The Republic of Zimbabwe also encompasses the former Southern Rhodesia and is a landlocked country located in southern Africa. It is bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.
The official language in Zimbabwe is English but a majority of the population speaks Shona and Sindebele reflecting the majority of citizens being of the Shona or Matabele people respectively.
Zimbabwe was governed by the Mutapa Empire from the 14th to 17th century. During this period, the area was known for its gold trade routes with the Arabs. In the early 17th century the Portuguese initiated wars that left the area destitute. In the early 19th century the Ndebele people recreated the area as their empire Matabeleland but by the late 19th century it was colonized by the British and was under colonial rule.
A white minority declared itself a republic in 1970 but this was not recognized by formal government bodies other than the white-minority led South African government. This led to a civil war. By 1980 the country gained independence with the help of civil war leader Robert Mugabe. They brought about a constitutional change from Prime Minister to President in 1988.