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Harare History, Zimbabwe

The gem of Northern Africa Harare, formerly Salisbury is the capital city of Zimbabwe. Harare started of as a British military outpost and fort in 1890 and was named after the then British Prime Minister and 3rd Marquis of Salisbury Robert Gascoyne-Cecil Salisbury.

It was in 1935 that Harare, then known as Salisbury became a city. From 1953 to 1963 it was the capital of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. On November 11, 965 Rhodesia gained its independence from Britain and was declared as a republic. However, it was only in April 18, 1980 that the country was finally recognized by the international community as the Republic of Zimbabwe. Two years later on the anniversary of the country’s independence, the city of Salisbury was renamed as the city of Harare.

The origins of the name came from the European corruption of the word “Haarari” which means: He does not sleep. This was used in reference to the Shona chieftain Neharawa who was said that no foe could ever ambush or sneak up on.? Harare was also the name of the former black residential area that is now known as Mbare, it was renamed after Zimbabwe gained its independence.

Looking at the bustling metropolis nowadays it is hard to believe that the city was at the time of its founding poorly drained and ill maintained. The first area to be fully developed was named Causeway and was located near the head of the stream bisecting the city. This is now the site of important Government buildings, including the Senate House and the Office of the Prime Minister.

During the early 21st century, Harare was nearly devestated by the political and economic crisis that plagued all of Zimbabwe. In 2005 the government demolished many of the shanty towns and poor quarters in Harare and the other cities in the country, leaving thousands of people homeless. This gave rise to criticism and outrage from the international community because of its lack of plans to provide for alternative housing for the displaced families. Many alleged that the true purpose of the campaign was to punish the urban poor for supporting the Movement for Democratic change and to reduce the likelihood of mass actions or revolts against the government.

Harare has made a remarkable recovery since then. It has developed and stabilized its economy and has been the host of several international summits. Harare is now home to an estimate 2,800,111 people in its urban areas and 1,600,000 in the city alone.

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Harare City Ratings

  • Rating67%
    City Rank250
  • History & Culture: rated for 90%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 70%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 50%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 50%
  • Food: rated for 80%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 80%
  • Shopping: rated for 50%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 50%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 90%
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