Situated in the north-east of the country in the heart of historic Mashonaland, the city has an estimated population of 1,606,000 (2009), with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area (2006). Administratively, Harare is a metropolitan province, which also incorporates Chitungwiza town and Epworth.It is situated at an elevation of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet) and its climate falls into the subtropical highland category.
The city was founded in 1890 by the Pioneer Column, a small military force in the service of the British South Africa Company, and named Fort Salisbury after the British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury.
Company administrators demarcated the city and ran it until Southern Rhodesia achieved responsible government in 1923. Salisbury was thereafter the seat of the Southern Rhodesian (later Rhodesian) government and, between 1953 and 1963, the capital of the Central African Federation. It retained the name Salisbury until 1982, when it was renamed Harare on the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence.
Harare is Zimbabwe's leading financial, commercial, and communications centre, and a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufactured goods include textiles, steel and chemicals, and gold is mined in the area.
The city's suburbs include Borrowdale, Mount Pleasant and Avondale; the most affluent neighbourhoods are to the north.
The University of Zimbabwe, the country's oldest university (founded in 1952), is situated in Mount Pleasant, about 6 km (3.7 mi) north of the city centre. Harare is home to the country's main Test cricket ground, Harare Sports Club, and to Dynamos F.C., Zimbabwe's most successful association football team.