(SOUTHERN RHODESIA) 1888 – 1979
Rodesia del Sur fue el nombre de la colonia británica que existió en el África Austral entre 1888 y 1979 y que es el origen del actual Zimbabue. Entre 1965 y 1979, sin embargo, dicho territorio fue conocido como Rodesia, tras una declaración unilateral de independencia que no fue reconocida por ningún estado. La colonia se situaba al norte del río Limpopo y de la Unión Sudafricana.
La Rodesia original surgió en 1888, cuando Cecil Rhodes consiguió derechos de minería en la región, como la Concesión Rudd y el Tratado Moffat, suscrito con el rey Lobengula de los ndebele. La colonia llegó a englobar también a Rodesia del Norte (actual Zambia), que se desgajó, formando un protectorado en 1910.
El territorio recuperó la condición de colonia británica en 1979, cuando el Reino Unido asumió las responsabilidades por el control de la zona y le concedió oficialmente la independencia a través de los Acuerdos de Lancaster House.
A partir del período de entreguerras, se introduce en Rhodesia del Sur un sistema inspirado en las políticas seguidas en la misma época en Sudáfrica que restringen los derechos sindicales y económicos de los negros. Su expresión política está limitada por el censo y por los criterios de educación.
En 1953, los británicos, que intentan preparar la emancipación de sus territorios, agrupan sus posesiones de África central en la Federación de Rodesia y Nyasalandia, destinada a preservar la complementariedad de las tres entidades.
Concebida por Londres para garantizar un reparto progresivo del poder, la federación es, no obstante, mantenida por las compañías mineras de Rodesia del Norte y por los colonos de Rhodesia del Sur, que ven en ella un modo de perpetuar sus privilegios. Se oponen a los nacionalistas africanos, que se hacen cada vez más violentos después del final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y desean una llegada rápida a la independencia.
Ante los disturbios que se desarrollan en Rodesia del Norte y en Niassalandia entre 1958 y 1961, Londres acepta disolver la federación y concede en 1964, la independencia a cada uno de estos territorios, en los que los nacionalistas africanos ganaron las elecciones. Tomaron el nombre respectivamente, Zambiay Zimbabue. The Colony of Southern Rhodesia was a self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa from 1923 to 1980, the predecessor state of modern Zimbabwe.
Following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965, the nation existed as the self-declared, unrecognised state of Rhodesia until 1979, when it reconstituted itself under indigenous African rule as Zimbabwe Rhodesia, which also failed to win overseas recognition. After a period of interim British control following the Lancaster House Agreement in December 1979, the country achieved internationally recognised independence as Zimbabwe in April 1980.
The territory north of the Zambezi was the subject of separate treaties with African chiefs: today, it forms the country of Zambia. The first BSAC Administrator for the western part was appointed for Barotseland in 1897 and for the whole of North-Western Rhodesia in 1900. The first BSAC Administrator for the eastern part, North-Eastern Rhodesia, was appointed in 1895.
The whites in the territory south of the river paid it scant regard though, and generally used the name “Rhodesia” in a narrow sense to mean their part. The designation “Southern Rhodesia” was first used officially in 1898 in the Southern Rhodesia Order in Council of 20 October 1898, which applied to the area south of the Zambezi, and was more common after the BSAC merged the administration of the two northern territories as Northern Rhodesia in 1911.
During World War II, Southern Rhodesian military units participated on the side of the United Kingdom. Southern Rhodesian forces were involved on many fronts including the East and North African Campaigns, Italy, Madagascar and Burma. Southern Rhodesian forces had the highest loss ratio of any constituent element, colony, dependency or dominion of the British Empire forces during World War II. Additionally, the Rhodesian pilots earned the highest number of decorations and ace appellations of any group within the Empire. This resulted in the Royal Family paying an unusual state visit to the colony at the end of the war to thank the Rhodesian people.
In 1953, with calls for independence mounting in many of its African possessions, the United Kingdom created the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (or the Central African Federation, CAF), which consisted of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi, respectively). The idea was to try to steer a middle road between the differing aspirations of the Black Nationalists, the Colonial administration and the White settler population.
The CAF sought to emulate the experience of Australia, Canada and South Africa – wherein groups of colonies had been federated together to form viable independent nations. Originally designed to be “an indissoluble federation”, the CAF quickly started to unravel due to the low proportion of British and other white citizens in relation to the larger Black tribal populations. Additionally, by incorporating the tribes within the Dominion as potential citizens, the Dominion created the paradoxical situation of having a white elite owning most of the land and capital, whilst using cheap black labour.
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on 1 January 1964. However, it was expected that only Nyasaland would be let go, whilst the remainder of Rhodesia both north and south would be united. Although Northern Rhodesia had a white population of over 100,000, as well as additional British military and civil units and their dependents, most of these were relatively new to the region, were primarily in the extraction business, had little landed interests, and were more amenable to allowing black nationalism than the Southern Rhodesians.
Accordingly, Britain granted independence to Northern Rhodesia on 24 October 1964. However, when the new nationalists changed its name to Zambia and began tentatively at first and later in rapid march an Africanisation campaign, Southern Rhodesia remained a British colony, resisting attempts to bring in majority rule. The colony attempted to change its name to Rhodesia although this was not recognised by the United Kingdom.
The majority of the Federation’s military and financial assets went to Southern Rhodesia, since the British Government did not wish to see them fall into the hands of the nationalist leaders, and since Southern Rhodesia had borne the major expenses of running the Federation.
With regard to the latter, however, Northern Rhodesia was the wealthiest of the three member states (due to its vast copper mines) and had contributed more to the overall building of infrastructure than the other two members did. Southern Rhodesia, recognising an inevitable dissolution of the Federation, was quick to use federal funds in building its infrastructure ahead of the others.
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