Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Most of the country is elevated, consisting of a central plateau (the high veld) stretching from the southwest northwards with altitudes between 1,000 and 1,600 m. The country’s extreme east is mountainous. This area is known as the Eastern Highlands. Mount Nyangani is the highest point in the nation at 2,592 m. It has a population of approximate 13 million people. There are two major ethnic groups in the region: the Shona, who make up approximately 80 per cent of the population and the Ndebele (approximately 12 per cent) – not including the 2 per cent that are Caucasians from the colonial period and other mixed groups. Zimbabwe during the eleventh to the eighteenth century was the centre of several prominent African trading civilizations including one known as the Kingdom of Zimbabwe. Ruins of Great Zimbabwe can be visited in the southeastern hills. From the sixteenth century onwards the region came under the influence of various colonial powers, formally gaining independence from the United Kingdom under a majority democratic government in 1980.