Rhodes Cecile John

(07.07.1853 - 26.03.1902)


English and South African politician, businessman, builder of his own world empire, the initiator of the British colonial expansion in South Africa.

Born in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, in the family of a vicar.

At age 9  Cecil was sent to a local grammar school. The boy was an excellent student at school, diligence and intelligence opened the way to Oxford. A wealthy relative donated 2,000 pounds for further training of the young man, but doctors discovered he had tuberculosis, aggravated by heart disease. The patient urgently needed to change the climate, and 16-year-old Cecil was sent to Brother Herbert, who was growing cotton on a farm in the Cape Colony (South Africa). Oxford remained the cherished dream of a young man.

This move was fateful for Rhodes.

It soon became clear that the places where Herbert had located his farm were of little use for growing cotton, and in 1871 the brothers went to Kimberley to mine diamonds.

Unfortunately, the brother died tragically. Cecile sent all the money he earned to modernize diamond mining, to increase workers' productivity and marketing. After examining the diamond markets, he concluded that he must seize the monopoly on diamond mining. Practicality and business acumen quickly led Rhodes to success. Having bought up many plots, in 1880 he created the De Beers diamond mine company, was its secretary for three years, and then became president for life.

Successful business Rhodes combined with studies at Oxford College Oriele, where he gained fame for his philosophical and political treatises. In one of them, the Symbol of Faith, he acted as an advocate of a world government made up of the financial, industrial, and military-political elite of Britain, who had to take all the third world countries for their "diamond" money.

Rhodes' business successes and social and political views attracted the attention of the omnipotent Rothschild banking house, which provided De Beers with enormous financial assistance, as well as England's Prime Minister R. Salisbury and Queen Victoria herself, who provided the industrialist with unlimited opportunities to implement England's expansionist policies in Africa. In 1889  Rhodes managed to secure a royal charter for his company, which enabled her to obtain concessions, enter into contracts and introduce land management from the Limpopo River to the Great Lakes of Africa.

Subjecting his diamond and gold mining to the black continent, Rhodes began to conquer his lands and, as an annex to them, the natives. In the course were deception, bribery, forgery. The “personal” empire of Rhodes, over the territory of five times greater than England, was the “state within the state”, named after him, - Rhodesia. Now it is two countries - Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Rhodes led the army, equipped it with modern weapons, built cities, fortresses, railways, smashed fruit farms, strengthened borders, established a self-government regime with "equal rights for all civilized people".

In 1890  Cecile Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony.

Rhodes’s plans to create in Africa a continuous belt of British possessions “from Cairo to Cape Town” were hampered by the existence of independent Boer republics - the Orange Free State and the Republic of South Africa, so in 1895 he financed the Jameson’s raid immigrants. However, the raid ended in failure. An international scandal broke out, after which Rhodes was forced to resign from the post of Prime Minister of the Cape Colony.

During the Boer War of 1899-1902. Rhodes led a small garrison and defended the Kimberley besieged by the Boers with weapons in their hands. The affairs of the company were of little interest to him; he fought, drank, suffered from intrigues and chronic diseases.

Shortly before the end of the war a few months, Rhodes died in Meisenberg (near Cape Town). His ashes were transported by rail, which he built, to the mountains of Matobo (province of South Matabeleland) in the southwestern part of Zimbabwe, where he was buried on a granite rock, called "View of the World" by him.

In his testament, Rhodes predicted the spread of British supremacy in the world, including British colonization of all South America, the seizure of all Africa, the coasts of China and Japan, and the final return of the United States as an "integral part of the British Empire".

Since Rhodes did not have official heirs, the businessman bequeathed most of his capital for the development of Rhodesia, and he transferred £ 6 million to establish 170 student scholarships and several professorial grants at Oxford University.

Strait between the island of Salisbury and the islands of Ziegler and Wiener Neustadt in the Franz Josef Land Archipelago. Named  by F. Jackson in 1897.


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