1. There has been mining there for thousands of years
Archaeologists believe that the Gokomere people (who are the ancestors of today’s Shona people, among others) were smelting iron in what is today Zimbabwe as long ago as the 1st century AD. Gold mining is estimated to have taken place in Zimbabwe since about 1000 AD.
2. The country’s name means “Great Stone Houses”
The name Zimbabwe comes from the ancient medieval city of Great Zimbabwe, the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, which existed from about 1220 to 1450. The name Zimbabwe probably derives from the Shona expression for “great stone houses” – dzimba dza mabwe. Early Portuguese explorers believed that Great Zimbabwe could have been the legendary city of Ophir or the site of the mines of King Solomon.
People have been mining in Zimbabwe since the 1st century AD.
3. One of the world’s biggest diamond fields is in Zimbabwe
In 2017, Zimbabwe produced nearly 2 million carats and was the world’s sixth-biggest producer of diamonds. The production came largely from Marange diamond field, which was discovered in 2006. Before Marange was discovered, Zimbabwe was producing only around 50 000 carats of diamonds.
4. The country once had the world’s highest inflation rate
During the Zimbabwean economic crisis at the end of the last decade, inflation was running at 79.6 million percent a month. An inflation rate this high meant that prices were doubling roughly every day. As a result, Zimbabwe no longer has its own currency, but rather uses other country’s currencies, such as the US dollar, the South African rand, and the Botswana pula. The Zambian kwacha is even used in areas that border Zambia.
5. Zimbabwe’s President is called the “Crocodile”
The country’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is called the “Crocodile” because he had been part of an anti-colonial group called the Crocodile Gang in his youth, and because of his political cunning. Mnangagwa became President of Zimbabwe last year following a coup that led to the previous president, Robert Mugabe, standing down after being in power for nearly 38 years.
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