Zimbabwe (Republic of Zimbabwe) is a presidential republic in southern Africa, formerly the British colony of South Rhodesia, which was ruled by a white minority until 1980. The country’s capital is the city of Harare, formerly known by the name of Salisbury. Zimbabwe is bordered to the north by Zambia, to the east by Mozambique, to the south by South Africa and Botswana.
The most important city of the country is the capital Harare in north-east Zimbabwe on the Highveld at 1,470 m above sea level. Other cities are Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Gweru, Kwekwe, Mutare and Masvingo.
The territory of Zimbabwe can be divided into three areas in relation to the altitude: the Highveld over 1,400 m, which occupies much of the central area of the country, the Midveld between 700 and 1,400 m, mainly in the north-west and south-east and the Lowveld, which includes the regions of the valleys of the Zambezi to the north and of the Limpopo to the south.
The highest peaks of the country, the Inyanga Mountains, are located in the north-east – the highest mountain being the Inyangani with 2,592 m – along the border with Mozambique. To the north rises the chain of the Mavuradonha mountains with 1,733 m, while in the south-west the Matopos Mountains with 1,549 m are to be found. Several peaks exceed 1,500 m in the range of the Highveld like the Mtoro with 1,583 m south-east of Harare and the Mquilembegwe with 1,545 m south-east of Bulawayo.
The main river of the country is the Zambezi, which feeds the hydroelectric Kariba Basin and forms the Victoria Falls along the border of Zimbabwe with Zambia. They are 122 m high and show a spectacular front of 1,600 meters. Other important rivers are the Limpopo and the Sabi.
The big farm properties are well developed and cultivate maize and wheat, but citrus fruit trees, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, cassava, peanuts, cotton and tobacco are also grown. Breeding is another important activity. The raising of cattle, goats and sheep is wide-spread. The extraction of gold, asbestos, chromium and of other minerals is highly developed. The industry of Zimbabwe is often linked to the processing of mining and agricultural products.
English text correction by Dietrich Köster.
- Area: 390,757 sq km: arable land 7,4%, pastures 43,9%, forests and bushland 22,8%, uncultivated and unproductive land 25,9%
- Population: 13,349,000 (as of 2008): Shona 80%, Ndebele 15%
- State Capital: Harare.
- Official Language: The official language is English. Widespread are Shona by 76% and Ndebele by 18%.
- Religion: Christian 70%: Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, additrionally Animists 20%, Muslim 5%.
- Currency: Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWD)
- Time Zone: UTC+2 hours.
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