Zimbabwe officially became Independent on April 18, 1980. Despite various economic setbacks, the people have been resilient and continue to make progress in education, in agriculture and in even in promoting racial equality.
Prior to black majority rule, Prime Minister Ian Smith declared independence in 1965 in the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), this action was deemed illegal. However, it lasted for almost 15 years. On 10 September 1979, the British Government met with representatives of the various Rhodesian groups at Lancaster House in London to begin discussions on a settlement. By 21 December, the Lancaster House Agreement was signed, paving the way for a ceasefire, transitional British rule until the holding of free and democratic elections, and a new constitution implementing majority rule. The elections were held in February 1980, and won by Mugabe’s ZANU (PF) party. The republic of Zimbabwe was proclaimed at a ceremony in Salisbury (now Harare) on 18 April 1980, at which Robert Mugabe was sworn in as prime minister.