The first inhabitants of the present Zimbabwe date back to the Stone Age, but it is with the Iron Age that we have certain evidence of the presence of man in this area.
Already from that time they practiced agriculture and farming, especially on the plateaus of the country, working metals like gold and copper and developing business, that will distinguish them in their growth and development.
The Karanga and the Rozwi populations, both affiliated to the Shona ethnicity, and the Ndebele, or Matebele in Zulu, all of Bantu origin, settled over the centuries in different areas of Zimbabwe.
The Karanga, one of the groups belonging to the Shona ethnic group, settled in the Eastern part of the country, in the area bordering today’s Mozambique, and founded the Empire of Mutapa; their skill in metalworking, the development of livestock and the economic and commercial management gave the Empire the chance to grow and prosper until the XV century.
The strong and flourishing expansion pushed this population to seek new alternatives and new territories; the expansion of the empire's territories was also partly the cause of the beginning of its decline; but in Zimbabwe there are still clear testimonies of its importance, there are many archaeological remains, including the ancient capital of Great Zimbabwe, from which derives the current name of the country.
Subsequently, the Karanga moved the capital of the Empire to Khami and founded a new kingdom, the Butua Kingdom or Butwa, usually trading with the Arabs and the Portuguese.
Meanwhile, the Rozwi, also belonging to the Shona, around the XVI and XVII centuries, began to take control of the whole area of today's Zimbabwe and subsequently extended control over almost all of Southern Africa; they fought several battles against the Portuguese who sought to enter the territory with the intent of expanding their trade; the Rozwi, however, managed to defeat them on more than one occasion.
Around the XVII century began the decline of the Rozwi empire, partly caused by some famines; but it was the arrival from the South of the Zulu people, under the military leadership of Shaka, that inevitably marked the end of this reign now fallen to the brink.
This favored the Ndebele, who took advantage of the opportunity to settle in today's Bulawayo establishing their capital and occupying the Western area of Zimbabwe; from here they moved to the Shona lands subduing them for about a century, until, at the end of the XIX century, they rebelled, this revolt was known as Chimurenga.
From that moment on, every Shona rebellion will be called "Chimurenga".