It’s time to get out your globe! You need to know about the imaginary lines on globes and maps. These lines are called lines of latitude and longitude, and they tell a pilot or ship’s captain exactly where in the world a certain place is located. Basically, latitude lines (also called parallels) are the horizontal lines on your map. Lines of longitude (also called meridians) are the vertical lines that run from the North Pole to the South Pole. This mapping system is written in degrees and uses the symbol °. Get ready to travel the world!
On your globe, locate longitude of 30ºE and latitude of 20ºS, and you'll find the landlocked country of Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. When a country is landlocked, it has no coastline on a sea or ocean. Zimbabwe, slightly bigger than our state of Montana, lies between the countries of South Africa and Zambia and also borders Botswana and Mozambique. Zimbabwe has a tropical climate, which includes a rainy season from November to March. The terrain is primarily a high plateau, with mountains in the eastern part of the country. Among Zimbabwe’s natural resources are asbestos, coal, chromium ore, copper, gold, iron ore, lithium, nickel, platinum, tin and vanadium.
English is the official language of Zimbabwe, though Shona, Sindebele and many minor tribal dialects are also spoken. More than 90 percent of Zimbabweans over 15-years-old can read and write English. The Zimbabwean flag features seven horizontal bands of green, yellow, red and black; a white isosceles triangle with a red five-pointed star in the center and a yellow Zimbabwe bird.
Before 1980, Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia. On April 18 of that year, the country earned its independence from the United Kingdom. Zimbabwe, a parliamentary democracy, has had one ruler, Robert Mugabe, since gaining its independence. His term expires in 2013, when new elections are to take place.
On the second Monday of each August, Zimbabwe, a relatively young nation, honors members of the armed forces who died defending the country with a day of remembrance called Heroes’ Day. In the capital of Harare, home to 1.6 million people, celebrations take place at the National Heroes Acre, where many heroes are buried. Families lay wreaths on the graves, and the president visits each grave. The ceremonies take place throughout the country and also include marches by young people as they sing revolutionary songs, musical performances by choirs of churches and war veterans, traditional dances and poem recitations by schoolchildren.
Sources: “Zimbabwe,” The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/zi.html; “Zimbabwe Heroes’ Day,” http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Zimbabwe+Heroes%27+Day.