Rhodesia (//, //), officially from 1970 the Republic of Rhodesia, was an unrecognised state in Southern Africa from 1965 to 1979, equivalent in territory to modern Zimbabwe. 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. A landlocked nation, Rhodesia was bordered by South Africa to the south, Bechuanaland (later Botswana) to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique (a Portuguese province until 1975) to the east. From 1965 to 1978, Rhodesia was one of two independent states on the African continent governed by a white minority of European descent and culture, the other being South Africa.
Republic of Rhodesia
|Motto: Sit Nomine Digna|
("May she be worthy of the name")
|Anthem: "Rise, O Voices of Rhodesia"|
"God Save the Queen"
and largest city
|Official languages||English (de facto)|
|Government||Unitary Parliamentary constitutional monarchy (1965–1970)|
Unitary Parliamentary republic (1970–1979)
|Henry Everard (acting)|
|House of Assembly|
|Independence from the United Kingdom|
|Historical era||Cold War and Decolonisation of Africa|
|11 November 1965|
|2 March 1970|
|3 March 1978|
|1 June 1979|
|390,580 km2 (150,800 sq mi)|
• 1978 census
|Time zone||UTC+2 (CAT)|
|Today part of||Zimbabwe|
In the late 19th century, the territory north of the Transvaal was chartered to the British South Africa Company, led by Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes and his Pioneer Column marched north in 1890, acquiring a huge block of territory that the company would rule until the early 1920s. In 1923, the company's charter was revoked, and Southern Rhodesia attained self-government and established a legislature.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 rapid decolonisation of Africa in the late 1950s and early 1960s alarmed a significant proportion of Southern Rhodesia's white population. In an effort to delay the transition to black majority rule, the predominantly white Southern Rhodesian government issued its own Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965. The new nation, identified simply as Rhodesia, initially sought recognition as an autonomous realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, but reconstituted itself as a republic in 1970. Two African nationalist parties, the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), launched an armed insurgency against the government upon UDI, sparking the Rhodesian Bush War. Growing war weariness, diplomatic pressure, and an extensive trade embargo imposed by the United Nations prompted Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith to concede to majority rule in 1978. However, elections and a multiracial provisional government, with Smith succeeded by moderate Abel Muzorewa, failed to appease international critics or halt the war. By December 1979 Muzorewa had secured an agreement with ZAPU and ZANU, allowing Rhodesia to briefly revert to colonial status pending new elections under British supervision. ZANU secured an electoral victory in 1980, and the country achieved internationally recognised independence in April 1980 as Zimbabwe.
Rhodesia's largest cities were Salisbury (its capital city, now known as Harare) and Bulawayo. Prior to 1970, the unicameral Rhodesian Legislative Assembly was predominantly white, with a small number of seats reserved for black representatives. Following the declaration of a republic in 1970, this was replaced by a bicameral Rhodesian Parliament, with a House of Assembly and a Senate. The bicameral system was retained in Zimbabwe after 1980. Aside from its racial franchise, Rhodesia observed a fairly conventional Westminster system inherited from the United Kingdom, with a President acting as ceremonial head of state, while a Prime Minister headed the Cabinet of Rhodesia as head of government.