The Rhodesian Bush War (also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation) was a civil war that took place from July 1964 to December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia. The conflict pitted three forces against one another: the Rhodesian government, under Ian Smith (later the Zimbabwe Rhodesian government of Bishop Abel Muzorewa); the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, the military wing of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union; and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army of Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union.
The war and its subsequent Internal Settlement, signed in 1978 by Smith and Muzorewa, led to the implementation of universal suffrage in June 1979 and the end of white minority rule in Rhodesia, which was renamed Zimbabwe Rhodesia under a black majority government. However, this new order failed to win international recognition and the war continued.
Negotiations between the government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, the British government and Mugabe and Nkomo’s united “Patriotic Front” took place at Lancaster House, London in December 1979, and the Lancaster House Agreement was signed.
The country returned temporarily to British control and new elections were held under British and Commonwealth supervision in March 1980. ZANU won the election and Mugabe became the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980, when the country achieved internationally recognised independence.