Zimbabwe, country in southern Africa, formerly known as Southern Rhodesia and then as Rhodesia. Zimbabwe was named after the famous 14th-century stone-built city of Great Zimbabwe, located in the southeast. The country is renowned for the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and for its bountiful wildlife. Zimbabwe's population is divided into two main ethnic and linguistic groups, the Ndebele and the Shona, the former mostly inhabiting the southwest. The capital is Harare, formerly known as Salisbury, which is the center of a rich commercial farming district. Zimbabwe's economy is diversified, with services, industry, and agriculture providing a balanced share of the country's earnings.
Inhabited for at least 2,000 years, the region of present-day Zimbabwe was the site of several large African states, notably Great Zimbabwe, Mwene Mutapa, and the Rozwi Empire. Zimbabwe was the British colony of Southern Rhodesia from the late 1800s until 1965, when its white settlers proclaimed it the state of Rhodesia, which Britain refused to recognize. In 1980 the majority black population won independence for the country as Zimbabwe. Since independence, Zimbabwe has played a significant role in regional political struggles while remaining relatively stable.
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