Zimbabwe is in Southern Africa between the between the Zambezi and the Limpopo rivers.
The highest point in Zimbabwe is Mount Inyangani (2,592 m).
A number of natural shelters, occupied since early times, can be found in the Matobo Hills. The area also has a high concentration of rock art which provides a view of life in the Stone Age.
The name Zimbabwe was derived from the stone structures of Great Zimbabwe or Dzimbahwe, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986.
Great Zimbabwe was built by Shona (Bantu) people between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries.
Eight birds carved in soapstone have been found during excavations in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.
During the fourteenth and fifteen centuries Great Zimbawbe controlled much of the ivory and gold trade in the region.
Stone structures were built in other areas of Zimbabwe such as Khami and Nalatale.
Artifacts from Europe and China have been found at Khami. Khami, like Great Zimbabwe, became a World Heritage site in 1986.
The ancient kingdom of Mapungubwe spanned the borders of present-day South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Mapungubwe, added to the World Heritage List in 2003, was the largest kingdom in the sub-continent before it was abandoned in the fourteenth century.
Portuguese traders visited Zimbabwe in the sixteenth century and were the first Europeans to make contact with the region.
In 1888 the British South African Company gained mineral rights for the area.
In November 1855 Dr David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer and missionary, saw the Victoria Falls for the first time. Livingstone named the Falls after the British queen, Victoria.
The local name for the Victoria Falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya, the smoke that thunders.
The Victoria Falls became a World Heritage site in 1986.
Mana Pools National Park on the banks of the Zambezi is the habitat of a large number of wild animals including the Nile crocodile.
At the end of the 1950s the Zambezi was dammed at Kariba to provide hydroelectric power to Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Lake Kariba on the River Zambezi is one of the world's largest manmade lakes.
The Gold Mining Museum, in KweKwe in the Central Region of Zimbabwe, provides information about Zimbabwe's gold mining industry.
Between 1953 and 1963 Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi) were members of the Federation of Central Africa.
African nationalist organizations that campaigned for democracy were banned in Rhodesia (ANC - banned 1959, ZAPU - banned 1962, ZANU - banned 1964).
On 18 April 1980 Zimbabwe became an independent state.
After independence Zimbabwe kept ties with Britain through the Commonwealth. Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003.
In 2002 millions of people in Southern Africa faced food shortages. Countries particularly affected included Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia.
A state of emergency was declared following a cholera outbreak at the end of 2008.