Southern Rhodesia in the early 1950s was not a colony in the usual sense of the term, and its history was relatively short. The land first came into the orbit of Britain’s African Empire when the pioneer column of adventurers, traders and would-be farmers travelled north in 1890. It was given its name in 1895 by the administrator of the British South Africa Company, which virtually owned the territory, and ran it until 1923. The impetus to drive north from South Africa (into what are now Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia) came from Cecil Rhodes who, by the 1890s, had created a huge business empire based on the diamond mines of Kimberley and the gold mines on the Witwatersrand.
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