Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 in what was then Southern Rhodiesia, a British colony. In the 1960s he fought against the white minority government of Ian Smith, and was held as a political prisoner for more than 10 years.

When Zimbabwe won its independence in 1980, Mugabe became prime minister.

In 1987, he assumed the office of President of Zimbabwe, giving himself additional powers in the process. He holds this position to this day. He has ruled with an iron fist, crushing any opposition. He has compared himself to Hitler and has been accused of having a racist attitude towards white people.

On Robert Mugabe's 90th birthday, IBTimesUK looks back at his life in pictures.

1976 mugabe
A 1976 portrait of Robert Mugabe, leader of ZANU party (Zimbabwean African National Union)Getty
1979 agreement
21 December 1979: Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmore and Bishop Abel Muzorewa sign the agreement on the independence of Zimbabwe at Lancaster HouseGetty
1980 Thatcher
9 May 1980: Zimbabwe's new prime minister Robert Mugabe meets British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and foreign secretary Lord Carrington at 10 Downing Street, at the start of his official visit to BritainGetty
1987 nkomo
December 1987: Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe celebrate after signing a peace accord that brought his rival into his government as vice presidentReuters
1993 Diana
July 1993: The Princess of Wales talks to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as she pays him a courtesy visit in HarareReuters
1995 vote
1995: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe urges people to vote as he tours the Sunningdale constituency outside the capitalReuters
1996 wedding
August 1996: President Robert Mugabe and new wife Grace leave the Kutama Catholic Church. The couple were traditionally married shortly after the death of Mugabe's first wife SallyReuters
1996 cricket
28 December 1996: England captain Mike Atherton shakes hands with Robert Mugabe before the start of the second test match between Zimbabwe and England in HarareReuters
1998 mandela
December 1998: President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe holds hands with his South African counterpart Nelson Mandela as he arrives to address the 8th Assembly of the World Council of ChurchesReuters
1999 castro
September 1999: Cuban President Fidel Castro and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe stand at attention during an arrival ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution in HavanaReuters
2000 white farmers
April 2000: Robert Mugabe greets supporters at an election rally in Bindura, after vowing to fight the country's white farmers for access to their landReuters
2001 tatchell
March 2001: Peter Tatchell, spokesman for the British gay rights group Outrage, lies on the pavement outside the Hilton hotel in Brussels after scuffling with bodyguards while protesting against the visit of MugabeReuters
2001 gaddafi
July 2001: Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadaffi and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe greet supporters outside State House in HarareReuters
2003 chirac
February 2003: French President Jacques Chirac gestures after shaking the hand of Zimbabwe's President Robert at the opening of the 22nd conference of African and French Heads of State in ParisReuters
2005 pope
April 2005: Robert Mugabe leans over and shakes the hand of Prince Charles during Pope John Paul II's funeral at the Vatican. Mugabe, defied a European Union travel ban and flew from Zimbabwe unannounced to join world leaders attending Pope John Paul II's funeralGetty
2007 tsvangirai
March 2007: Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, lies in a hospital bed in Harare with a suspected skull fracture after what he says was a brutal police attack following his arrest during a protest against Mugabe's governmentReuters
2008 dark
August 2008: Robert Mugabe watches a video presentation during the summit of the Southern African Development Community in JohannesburgReuters
2013 pope
19 March 2013: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend the Inauguration Mass for Pope Francis at the VaticanGetty