Motto: Sit Nomine Digna
"May she be worthy of the name"
Anthem: "Rise, O Voices of Rhodesia"


Location of Rhodesia
StatusUnrecognised state
and largest city
GovernmentParliamentary republic
• 1965–1970
Elizabeth II
• 1970–1975
Clifford Dupont
• 1976–1978
John Wrathall
• 1979
Henry Everard (acting)
Prime Minister 
• 1965–1979
Ian Smith
House of Assembly
Independence from the United Kingdom
• Declared
11 November 1965
• Republic
2 March 1970
3 March 1978
1 June 1979
• Established
• Disestablished
• Total
390,580 km2 (150,800 sq mi)
• 1978 census
Time zoneUTC+2 (CAT)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Southern Rhodesia
Zimbabwe Rhodesia
Today part of Zimbabwe
  1. ^ The government recognised Queen Elizabeth II as the official Head of State from 1965 to 1970. The highest official of Rhodesia held the title "Officer Administering the Government" (OAtG) as he acted in lieu of the official Governor, who remained at his post but was ignored. After Rhodesia became a republic in March 1970, the President replaced the OAtG as the highest official and the Governor returned to London.

Rhodesia (ə/, ə/[1]) was a country 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.

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 In 1923, the company's charter was revoked, and Southern Rhodesia attained self government and established a legislature.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 decolonisation of Africa in the early 1960s alarmed a significant proportion of Rhodesia's white population. In an effort to delay the transition to black majority rule, Rhodesia's predominantly white government issued its own Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965. (The government of the United Kingdom supported Rhodesia's transition to a multiracial democracy.) The UDI administration initially sought recognition as an autonomous realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, but reconstituted itself as a republic in 1970. The Rhodesian Bush War, which pitted the government against two African nationalist organisations, ZANU and ZAPU, intensified in the 1970s, prompting Rhodesian premier Ian Smith to concede to multiracial democracy in 1978. However, a provisional government subsequently headed by Smith and his moderate colleague Abel Muzorewa failed in appeasing international critics or halting the bloodshed. By December 1979, Muzorewa had replaced Smith as Prime Minister and secured an agreement with the militant nationalists, allowing Rhodesia to briefly revert to colonial status pending elections under a universal franchise. It finally achieved internationally recognised independence in April 1980 as the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Rhodesia's largest cities were its capital, Salisbury, and Bulawayo. The white population, which grew to nearly 300,000, dominated the country's politics and economy, though they never made up more than 8% of the total population. Rhodesia developed an economy largely dependent on agriculture, manufacturing, and mining. Its largest exports were chromium, tobacco, and steel. International sanctions put increasing pressure on the country as time went on. The Parliament of Rhodesia, which included the lower House of Assembly and later a senate, was predominantly white, with minority of seats reserved for blacks. After 1970, the country used a semi-presidential system, with a president, prime minister, and cabinet.


The official name of the country, according to the constitution adopted concurrently with the UDI in 1965, was Rhodesia. This was not the case under British law, however, which considered the territory's legal name to be Southern Rhodesia, the name given to the country in 1898 during the British South Africa Company's administration of the Rhodesias, and retained by the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia after the end of company rule in 1923.[2]

This naming dispute dated back to October 1964, when Northern Rhodesia became independent from the UK and concurrently changed its name to Zambia. The Southern Rhodesian colonial government in Salisbury felt that in the absence of a "Northern" Rhodesia, the continued use of "Southern" was superfluous. It passed legislation to become simply Rhodesia, but the British government refused to approve this on the grounds that the country's name was defined by British legislation, so could not be altered by the colonial government. Salisbury went on using the shortened name in an official manner nevertheless,[3] while the British government continued referring to the country as Southern Rhodesia. This situation continued throughout the UDI period.[2] The shortened name was used by many people including the British government in the House of Commons.

The British government maintained this stance regarding the June–December 1979 successor state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, and when Zimbabwe Rhodesia returned to colonial status from December 1979 to April 1980, it was as Southern Rhodesia. Southern Rhodesia subsequently achieved internationally recognised independence in April 1980, when it became the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Rhodesië
العربية: رودسيا
azərbaycanca: Rodeziya
تۆرکجه: رودزیا
беларуская: Радэзія
Cymraeg: Rhodesia
dansk: Rhodesia
Deutsch: Rhodesien
eesti: Rodeesia
Ελληνικά: Ροδεσία
Esperanto: Rodezio
euskara: Rhodesia
فارسی: رودزیا
føroyskt: Rhodesia
français: Rhodésie (pays)
Gaeilge: An Róidéis
한국어: 로디지아
Bahasa Indonesia: Rhodesia
íslenska: Ródesía
italiano: Rhodesia
עברית: רודזיה
ქართული: როდეზია
latviešu: Rodēzija
Ligure: Rhodesia
lumbaart: Rhodesia
македонски: Родезија
مازِرونی: رودزیا
Bahasa Melayu: Rhodesia
日本語: ローデシア
norsk: Rhodesia
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਰ੍ਹੋਡੇਸ਼ੀਆ
polski: Rodezja
português: Rodésia
română: Rhodesia
русский: Родезия
Scots: Rhodesie
Simple English: Rhodesia
српски / srpski: Родезија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Rodezija
suomi: Rhodesia
svenska: Rhodesia
Türkçe: Rodezya
українська: Родезія
اردو: روڈیسیا
Tiếng Việt: Rhodesia
粵語: 羅德西亞
中文: 羅德西亞