Zimbabwe, formally known as Southern Rhodesia, is a country in Southern Africa. It gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1965. It also later changed from a country led by a white minority to an African leadership. These political changes brought many economic and social changes with them.
Before the arrival of the British, native African tribes called the Shona and Ndebele populated Zimbabwe. In 1888, colonist Cecil Rhodes came to the region and purchased mining rights from the Ndebele people. By 1898, the region became known as Southern Rhodesia in honor of Cecil Rhodes and a British sphere of influence. The colony gained self from the British in 1922 but remained apart of the British Empire for another thirty years.
By the 1960’s, Southern Rhodesia’s neighbor, Northern Rhodesia had gained its independence and is now known as Zambia. This event increased the Africans’ demands for more political rights and the whites’ demands for independence. The Prime Minister at that time, Winston Field, was accused of moving too slowly towards independence and was later replaced by his deputy, Ian Smith. During the 1965 election, Smith led the Rhodesian Front Party to win majority vote over the moderate Europeans who opposed a move for independence.
With Rhodesians having most of the power, the UK was more inclined to grant it independence but was still hindered because of their unwillingness to give the black
majority rule, a policy used in the British colonies at the time This led to many negotiations with the UK that turned out unsuccessful. Finally on November 11, 1965, Prime Minister Smith issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) form the UK. This action was greatly looked down upon by other nations. The United Nations saw the UDI as illegal and imposed many trade sanctions on Rhodesia. These did not completely stop its outside trading but they did deter foreign investors.
The UDI also angered the black nationalist groups Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) (Rogers 39). This was because the sanction negatively affected the Rhodesian people by not allowing them newer technologies. The high tensions finally led to the Rhodesian Bush War, a guerrilla fought between the government and the two nationalist groups started in 1972. The war was mostly isolated attacks on white owned farms but later grew to attacks within cities.
With support from FRELIMO (the Liberation Front of Mozambique) and heavy weaponry, the guerrillas became a serious threat to the state (Rogers40-41). The government began relocating villagers to guarded villages in order to protect them from rebels. These villages were heavily controlled, had poor living conditions, and were even compared...