South Africa about petrol supplies to Rhodesia.

31 January 1966, Britain banned all trade with Rhodesia.

18 December 1965, Nine African States broke off relations with the UK for not using force against Rhodesia.

17 December 1965, Britain imposed an oil embargo on Rhodesia.

5 December 1965, The Organisation of African Unity demanded the UK use military force against Rhodesia. However the UK did not have the military capability to do this unless the Portuguese colonies or South Africa provided bases, which were not forthcoming.


Rhodesian UDI under Ian Smith 1964-65

12 November 1965, The UN called for all nations to refuse to recognise Rhodesian independence under Ian Smith.

11 November 1965. Rhodesia declared UDI from Britain under Ian Smith, the Prime Minister. The opposition leaders Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe were in jail. The British Prime Minister Harold Wilson imposed trade sanctions and an oil embargo. However South Africa, and the neighbouring Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola, assisted Mr Smith in overcoming sanctions, and large multinationals evaded them anyway. However the end of Portuguese rule in Angola and Mozambique in 1975 undermined Mr Smith�s regime and assisted the transfer to Black majority rule there.

25 October 1965. Harold Wilson went to Rhodesia for talks with Ian Smith. But see 11 November 1965.

7 October 1965. Ian Smith met Harold Wilson for talks at 10 Downing Street; the talks failed to avert UDI by Rhodesia on 11 November 1965.

27 October 1964, Wilson warned Rhodesia that a declaration of UDI would be treason.

6 September 1964, Ian Smith arrived in the UK for talks on independence.

13 April1964. Ian Smith became Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He succeeded Winston Field, who had resigned.


1963, African Nationalists in Northern Rhodesia and Nysaland demanded, and got, the dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nysaland. See 1953.

1 April1963, Joshua Nkomo was jailed in Southern Rhodesia.

11 October 1962, Hugh Foot resigned as British representative at the UN in protest at the British Government�s support for the regime in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

20 September 1961. Rhodesian Prime Ministers Ian Smith banned the Black opposition party.

18 May 1960. The Queen Mother opened the Kariba dam on the Zambesi River.

6/1959, The wall of the Kariba Dam (Zambia-Zimbabwe border) was completed.

26 February 1959, State of Emergency in Southern Rhodesia.

6 November 1956. Work began on the Kariba High Dam on the River Zambesi, between Zambia and Zimbabwe. See 18 May 1960.

1953, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zamia) and Nysaland (Malawi) were united as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nysaland. See 1963.

30 May 1925, The British colony of Southern Rhodesia became self-governing as its assembly met for the first time.

21 February 1924, Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, was born.

10 October 1923. Rhodesia, formerly administered by the British South African Company, became a self-governing British colony. A vote had gone against union with South Africa.

27 October 1922, A referendum in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) decided against a union with South Africa.

8 April1919. Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia, was born in Selukwe, then Southern Rhodesia.

1911, Rhodesia was divided into Northern and Southern portions.

1 April1905, The Victoria Falls Bridge (Zimbabwe � Zambia) was completed.

18 November 1904, Gold was discovered in Rhodesia.

6 June 1904, Winston Joseph Field, Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 12/1962, was born in Bromsgrove, England.

1896, Rebellion by the Shona and Ndebele against British rule, quashed in 1897.

11 November 1893, King Lobengula of the Matabele abandoned his capital Bulawayo and fled into exile, where he died in 1894.

4 November 1893. The British defeated the Matabele in battle in Zimbabwe and occupied the capital, Bulawayo.

23 October 1893, Forces of the British South African Company under James Starr suppressed a revolt by the Matabele people in what is now southern and western Zimbabwe.

1891, Britain signed a treaty with Portugal for a railway to be constructed from Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to Beira in Mozambique, as that was a nearer port than Cape Town; in return Portugal would receive a duty of not exceediong 3% of value of goods transported.

12 September 1890. The British South Africa Company founded the town of Salisbury, now Harare, after a pioneer march from South Africa.It was named after the British Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury.

1835, The Shona people were being displaced and subjugated by incoming Ndebele, who forced the Shona to pay them tribute.

1250-1600, Peak of the Mwene Mutapa or Great Zimbabwe Empire. Its wealth was derived from gold mining, cattle grazing, and trading with merchants from the African coast. The capital of Great Zimbabwe had a population of 10,000 and covered some 3 square miles, built with sophisticated drystone walling and drainage. Its suburbs extended even further out. Archeological goods found here include artefacts from Syria, the Indian Ocean islands and even China.

See December 18/great-zimbabwe-archaeology fpr more details.

12001300, Peak of the State of Mapungubwe, in what is now South Africa.


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