Rhodesia gained independence after ninety years as a British colony, taking the new name Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe, head of Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), took power as prime minister. Dr Canaan Banana was elected president and Joshua Nkomo, head of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (Zapu), Mugabe’s partner in the armed struggle, became minister of the interior.

In 1888 the British South Africa Company, under Cecil John Rhodes, gained permission from the Ndebele to mine gold in the country. More and more settlers arrived, resulting in conflict with the Ndebele in 1893. In 1923 Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony.

The Federation of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, which became Zambia, and Nyasaland, now Malawi, was formed in 1953. The Federation disintegrated in 1963. On 11 November 1965 Prime Minister Ian Smith unilaterally declared Rhodesia independent. The 1972-1979 war of independence between nationalist Blacks and the minority White government left 27 000 dead.

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