Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasaland

Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasaland

The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was a federal semi-Dominion that consisted of three southern African territories—the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia and the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland—between 1953 and 1963.

The Federation was established on 1 August 1953, with a Governor-General as the Queen’s representative at the centre. An interesting and novel feature was the African Affairs Board, set up to safeguard the interests of Africans and endowed with statutory powers for that purpose, particularly in regard to discriminatory legislation.The constitutional status of the three territories – a self-governing Colony and two Protectorates – was not affected, though certain enactments applied to the Federation as a whole as if it were part of Her Majesty’s dominions and a Colony.

The economic advantages to the Federation were never seriously called into question, and the causes of the Federation’s failure were purely political: the strong and growing opposition of the African inhabitants.

The rulers of the new black African states were united in wanting to end colonialism in Africa. With most of the world moving away from colonialism during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the United Kingdom was subjected to pressure to de-colonize from both the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU). These groups supported the aspirations of the black African nationalists and accepted their claims to speak on behalf of the people.

The federation officially ended on 31 December 1963. In 1964, shortly after the dissolution, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became independent under the names Zambia and Malawi, respectively. In 1965, Southern Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom as the state of Rhodesia.

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