oa Africa Insight - Country profile - Zimbabwe

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



Situated between two great river systems in the heart of the southern African subcontinent, Zimbabwe is a tropical parkland with remarkable physical features. Since ancient times the country's bountiful mineral and agricultural resources have lured the enterprising to establish political entities, which prospered as they united their inhabitants and declined when they became torn by internal strife. Likewise, the destiny of modern Zimbabwe depends on the outcome of these forces of fusion and fission. By the fourth century, the migration of Bantu-speaking peoples from the north had probably begun and in about 1000 AD a major group of Bantu-speakers, the Shona-Rozwi, arrived. In the 1300s the Karanga, another Shona group, crossed the Zambezi and later established the Kingdom of Monomatapa, which had the city of Zimbabwe as its capital until the middle of the fifteenth century, where after its centre moved northward to the Zambezi River Valley. However, by the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when Portuguese traders were writing of it, this state was in decline, and by the early nineteenth century it had ceased to exist.

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