Origins and Childhood
- Cecil Rhodes was born in 1853 in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, England.
- His father, Francis William Rhodes, was a Church of England clergyman.
- Cecil attended Bishops Stortford Grammar School and later continued his studies under his father's guidance.
- Due to his health, he lived with his aunt in Jersey at age seven and was later sent to South Africa for a sea voyage and better climate.
- Rhodes' health was weak, and there were concerns about tuberculosis in his family.
Education and Political Career
- Rhodes was admitted to Oriel College, Oxford in 1873.
- He only stayed for one term before returning to South Africa, but he returned for his second term in 1876.
- Rhodes became involved in politics in the Cape and represented the constituency of Barkly West.
- He became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in 1890 and introduced Acts of Parliament that affected black people's land rights and voting rights.
- Rhodes used his wealth and political influence to pursue his dream of expanding the British Empire.
Diamond Industry and De Beers
- Rhodes and his brother Herbert ventured into the diamond fields of Kimberley in 1871.
- Over the next 17 years, Rhodes bought up smaller diamond mining operations, gaining a monopoly on the world diamond supply.
- Rhodes formed a partnership with the London-based Diamond Syndicate in 1890 to control world supply and maintain high prices.
- De Beers Consolidated Mines was launched in 1888 with funding from N.M. Rothschild & Sons.
Imperial Expansion and Business Interests
- Rhodes collaborated with the British Government to establish British protectorates over mineral concession areas.
- He attracted investors by ensuring legality and security for mining operations.
- Rhodes aimed to have British settlers and local politicians run the Empire in Africa.
- He combined wealth and political influence to gain a competitive advantage and obtain mining concessions.
Treaties, Concessions, and Company Rule
- Rhodes pursued treaties, concessions, and charters to secure mining operations and expand his influence.
- The Rudd Concession, signed by Lobengula, allowed Rhodes to establish the British South Africa Company (BSAC).
- Rhodes obtained further concessions and treaties in Barotseland and the Lake Mweru area.
- Company rule in Rhodesia, under the BSAC, lasted until it became a self-governing colony in 1923.
- Rhodes obtained the Lochner Concession and attempted to secure a concession in Katanga.
Cecil Rhodes Data Sources