Introduction of Rhodesia
A land locked country of south-central Africa, nowZimbabwe. Its capital is at Harare, formerly Salisbury.A flourishing culture centered around the massivelybuilt center of Great Zimbabwe, south of FortVictoria, which flourished in the 14th century. Zimbabwemay have been the capital of the Shona kingdomof Guruuswa, which traded extensively with thecoastal city-states of Tanzania. By the middle of the15th century Zimbabwe had lost its preeminence tothe emergent northern kingdom of Mwanamutapa(Monomotapa), which actively developed the regionof the Zambezi River.Portuguese explorers discovered Mwanamutapain the 16th century and actively began to trade forgold; at the same time they sought to dominate thekingdom. In the early 17th century their efforts hadweakened the kingdom's control over its interiorregions, and in 1630 Portuguese machinations culminatedin the installment of a puppet king on thethrone. This coup opened the door for an influx ofsettlers and Catholic missionaries, forming a Europeangroup that successfully resisted attempts by succeedingkings to oust it. By 1700 Mwanamutapa'sinfluence had been destroyed.The next invasion of outsiders into the region cameas a result of the devastating success of King Shaka inZululand during the 1820s. A general of Shaka'snamed Mzilikazi decided to carve out his own principalityand easily conquered the region north of theVaal River. However, Afrikaners from the Cape Colonymoved in to contest Mzilikazi's dominion and in1837 forced him and his followers to head north insearch of new land . They settled in what became Rhodesiaand established their capitals at Inyati and Bulawayo.Mzilikazi and his Ndebele tribesmen establisheda powerful and efficient conquest state that totallydominated the native Shona peoples.Great Britain became interested in Rhodesiaduring the latter part of the 19th century and in 1890a colonizing party of British and European SouthAfricans entered Rhodesia from Bechuanaland under the aegis of Cecil Rhodes's British South AfricaCompany. Ousting the native Shona, the invadersestablished Fort Salisbury deep in Rhodesian territory.An increasing flow of South African settlers followed,and they began to press the Ndebele. In 1893the settlers forced the Ndebele to accept an exploitativetreaty and proceeded to take all the choicestland . Three years later Ndebele anger exploded in abloody rebellion, and they were joined by the Shonain attacks on the European settlers. After a year offierce fighting both tribes were resubjugated.The British South Africa Company administeredthe largely autonomous British protectorate of SouthernRhodesia until 1923, when the European settlersopted for independent home rule as a British colony.Southern Rhodesia's mining and agricultural interestsprospered, with a firm racist policy reserving alladvantages for the white minority. Increasinglyrepressive laws patterned on South Africa's apartheidpolicy were enacted, restricting African freedom. In1953 Great Britain established the Federation ofRhodesia and Nyasaland , which lasted until 1964.In 1965 an ultraconservative government headed byIan Smith reacted to British pressure to make concessionsto African nationalists by unilaterally declaringRhodesia's independence from Great Britain, whichviewed this as unlawful rebellion and quickly moved,with UN Security Council backing, to clamp down apunitive trade embargo. Smith's government easilycontinued in power, with economic backing fromSouth Africa and Portugal, and in 1970 declaredRhodesia to be an independent republic.African nationalist forces stepped up guerrillaactivity against the white minority regime, and fightingescalated throughout the 1970s. In 1978 the Smithgovernment formulated a plan for black majority rulewith moderate African leaders that would protectmany white privileges. The guerrilla leaders rejectedthis and continued their warfare, even after the electionof Abel Muzorewa as the first prime minister ofZimbabwe-Rhodesia in 1979. Fighting halted whenMuzorewa agreed to turn rule over to Great Britain,pending a new general election, and in 1980 RobertMugabe became the prime minister of the new republicof Zimbabwe.