Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) was the main factor in determining the economic and political structure of today’s Zimbabwe (modern day Rhodesia). In the late 19th century, Cecil Rhodes, along with a multitude of armed white settlers, invaded the country of present-day Zimbabwe. All resistance was crushed and the British South African Company was created; this later became the basis for colonization of the entire country. Once Cecil gained control of the diamond and gold industry, he soon gained political power and eventually became the political leader of the area. He soon after disregarded African rights to the land and developed a mandatory labor in the mines that he created. Soon after, Rhodes controlled 90% of the world’s diamond production under De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. The political dictatorship that Cecil Rhodes initiated at the time was to continue; Rhodes’ political system dominated present-day Zimbabwe under British rulers until 1980 when it finally gained independence. Rhodes started an 80-year rule by corrupt and greedy entrepreneurs who’s only goals were that of personal net worth and complete political dominance.
What I already know:
-Cecil Rhodes was a very wealthy man because he had a monopoly of the world’s diamond production; he also controlled many gold mines, which contributed to his wealth
-Rhodes took the area that he sought to control by force and forced the local people to work in the mines that he controlled.
-Present-day Zimbabwe was a prosperous, self-governed area ever since the 12th century until the arrival of such settlers as Rhodes.
-Zimbabwe is a land-locked country
What I would like to know:
-How did the local people finally break free of the long British rule?
-Have local conditions changed for the better since the country’s independence in 1980?
-What is the current economic status of the country; how has British rule (initiated by Rhodes in the late 19th century) influenced the economic stability of the country?
-Is the political system still corrupt even though it is no longer British-controlled?
Potential Sources of Information:
-The Internet: Every time that I do a research paper, the most significant part of the research that I do comes from the Internet. The Internet provides the largest sea of information that anybody could ever dream of, with thousands and thousands of sites dedicated to the research topic that I have chosen. I would recommend the Internet to anyone as being his or her first stop in doing a research paper of this kind.
-Library (Longmont Public Library): There are many different books that I can check out at the library in Longmont. This library provides an excellent source of information because it is both close, and I know for a fact that it has an entire section dedicated to African history because I have been there many times before. I plan to utilize this information source for my three needed book sources.