Zimbabwe profile - Timeline

A chronology of key events:

1200-1600s - Rise and decline of the Monomotapa domain, thought to have been associated with Great Zimbabwe and to have been involved in gold mining and international trade.

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Image caption Zimbabwe was colonised by Cecil John Rhodes (centre) in the late 1800s. The country was named Southern Rhodesia after him

1830s - Ndebele people fleeing Zulu violence and Boer migration in present-day South Africa move north and settle in what becomes known as Matabeleland.

1830-1890s - European hunters, traders and missionaries explore the region from the south. They include Cecil John Rhodes.

1889 - Rhodes' British South Africa Company (BSA) gains a British mandate to colonise what becomes Southern Rhodesia.

Whites settle

1890 - Pioneer column of white settlers arrives from south at site of future capital Harare.

1893 - Ndebele uprising against BSA rule is crushed.

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Image caption White minority leader Ian Smith declared independence from Britain and fought off a bid for black majority rule

1922 - BSA administration ends, the white minority opts for self-government.

1930 - Land Apportionment Act restricts black access to land, forcing many into wage labour.

1930-1960s - Black opposition to colonial rule grows. Emergence in the 1960s of nationalist groups - the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu).

1953 - Britain creates the Central African Federation, made up of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi).

1963 - Federation breaks up when Zambia and Malawi gain independence.

Smith declares UDI

1964 - Ian Smith of the Rhodesian Front (RF) becomes prime minister, tries to persuade Britain to grant independence.

1965 - Smith unilaterally declares independence under white minority rule, sparking international outrage and economic sanctions.

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Image caption Many people took up arms against the white minority government

1972 - Guerrilla war against white rule intensifies, with rivals Zanu and Zapu operating out of Zambia and Mozambique.

1978 - Smith yields to pressure for negotiated settlement. Elections for transitional legislature boycotted by Patriotic Front made up of Zanu and Zapu. New government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, fails to gain international recognition. Civil war continues.

1979 - British-brokered all-party talks at Lancaster House in London lead to a peace agreement and new constitution, which guarantees minority rights.


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Image caption The signing of the Lancaster House agreement led to independence. Future leader Robert Mugabe is pictured on the right

1980 - Veteran pro-independence leader Robert Mugabe and his Zanu party win British-supervised independence elections. Mugabe is named prime minister and includes Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo in his cabinet. Independence on 18 April is internationally recognised.

1982 - Mugabe sacks Nkomo, accusing him of preparing to overthrow the government.

North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade deployed to crush rebellion by pro-Nkomo ex-guerrillas in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. Government forces are accused of killing thousands of civilians over next few years.

1987 - Mugabe, Nkomo merge their parties to form Zanu-PF, ending the violence in southern areas.

1987 - Mugabe changes constitution, becomes executive president.

1991 - The Commonwealth adopts the Harare Declaration at its summit in Zimbabwe, reaffirming its aims of fostering international peace and security, democracy, freedom of the individual and equal rights for all.

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Image caption Independence fighter Joshua Nkomo was a friend and then a rival of Robert Mugabe

1998 - Economic crisis accompanied by riots and strikes.

1999 - Economic crisis persists, Zimbabwe's military involvement in DR Congo's civil war becomes increasingly unpopular.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formed.

Farm seizures

2000 February - President Mugabe suffers defeat in referendum on draft constitution.

Squatters seize hundreds of white-owned farms in an ongoing and violent campaign to reclaim what they say was stolen by settlers.

2000 June - Parliamentary elections: Zanu-PF narrowly fights off a challenge from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, but loses its power to change the constitution.

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Image caption Squatters invaded hundreds of white-owned farms in a government-supported campaign

2001 July - Finance Minister Simba Makoni publicly acknowledges economic crisis, saying foreign reserves have run out and warning of serious food shortages. Most western donors, including the World Bank and the IMF, have cut aid because of President Mugabe's land seizure programme.

2002 February - Parliament passes a law limiting media freedom. The European Union imposes sanctions on Zimbabwe and pulls out its election observers after the EU team leader is expelled.

2002 March - Mugabe re-elected in presidential elections condemned as seriously flawed by the opposition and foreign observers. Commonwealth suspends Zimbabwe from its councils for a year after concluding that elections were marred by high levels of violence.

Food shortages

2002 April - State of disaster declared as worsening food shortages threaten famine.

2002 June - 45-day countdown for some 2,900 white farmers to leave their land begins, under terms of a land-acquisition law passed in May.


2003 June - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai is arrested twice during a week of opposition protests. He is charged with treason, adding to an existing treason charge from 2002 over an alleged plot to kill President Mugabe.

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Image caption The razing of "illegal structures" in 2005 left about 700,000 people without homes

2003 December - Zimbabwe pulls out of Commonwealth after organisation decides to extend suspension of country indefinitely.

2005 March - Ruling Zanu-PF party wins two-thirds of the votes in parliamentary polls. Main opposition party says election was rigged against it.

Urban "clean-up"

2005 May-July - Tens of thousands of shanty dwellings and illegal street stalls are destroyed as part of a "clean-up" programme. The UN estimates that the drive has left about 700,000 people homeless.

2005 November - Ruling Zanu-PF party wins an overwhelming majority of seats in a newly-created upper house of parliament, the Senate.

The opposition MDC splits over its leader's decision to boycott the poll.

Galloping inflation

2006 May - Year-on-year inflation exceeds 1,000%. New banknotes, with three noughts deleted from their values, are introduced in August.

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Image caption Galloping price increases rendered Zimbabwe's currency nearly worthless by 2008

2006 September - Riot police disrupt a planned demonstration against the government's handling of the economic crisis. Union leaders are taken into custody and later hospitalised, allegedly after being tortured.

2006 December - Ruling Zanu-PF party approves a plan to move presidential polls from 2008 to 2010, effectively extending Mr Mugabe's rule by two years.

2007 March - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is hospitalised after his arrest at a rally.

2007 June - Ruling Zanu-PF and opposition MDC hold preliminary talks in South Africa.

Elections crisis

2008 March - Presidential and parliamentary elections. Opposition MDC claims victory.

2008 May - Electoral body says Tsvangirai won most votes in presidential poll, but not enough to avoid a run-off against Mugabe.

2008 June - Run-off goes ahead. Mugabe declared winner. Tsvangirai pulled out days before poll, complaining of intimidation.

Russia, China veto a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions.

Power-sharing deal

2008 July - EU, US widen sanctions against Zimbabwe's leaders.

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Image caption A power-sharing deal was signed by President Mugabe, left, and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, centre. It was endorsed by South African President Thabo Mbeki, right

2008 Sept - Mugabe, Tsvangirai sign power-sharing agreement. Implementation stalls over who gets top ministerial jobs.

2009 January - Government allows use of foreign currencies to try stem hyperinflation.

2009 February - Tsvangirai is sworn in as prime minister, after protracted talks over formation of government. A month later he is injured in a car crash that kills his wife.

2009 September - One year after power-sharing deal, MDC remains frustrated and alleges persecution and violence against members.

IMF provides $400 million support as part of G20 agreement to help member states.

2010 March - New "indigenisation" law forces foreign-owned businesses to sell majority stake to locals.

2010 August - Zimbabwe resumes official diamond sales, amid controversy over reported rights abuses at the Marange diamond fields.

2010 September - Premier Tsvangirai alleges ruling party instigating violence at public consultations on new constitution.

2010 December - Mugabe's wife Grace takes legal action over claims released by WikiLeaks that she profited from illegal diamond trading.

2011 February - European Union eases sanctions on Zimbabwe by removing the names of 35 of President Mugabe's supporters from a list of people whose assets had been frozen.

2011 December - President Mugabe says he will run in the next elections. He condemns the current power-sharing government as a monster.

2012 February - European Union lifts sanctions on some prominent Zimbabweans, while retaining the travel restrictions and the freeze on the assets of President Mugabe.

Constitutional Select Committee completes draft of new constitution, but Zanu-PF and MDC continue to quarrel about the details.

2012 April - Political violence reportedly on the rise, with MDC complaining that its rallies have repeatedly been shut down.

Run-up to elections

2012 October - Rights activists say repressive structures instrumental in 2008 electoral violence are being reactivated.

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Image caption The opposition dismissed the 2013 vote as fraudulent

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai threatens to pull out of unity government, citing violence against his party's members.

2013 March - New constitution approved by an overwhelming majority in a referendum. Future presidents will be limited to two five-year terms.

Mugabe victory

2013 July - Presidential and parliamentary elections. Mr Mugabe gains a seventh term in office and his Zanu-PF party three-quarters of the seats in parliament. The opposition MDC dismisses the polls as a fraud.

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Image caption Morgan Tsvangirai endured years of intimidation as opponent of Robert Mugabe's authoritarian rule

2014 February - Zimbabwe marks President Mugabe's 90th birthday after he returns from medical treatment in Singapore.

2014 August - Grace Mugabe, the president's wife and a political novice, is unexpectedly nominated as the next leader of the governing Zanu-PF's Women's League, fuelling speculation that she may succeed her husband one day.

2014 December - President Mugabe sacks Vice-President Joyce Mujuru accusing her of a plot to kill him.

2015 June - Central Bank formally phases out the Zimbabwe dollar, formalising the multi-currency system introduced to counter hyper-inflation.

2016 August - Police disperse demonstrators near parliament with placards reading 'President Mugabe must go'. Days earlier the war veterans' association withdrew support for Mr Mugabe.

2016 November - A new national currency - called bond notes - is introduced amid public resistance.

Mugabe's exit

2017 August - First lady Grace Mugabe is accused of assaulting a woman in a hotel in neighbouring South Africa, where she is given diplomatic immunity.

2017 September - The activist pastor Evan Mawarire, who became popular with his #ThisFlag movement that challenged the government over the economic crisis, is charged with inciting a crowd to violence.

2017 November - Mr Mugabe resigns days after the military takes control. Emmerson Mnangagwa becomes president.

2018 February - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dies after a battle with cancer.

2018 June - A bomb explodes near Mr Mnangagwa at a rally in Bulawayo, leaving him unhurt but killing two people. Campaigning for the 30 July presidential election is underway.

2018 July - Mr Mnangagwa narrowly wins first post-independence presidential election without Mr Mugabe on the ballot paper. Opponent Nelson Chamisa, of the MDC Alliance, says he will not accept the "fake results".

2018 August - Constitutional Court upholds Mr Mnangagwa's election victory after it was challenged by the opposition MDC Alliance, paving the way for his inauguration two days later.