Rhodesia

Rhodesia

Rhodesia was an unrecognised state in southern Africa from 1965 to 1979. Rhodesia was the de facto successor state to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, which had been self-governing since achieving responsible government in 1923.

Originally the land was chartered to the British South Africa Company. In 1923, the company’s charter was revoked, and Southern Rhodesia attained self-government and established a legislature. Between 1953 and 1963, Southern Rhodesia was joined with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

The decolonisation of Africa in the early 1960’s alarmed a significant proportion of Rhodesia’s white population. In an effort to delay the transition to black majority rule, Rhodesia’s predominantly white government issued its own Unilateral Declaration of Independence(UDI) from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965.The UDI administration initially sought recognition as an autonomous realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, but reconstituted itself as a republic in 1970.

The Bush War, which pitted the government against two African nationalist organisations, ZANU and ZAPU, intensified in the 1970s, prompting Rhodesian premier Ian Smith to concede to multiracial democracy in 1978. However, a provisional government subsequently headed by Smith and his moderate colleague Abel Muzorewa failed in appeasing international critics or halting the bloodshed.

Between June and December 1979, the country became known as Zimbabwe-Rhodesia but by the end of 1979 Muzorewa had replaced Smith as Prime Minister and secured an agreement with the militant nationalists, allowing Rhodesia to briefly revert to colonial status pending elections under a universal franchise.

It finally achieved internationally recognised independence in April 1980 as the Republic of Zimbabwe.

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