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Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi) - Timeline

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Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi) - Timeline

The object of the project

... is to map the events that took place in the area that was the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, (now Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi), which had a significant effect on its history and people. It is not the place to include the life events of individuals, (individual profiles have inbuilt timelines), unless those events significantly affected the history or were of genealogical importance.

The timeline needs to be split into three parts - open to debate.

Your participation is invited! If a person mentioned in the text has a profile on Geni please add their profile to the project and add the link to their name in bold.

  • Please enter the year of an event in bold as a new heading if it is not yet listed, followed by a bullet for each event for that year (even if there is just one)
  • Please maintain a past tense for all entries - for the sake of uniformity.
  • Please keep entries concise and add links to sources where more information can be found. However - please expand on the significance of an event when this is not obvious.

The entries in this project should be factual, relevant and impartial - it is a timeline of the history the area and it needs to be as complete as possible, with references included to all events of significance regardless of personal points of view or beliefs. It should include events from a broad spectrum - genealogical, geographical, historical and social. It needs to be impersonal and devoid of opinion - as hard or unpalatable as that might sometimes be!

// //


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A chronology of key events:

700AD Arabian and Persians traded with ivory, rhino horn, gold, shells and slaves

1000 - 1100 AD

  • Shona people began their rule and built a city called Zimbabwe
  • Bantu speaking peoples migrated from the north and settled in the region (Northern Rhodesia).
  • Tonga settle at Sebanzi Hill in Zambia

c 1300

  • Shona people established the Mwene Mutapa empire which included southern Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

15th century

  • Karanga branch of the Shona established the Mwanamutapa Empire

16th Century

  • Arrival of peoples from Luba and Lunda empires of Zaire to set up small kingdoms in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia area.
  • Rowzi branch rebelled and formed the Changamire Empire.
  • Christianity was introduced by the Portuguese explorers (from 1514 onwards)

17th Century

18th Century


  • First Portuguese explorer, Manuel Caetano Pereira, crossed the Luangwa River from Mozambique.


  • Dr. Lacerda, Portuguese governor of Sena, traveled in Northern Rhodesia; he died near Kazembe's capital, close to Lake Mweru.

19th Century


  • Traders Pedro Baptista and Amaro José left Angola and visited Kazembe during a journey across Africa to Mozambique.


  • Mzilikazi, Shaka's greatest general, fled for his life from the wrath of Shaka. He gathered a powerful army and trekked northward, eventually settling in Matabeleland, near Bulawayo. He founded the Matabele nation and became their king.


  • European hunters, traders and missionaries explored the region from the south. They included Cecil John Rhodes.

1830s -

  • Nguni people from the south defeated the empire
  • Ndebele people fleeing Zulu violence and Boer migration in present-day South Africa moved north and settled in what became known as Matabeleland.
  • European slave traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas


  • The Nguni people (Makololo) settled in the region, fleeing Shaka's Zulu expansion (mfecane) to the south. They conquered the Lozi and installed a new elite.


  • David Livingstone explored the Upper Zambezi and meets Sebituane, chief of the Kololo, on the Chobe River near the Zambezi.


  • 5 Feb - Alfred Beit born at Hamburg
  • 5 Jul - Cecil John Rhodes is born in vicarage at Bishop's Stortford



  • Inyati Mission Station was founded by Dr. Robert Moffat. This was the first permanent settlement by Europeans in Rhodesia


  • Adam Renders discovered the Zimbabwe Ruins
  • Death of Mzilikazi


  • Lobengula, son of Mzilikazi,was installed as king of the Matabele
  • Rhodes emigrated to Natal on account of his health


  • 29 Aug - Lobengula signed Baines Concession


  • Rhodes followed his brother Herbert to the new diamond diggings at Kimberley
  • First English traders arrived at the court of Sipopa of Barotseland.


  • 1 May - Livingstone died at Chitambo's village


  • Czech explorer Emil Holub produced the first detailed map of the Victoria Falls region
  • 7 Sep - Mrs Westbeech (wife of George Westbeech) and Mrs Francis arrived at the Victoria Falls, and are believed to be the first European women to view the falls


  • London Missionary Society it's work in Central Africa


  • Rhodes founded the de Beers Diamond Mining Company and entered the Cape House of Assembly



  • 14 Mar - Bechuanaland Protectorate was declared


  • François Coillard of the Paris Evangelical Mission Society received in Barotseland by King Lewanika and set up permanent mission station


  • 30 Jul Lobengula signed a treaty with Transvaal's P. Grobler


  • 11 Feb - Lobengula, the ruler, signed the Moffatt Treaty which granted mineral rights to the British South African Company
  • 30 Oct 1888 - Lobengula signs Rudd Concession giving him the mineral rights of the territory
  • 29 Oct 1889 - British South Africa Company incorporated by Royal Charter


  • Rhodes' British South Africa Company (BSA) gained a British mandate to colonise what became Southern Rhodesia.


  • Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony at the age of 37
  • 06 May 1890 -The Pioneer Column left Kimberley for Macloutsie
  • 28 Jun 1890 - British South Africa Company's Pioneer Column entered Rhodesia
  • 01 Jul 1890 -180 Pioneers, 500 Police and 117 wagons reach Tuli
  • 13 Aug 1890 - The long and difficult ascent of Providential Pass began, and at noon the next day the first wagon emerged onto the plateau. The Pioneers built a fort some distance from the Pass and named it Fort Victoria
  • 12 Sep 1890 - The Column reached the foot of Harari Hill, later Salisbury Kopje
  • 13 Sep 1890 - flag hoisted and the Pioneer Column founded Fort Salisbury
  • 01 Oct 1890 - The Pioneer Corps was disbanded


  • 15 Feb - Temporary frontier with Portuguese territory was established in Manicaland
  • 08 May - British Order-in-Council declared protectorates over Bechuanaland, Matabeleland and Mashonaland
  • 12 Jun - Anglo-Portuguese agreement and boundary convention signed
  • 17 Nov - Lobengula signed Lippert Concession


  • 17 Feb - Telegraph to Fort Salisbury completed
  • 5 May - Thomas Moodie Trek 1892 set out for Rhodesia
  • 10 Oct - Dominican Sisters opened the first school for European children


  • 1893 - Jesuit Fathers opened a school in Bulawayo, later transferred to Salisbury as St. George's College
  • Moodie's Trek reaches Chipinga
  • 18 Jul - Ndebele raided the Shona near Fort Victoria
  • 3 Oct - War on the Matabele authorized
  • 24 Oct - Battle of Shangani - Matabele forces of 5 000 engaged and routed
  • 1 Nov - Battle of Bembezi - 7 000 Matabele defeated
  • 3 Nov - Bulawayo destroyed by fire on order of Lobengula
  • 4 Nov - British occuped Bulawayo - Union Flag and BSAC flag hoisted in Bulawayo for the first time
  • 4 Dec - Major Allan Wilson and his patrol of 33 men were annihilated near Shangani River, 100 miles north of Bulawayo
  • The British South African Company occupied the region and called the territory Rhodesia
  • Ndebele uprising against BSA rule was crushed.




  • 29 Dec - Jameson Raid left Mafeking
  • 2 Jan - Dr. Jameson surrendered near Krugersdorp in the Transvaal
  • 2 Jan - Rhodes resigned from all public offices
  • 20 Mar - Ndebele Revolt began and 141 settlers were murdered
  • 2 Apr - The Rt. Hon. Earl Grey succeeded Dr. Jameson as Administrator of Rhodesia
  • 14 Jun - Shona Revolt began and 103 settlers were murdered
  • 21 Aug - First of Rhodes' five Indabas with southern Ndebele rebels took place at the Matopos
  • 13 Oct - Matabele chiefs submitted


  • Mbuya Nehanda, a spirit medium of the Zezuru Shona people, was executed for the killing of administrator Henry Pollard, known for his brutality toward blacks. She provided inspiration to the Hwata Dynasty for their revolt against the British South Africa Company colonization of Mashonaland and Matabeleland (later Zimbabwe). She is believed to have had immense powers was later remembered as the ancestral grandmother of the Zimbabwe nation.
  • Great Britain recognized southern and northern Rhodesia as separate territories
  • Municipalities of Salisbury and Bulawayo created
  • 27 Oct - The Shona Revolt was pronounced ended
  • 4 Nov - Railway from the south reached Bulawayo


  • 4 Feb - Railway from Beira reached Umtali
  • 15 May - First session of Legislative Council took place
  • 22 May - Beira railroad reached Salisbury
  • 11 Oct - Outbreak of Boer War - Rhodes was besieged in Kimberley

20th Century


  • Feb - Relief of Kimberley


  • Dec - W. H. Milton was appointed Administrator of Southern Rhodesia


  • 26 Mar - Cecil John Rhodes died at Muizenberg
  • 10 Apr - Rhodes was buried at World's View in the Matopos
  • 31 May - End of the Boer War
  • 06 Oct - Bulawayo-Salisbury Railway was completed
  • Mining started at Kabwe (Broken Hill), Northern Rhodesia. William Collier "discovered" Bwana Mkubwa and Roan Antelope Mines


  • 19 Jun - The railway to the Victoria Falls completed
  • 12 Sep - Victoria Falls Bridge opened - a 650 foot iron bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe near the Victoria Falls.



  • 16 Jul - Death of Alfred Beit
  • Railway from the south reaches Kabwe (Broken Hill) in Northern Rhodesia


  • Nyasaland or the Nyasaland Protectorate was established. Prior to this the country had been known as the British Central Africa Protectorate


  • Moffat Thompson discovered the Nkana copper deposits in Northern Rhodesia


  • 7 May - First census on the territory of Northern Rhodesia


  • 3 Jan - Death of the Duke of Abercorn, President of the British South Africa Company, Sir Starr Jameson succeeded him


  • 4 Aug - Outbreak of World War I
  • 1 Nov - Mr. (later Sir) Drummond Chaplin appointed Administrator of Southern Rhodesia


  • 13 Mar - British South Africa Charter extended 10 years

1917 26 Nov - Death of Sir Starr Jameson


  • 11 Nov - End of World War I


  • 8 Apr - Ian Douglas Smith born in Selukwe, Rhodesia


  • 30 Apr - Elections for last Legislative Council under the British South Africa Company Administration were held
  • 12 May - Council debated and approved Responsible Government by 12 votes to 5


  • Deputation to England regarding new constitution
  • 3 May - Second census of Northern Rhodesia


  • Apr - Delegation went to Cape Town to interview South African Government in regard to terms of admission of Rhodesia into the Union of South Africa
  • 27 Oct - Referendum held on whether Southern Rhodesia should join the Union or assume Responsible Government. 2,785 majority for Responsible Government
  • BSA administration ended, the white minority opted for self-government.


  • 12 Sep - Great Britain annexed Southern Rhodesia as a Crown Colony with J.R. Chancellor as first Governor
  • 1 Oct - Responsible Government established with Coghlan as first premier of Southern Rhodesia


  • First elections to Legislative Assembly of Southern Rhodesia
  • Sir Charles Coghlan became first Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia
  • 1 Apr - Sir Herbert Stanley became the first Governor of Northern Rhodesia
  • 23 May - first meeting of Legislative Council of Northern Rhodesia
  • 30 May - new Legislative Assembly of Southern Rhodesia opened


  • Sulfide deposits yielding a high proportion of copper were discovered near Ndola, Northern Rhodesia


  • 2 Sep - H.U. Moffat (a grandson of the famous missionary, Dr. Robert Moffat) succeeded Coghlan as premier after latter's death


  • 31 Aug - Beit Bridge opened on Limpopo

1930 - Land Apportionment Act restricted black access to land, forcing many into wage labour.

1930-1960s - Nationalist groups - the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) emerged in the 1960s as black opposition grew.


  • 5 May - Third census of Northern Rhodesia


  • 29 Jun - Government bought British South Africa Company's mineral rights for £2 000 000
  • 6 Jul - The Hon. H. U. Moffat resigned Premiership and was succeeded by the Hon. George Mitchell
  • 6 Sep - General Election. The Hon. G. M. Huggins became Prime Minister


  • Split in the Reform Party. A General Election was held and the United Party was returned with large majority. Hon. G. M. Huggins, Prime Minister


  • Birchenough Bridge across the Sabi River was opened
  • First State Lottery draw was held
  • Rhodesia House, 429, Strand, London, was opened
  • Salisbury became a city
  • Trade agreement with South Africa came into force


  • Royal Commission under Lord Bledisloe considered the question of closer association between the Rhodesias and Nyasaland


  • 21 Mar - Publication of the Bledisloe Report respecting amalgamation of the Rhodesias
  • 14 Apr - Huggins' United Party again carried the general election
  • 24 May - Otto Beit Bridge over the Zambezi River at Chirundu was opened
  • 03 Sep - Outbreak of World War II


  • Army camps were established in Salisbury, Bulawayo and Umtali for initial and advanced training. During the 1939-45 war, Southern Rhodesia contributed, on a pro rata population basis, more fighting men than any other Commonwealth country.
  • 24 May - First Empire Training School for the Royal Air Force was opened at Salisbury


  • Southern Rhodesia Military Forces came under the Union of South Africa Command


  • 18 Oct - Central African Council established


  • 8 May - all German Forces in Europe surrendered
  • 15 Aug - Japan surrendered. End of World War II


  • 25 Apr - Huggins' United Party won the general election in which Liberal Party showed major gains


  • 7 Apr - Royal visit to Southern Rhodesia. The Royal Family arrived by air in Salisbury and King George VI opened the second session of the Sixth Parliament
  • 30 Apr - Parliament agreed to purchase the Rhodesia Railways for £30 million


  • 15 Sep - Sir Godfrey Huggins' United Party again won the general election, in which Ian Smith entered the Legislative Assembly


  • Feb - Preliminary conference held at the Victoria Falls between representatives of the Southern Rhodesia Government and unofficial representatives of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland on the federation of the three territories


  • 12 Mar - 100 young Rhodesians went to the Far East to form a squadron of the Malayan Scouts


  • 6 Feb 1952 Death of King George VI
  • 8 Feb 1952 Princess Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen
  • 18 Jun 1952 The White Paper on the proposed Federation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland was tabled in the Legislative Assembly
  • 29 Sep 1952 Lake McIlwaine near Salisbury was opened


  • Jan - The Prime Minister, Sir Godfrey Huggins, attended the final conference on Federation in London
  • 9 Apr - European voters ratified the Federation in a general referendum. 25,560 voted for, and 14,729 voted against
  • 3 Jul - Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother opened the Central African Rhodes Centenary Exhibition at Bulawayo
  • 1 Aug The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was formed. This federation was also known as the Central African Federation.
  • 7 Sep - Sir Godfrey Huggins resigned his Premiership and was succeeded by Mr. R. S. Garfield Todd
  • 15 Dec - General Election for the First Federal Assembly was won by the Federal Party with Sir Godfrey Huggins as Prime Minister
  • Britain created the Central African Federation, made up of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi).


  • 27 Jan - The General Election for Southern Rhodesia's eighth Parliament was won by the United Rhodesia Party. R. S. Garfield Todd, Prime Minister
  • 3 Feb - First session of the first Parliament of the Federation was opened
  • 1 Apr - Sir Gilbert Rennie, formerly Governor of Northern Rhodesia, became the first Federal High Commissioner in the United Kingdom


  • 1 Mar - The Federal Government announced its decision to proceed with the construction of the Kariba hydro-electric power project, and in August the river diversion works were started.
  • 1 Aug - The new railway line to Lourenco Marques, through the Lowveld, was opened.


  • 3 Mar - Mr. Winston Field was elected leader of a new political party, the Dominion Party, at a meeting in Salisbury
  • 1 Jun - The first day of official civil operations at Salisbury's new international airport
  • 31 Oct - Roy Welensky succeeded Huggins (now Lord Malvern) as federal prime minister


  • 6 Jun - Mr. Winston Field won the Mrewa by-election and became Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament
  • 12 Sep - African National Congress founded


  • Dr. Hastings Banda returned to Nyasaland after an absence of 40 years and assumed leadership of African National Congress party
  • 18 Feb - Edgar Whitehead replaced Todd as Southern Rhodesian prime minister after a cabinet revolt. Sir Edgar formed a Cabinet and stood for Parliament in a by-election at Hillside (Bulawayo) but was defeated by Dominion Party opponent
  • 5 Jun - The Rhodesia Party merged with Federal Party to form United Federal Party. Whitehead was retained as prime minister after UFP barely carried general election (17 seats to 13 for the Dominion Party) 1959
  • Troops and police from Southern Rhodesia were sent to assist local security forces.
  • Dr. Banda and principal lieutenants were arrested and sent to Southern Rhodesia for detention
  • Widespread riots and disturbances broke out in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, being particularly serious in Nyasaland where a plot to murder the Governor and top officials was revealed
  • 25 Feb - The Security Branch in Southern Rhodesia arrested African Congress leaders and nipped a planned rising in bud. In Northern Rhodesia the Governor, Sir Arthur Benson, banned the A.N.C.


  • Monckton Commission was appointed to consider the future of the Federation, and visited all three territories. It was boycotted by the African nationalists in the two northern territories. The Commission recommended that individual territories be given the right of secession
  • UNIP (United National Independence Party) formed by Kenneth Kaunda to campaign for independence and dissolution of federation dominated by white-ruled Southern Rhodesia.
  • 1 Jan - National Democratic Party formed
  • 17 May - Kariba Dam was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
  • 19 Jul - The arrest of National Democratic Party leaders led to bloody rioting
  • Dec - The Federal Review Conference assembled at Lancaster House, London, under the chairmanship of British Prime Minister, Mr. Harold McMillan. African nationalist leaders of three territories walked out on the opening day. The conference adjourned for theChristmas break and was not resumed 1961
  • New Constitution was granted to Northern Rhodesia which aggravated relations between Federal and British Governments
  • Feb - A conference to review Southern Rhodesia's Constitution opened in Salisbury with British Commonwealth Secretary, Mr. Duncan Sandys, as chairman. Conference agreed on the removal of reservations in return for Declaration of Rights and appointment of Constitutional Council. Parliament was to be enlarged from 30 to 65 members and Africans were to be given representation through "B" Roll. African Nationalist militants started civil disturbances
  • 26 Jul - New constitutional proposals were approved in referendum by 41,940 votes to 21,836
  • 18 Sep - Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary-General of the UN, was killed in a suspicious plane crash in Northern Rhodesia. He was flying to negotiate a cease-fire in the Congo. Hammarskjold was the son of a former Swedish prime minister. In 1953, he was elected to the top UN post and in 1957 was reelected. During his second term, he initiated and directed the United Nation's vigorous role in the Belgian Congo.
  • 9 Dec - The National Democratic Party was banned
  • 18 Dec - Zimbabwe African People's Union was founded


  • New Constitutions were granted to Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland which ensured the return of African nationalist governments
  • 16 Mar - The British Government created a new office of Central African Affairs, headed by Mr. R. A. Butler, Home Secretary, to look after Federation and constituent territories
  • 16 Mar - Sir Roy Welensky resigned to hold a General Election to obtain a new mandate on the future of the Federation. The official opposition, Rhodesian Front (formerly Dominion Party), decided not to contest election
  • 27 Apr - General Election resulted in U.F.P. controlling 54 out of 59 seats in Federal Assembly
  • May - Mr. R. A. Butler visited the Federation and indicated that Nyasaland would be allowed to secede
  • Jun - A team of advisors were to investigate the consequences of Federal break-up
  • 20 Sep - Zimbabwe African People's Union was banned
  • Nov - New Nyasaland constitutional talks were held in London. Territory was to be granted self-government without delay
  • 1962 - It was officially announced that Nyasaland would be allowed to secede. The British decision is bitterly attacked by Sir Roy Welensky, who charged Britain with "bad faith"
  • 14 Dec - The Rhodesian Front won the Southern Rhodesian election, Winston Field became prime minister. The Rhodesian Front gained 35 seats to U.F.P.'s 29, and the Central Africa Party (left wing) was eliminated


  • Roland Rowland (d.1998) became chief executive of the London and Rhodesia Mining and Land Co. (Lonrho). Over the next 30 years "Tiny" turned it into a conglomerate with more than 1000 subsidiaries in over 60 countries.
  • Mar - Federal, Northern Rhodesian and Southern Rhodesian Governments were invited to London to prepare an agenda for a conference on the future of the federation
  • 26 Mar - Kaunda demanded that Northern Rhodesia be given right to secede
  • 29 Mar - The British Government announced that any territory would have the right to secede
  • Jun - Federal break-up conference was held at Victoria Falls with all governments represented
  • 8 Aug - The Zimbabwe African National Union was founded, Communist-trained saboteurs were arrested
  • 10 Aug - People's Caretaker Council was formed as ZAPU front
  • 27 Sep - Order-in-Council was signed by the Queen detailing functions to be handed back to territorial governments
  • 10 Dec - Federal Parliament met and was prorogued for the last time by Acting Governor-General, Sir Humphrey Gibbs
  • 12 Dec - British Order-in-Council was published detailing arrangements for liquidating the Federation
  • 31 Dec - The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was officially dissolved. Northern Rhodesia became Zambia. Southern Rhodesia became known as Rhodesia


  • 1 Jan - Mr. Evan Campbell, C.B.E., was appointed Rhodesian High Commissioner in London
  • 01 Jan - The Southern Rhodesian Government launched a drive to stamp out intimidation in African townships
  • 13 Apr - Ian Smith (Minister of the Treasury) displaced Winston Field a prime minister and tried to persuade Britain to grant independence.
  • 16 Apr - Government detained Joshua Nkomo
  • May - Dr. W. Alexander, Speaker of the Legislature Assembly died. He was succeeded in July by Mr. A. R. W. Stumbles, M.P. for Avondale
  • 26 Aug - Government banned ZANU, PCC, and African Daily News and declared Highfield an emergency area. Sithole and Mugabe were detained
  • Oct - By-elections were held in Arundel and Avondale constituencies. Sir Roy Welensky, Rhodesia Party leader, was defeated at Arundel by Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. C. W. Dupont, and the Rhodesian Front candidate won Avondale. Both were Front gains from Rhodesia Party
  • Oct - Rhodesian Chiefs held an Indaba at Domboshawa, near Salisbury, and voted unanimously in favour of independence. The Indaba was boycotted by the British Government
  • Oct - Southern Rhodesia was to be henceforth known as "Rhodesia"
  • 24 Oct - Northern Rhodesia became independent as Zambia - Kenneth Kaunda President.
  • 5 Nov - A Public referendum by European voters endorsed independence. Votes in favour 58,176, votes against 6,101. Overall percentage poll, 61,6 per cent, of which 89,1 per cent, voted "yes"
  • Dec - Sir Roy Welensky announced his retirement from Rhodesian politics and resigned as leader of the Rhodesia Party


  • Feb - The British Secretary for Commonwealth Relations, Mr. A. G. Bottomley, and the Lord Chancellor, Lord Gardiner, visited Rhodesia to discuss the independence issue with all sections of the population. Mr. Bottomley stressed that while the British Government favoured a peaceful transition, the granting of independence must be on a basis acceptable to the people of the country as a whole.
  • Apr - The Prime Minister announced a General Election with a view to securing a two-thirds majority in Parliament. On Nomination Day 22 Rhodesian Front members were returned unopposed
  • 07 May - The Country went to the polls. The result was a clean sweep of all the 28 "A" Roll seats contested in favour of the Rhodesian Front. Rhodesia Party secured majority of "B" Roll seats. An African member, Mr. Gondo, was appointed Leader of the Opposition
  • 31 May - United Peoples Party was founded
  • Jun - Rhodesia Party was dissolved
  • 9 Jun - The First Session of the 11th Parliament of Rhodesia was officially opened. In the Speech from the Throne, the Governor, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, said that the Government's return to power at the General Election with a greatly increased majority was a mandate for it to lead Rhodesia to full independence. Referring to the economy, the Governor said that it was poised for an even higher rate of growth than that achieved in 1964
  • 16 Jun - Mr. Campbell, C.B.E., relinquished his appointment as Rhodesian High Commissioner in London, and was succeeded by Brigadier A. Skeen, O.B.E.
  • 21 Jul - Mr. Gledwyn Hughes, Minister of State for Commonwealth Affairs, arrived in Rhodesia to have personal talks with Mr. Smith concerning negotiations on Independence
  • 27 Jul - Mr. Gledwyn Hughes left to report progress to Mr. Bottomley with specific proposals on the Independence issue from Mr. Smith
  • 08 Oct - The London talks broke down. Independence based on 1961 Constitution was not acceptable to Britain
  • 17 Oct - The Prime Minister, Mr. Smith, returned from London. Mr. Wilson proposed a Commonwealth Prime Minister's mission to be sent to Rhodesia in a bid to solve Rhodesian independence crisis
  • 20 Oct - Mr. Smith proposed Independence on the 1961 Constitution and offered a treaty to guarantee that the undertaking would not change it after Independence
  • 26 Oct - Harold Wilson and Mr. Bottomley visited Salisbury to discuss independence
  • 30 Oct - The Royal Commission proposed to find a solution to Rhodesian problem was to consist of the Chief Justice of Rhodesia as Chairman and two other persons, one appointed by the Rhodesian Government and one by the British Government. Mr. Wilson left
  • 11 Nov - Press censorship was imposed
  • 11 Nov - Prime Minister Ian Smith unilaterally declared Rhodesian independent under white minority rule, sparking international outrage and economic sanctions. Great Britain declared this action illegal and banned trade with Rhodesia. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence was issued under 1965 Constitution. The new Constitution was based on the 1961 Constitution, amended as necessary to suit a fully independent Sovereign State
  • 16 Nov 1965 British Government passes Southern Rhodesian Enabling Act permitting Orders in Council to make provision to amend, revoke or add to any of the provisions of the 1961 Constitution and also to apply sanctions against Rhodesia
  • 17 Nov - Mr. C. W. Dupont was appointed as Acting Officer Administering the Government
  • 25 Nov - The British Parliament approved sanctions imposed by Orders in Council on 16th November
  • 03 Dec - The British Government suspended the Governor and Directors of Reserve Bank of Rhodesia and seized Rhodesian reserves in Great Britain.
  • 16 Dec - Wilson appealed to U.N.O. for support to end "rebellion" in Rhodesia. He ruled out the use of force and accepted responsibility for dealing with the matter
  • 17 Dec - Wilson, having received U.N.O. support, declared an oil embargo against Rhodesia and started an oil airlift to Zambia. Rhodesia banned oil exports to Zambia
  • 28 Dec - Petrol rationing was introduced in Rhodesia


  • 02 Jan - The Prime Minister, Mr. Smith, offered to restore flow of petrol and oil to Zambia quite unconditionally, subject to acceptable arrangements for payment
  • 14 Jan - Lagos Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference. Wilson accepted that the use of force could not be precluded
  • 31 Jan - Wilson imposed total embargo on all trade with Rhodesia
  • 18 Feb - His Excellency the Officer Administering the Government, Mr. Clifford Dupont, assented to the Constitution (Ratification) Bill which had previously been passed by Parliament by more than a two-thirds majority. The 1965 Constitution therefore became Law
  • 10 Apr - The Security Council agreed that Britain should use force to prevent oil flowing to Rhodesia via Beira
  • 27 Apr - The British Prime Minister announced informal talks at official level with Rhodesia
  • 28 Apr - ZANLA combatants engaged Rhodesian Security Forces at the battle of Sinoia
  • 16 May - A European farmer and his wife were murdered by terrorists
  • 19 Sep - Royal Air Force units withdrew from Zambia. Oil airlift was ended
  • 02 Dec - Harold Wilson and Ian Smith met off Gibraltar on board H.M.S. Tiger in the "Tiger Talks"
  • 05 Dec - The Rhodesian Government accepted Wilson's proposals as a basis for a new Constitution, but rejected those concerning the return to so-called legality by handing over powers to the Governor, and renouncing its Independence
  • 16 Dec - On the illegal application of the British Government, the United Nations unlawfully voted for Selected Mandatory Sanctions, including oil, against Rhodesia
  • 20 Dec - The British Prime Minister stated in their House of Commons that Rhodesia would not be granted Independence before African Majority rule


  • 09 Mar - A Five-man Constitutional Commission headed by Mr. W. R. Whaley was sworn in by the Officer Administering the Government
  • 14 Jun - The British Prime Minister sent Lord Alport, ex-British High Commissioner to the defunct Federation, to Rhodesia to see if the 18-month deadlock could be broken
  • 26 Jul - Mr. Wilson announced a new initiative on Rhodesia, which amounted to discovering whether the Tiger constitutional proposals should be re-negotiated through Sir Humphrey Gibbs, by correspondence
  • 09 Nov - Mr. Thompson and the Rhodesian Prime Minister had four-hour secret personal discussion


  • 24 Feb - Sir Alec Douglas-Home visited Rhodesia
  • 03 Mar - Rhodesia's' Appeal Court dismissed the appeal of three Africans convicted of brutal murder, as it had been decided that the Rhodesian Government was the de facto Government, and there was no right of Appeal to the Privy Council, under the 1965 Constitution. The Queen reprieved the three Africans under sentence of death that night, and commuted death sentences to one of life imprisonment
  • 04 Mar - Mr. Justice Fieldsend resigned as a Judge of the High Court in protest against recent happenings
  • 05 Mar - An application was made to the Appellate Division of the High Court following the Queen's reprieve. The application was dismissed
  • 06 Mar - Three African murderers were hanged in accordance with the Law. The Rhodesian Government issued a statement on the execution
  • 31 Mar - Francistown Radio was closed
  • 06 Apr - Censorship in Rhodesia was lifted
  • 10 Apr - the Whaley Commission Report was published
  • 11 Apr - Mr. J. M. Greenfield was appointed Judge of the High Court in terms of the 1965 Constitution
  • 09 May - Sir Frederick Crawford, Resident Director of Anglo-American Corporation, had his passport impounded by British Government on a visit to London
  • 29 May - The United Nations voted for comprehensive mandatory sanctions
  • 18 Jun - The House of Lords defeated the sanctions order passed by House of Commons
  • 04 Jul - Mr. W. J. Harper, Minister of Internal Affairs, resigned his post at the request of the Prime Minister
  • 09 Aug - The High Court refused to accept an order from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
  • 13 Aug - Mr. Justice Dendy Young resigned as a Judge of the High Court
  • 28 Aug - Abel Muzorewa was made UMC Bishop of Rhodesia
  • 13 Sep - The Appellate Division of the High Court of Rhodesia ruled that the Government was in its opinion the de jure Government
  • 30 Sep - Bechuanaland became independent as the Republic of Botswana
  • 10 - 13 Oct - Talks between Mr. Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia, and Mr. Wilson, Prime Minister of Great Britain, took place aboard H.M.S. Fearless
  • 04 Nov - Talks began in Salisbury between Mr. Thompson and Mr. Smith
  • 11 Nov - The New (green and white) flag was raised in Rhodesia
  • 18 Nov - Mr. Thompson's mission ended in failure. Rhodesia's rejection of the proposals based on the Fearless talks was announced


  • Jan - Rhodesia was attacked at the Commonwealth Conference in London
  • 12 Jan - Four hundred demonstrators attacked Rhodesia House and South Africa House in London
  • 13 Feb - The Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole, leader of the banned Zimbabwe African National Union, was sentenced to six years' imprisonment in Salisbury for plotting to assassinate Mr. Ian Smith and two members of the Rhodesian Cabinet
  • 16 Mar - Mr. Winston Field, C.M.G., M.B.E., the first Rhodesian Front Party Prime Minister, died in Salisbury
  • 19 May - Mr. Ian Smith said that the "intractable British attitude" had ended hopes of a negotiated settlement of the independence dispute. He announced that proposals for a new constitution were to be published in a White Paper on 20th May, which would be voted on at a referendum on 20th June. The referendum would also decide whether Rhodesia should assume Republican status
  • 20 Jun - The European electorate voted in favour of a Republic in referendum. Eighty-one per cent of the votes cast were in favour of becoming a Republic and 72,5 per cent were in favour of adopting the Constitutional proposals put forward by the Rhodesian Government
  • 24 Jun - Mr. Clifford Dupont, the Officer Administering the Government, opened the last session of the Rhodesian Parliament
  • 24 Jun - Sir Humphrey Gibbs resigned as governor
  • 09 Jul - Sir Humphrey Gibbs was appointed a member of the Privy Council and promoted to Knight Grand Cross of the Victorian Order
  • 14 Jul - Rhodesia House in London, and the British Residual Mission in Salisbury, were both closed
  • 17 Nov - The Constitutional Bill was passed by the Rhodesian Parliament
  • 29 Nov - The new constitution became law. Mr. Clifford Dupont, Officer Administering of the Government, signed the new constitution
  • 19 Dec - The University College of Rhodesia decided that it would award its own degrees and not those of the University of London

1960s-1970s - Key enterprises were nationalised in Zambia. Private land nationalised in an unsuccessful agricultural improvement programme.


  • 2 March: Rhodesia declared itself a republic
  • Black guerrillas fighting white rule attempted unsuccessfully to blast the body of Cecil Rhodes from his granite tomb in the Matopos Hills, Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe).


  • Civil War between government troops and black guerrillas


  • Rhodesia’s Bishop Abel Muzorewa formed the African National Council (ANC) opening negotiations with the regime of Ian Smith.


  • Guerrilla war against white rule intensified, with rivals Zanu and Zapu operating out of Zambia and Mozambique.


  • Zambia became a one-party state, with UNIP as the only legal party.


  • Tanzania-Zambia railway was opened, providing a link between the Copperbelt to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, reducing Zambian dependence on Rhodesia and South Africa for its exports.


  • Zambia declared support for the independence struggle in Rhodesia. Zambian help proved crucial to the transition of Rhodesia to an independent Zimbabwe.


  • 1977-1979 Prime Minister Smith began to make plans to establish a new government with a majority of black leaders


  • 3 Mar - Ian Smith signed an agreement with moderate black leaders, who had pledged to eschew war and to bring black majority rule into effect by Dec 31. Bishop Abel Muzorewa signed the agreement with Smith, founding nationalist Ndabaningi Sithole and
  • Smith yielded to pressure for negotiated settlement.
  • Elections for transitional legislature were boycotted by Patriotic Front made up of Zanu and Zapu.
  • New government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, failed to gain international recognition. Civil war continued.


  • British-brokered all-party talks at Lancaster House in London led to a peace agreement and new constitution, which guaranteed minority rights.
  • April: Election resulted in a majority of black leaders
  • April: Abel T. Muzorewa became the first black Prime Minister
  • 31 May: Zimbabwe proclaimed independence
  • 1 June: The nation of Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, was formed


  • 18 April: Great Britain recognized the country's independence and Rhodesia's name was officially changed to Zimbabwe
  • Veteran pro-independence leader Robert Mugabe and his Zanu party won British-supervised independence elections. Mugabe was named prime minister and included Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo in his cabinet.


  • Mugabe sacked Nkomo, accusing him of preparing to overthrow the government.
  • North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade deployed to crush rebellion by pro-Nkomo ex-guerrillas in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. Government forces were accused of killing thousands of civilians over next few years.


  • Mugabe, Nkomo merged their parties to form Zanu-PF, ending the violence in southern areas.


  • Mugabe changed constitution, became executive president.


  • Food riots took place in Zambia


  • The Commonwealth adopted the Harare Declaration at its summit in Zimbabwe, reaffirming its aims of fostering international peace and security, democracy, freedom of the individual and equal rights for all.
  • In Zambia a multi-party constitution was adopted. The Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) won the elections and its leader, Frederick Chiluba, became president.


  • Change to the Zambian constitution effectively barred Kaunda from future elections. Chiluba was re-elected.


  • There was an attempted coup in Zambia.


  • Economic crisis accompanied by riots and strikes.


  • Economic crisis persisted, Zimbabwe's military involvement in DR Congo's civil war became increasingly unpopular.
  • In Zambia a high court sentences 59 soldiers to death after they are found guilty of treason for the failed coup attempt in 1997.
  • Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was formed.


  • February - President Mugabe suffered defeat in referendum on draft constitution. Voters rejected a new constitution which included provisions that called for redistribution of white-owned farmland to blacks
  • Squatters seized hundreds of white-owned farms in an ongoing and violent campaign to reclaim what they said was stolen by settlers.
  • May - Fighting between Angolan forces and UNITA rebels spilled over into Zambian territory.
  • July - In Zambia environment Minister Ben Mwila was expelled from the MMD and dropped from the cabinet after announcing his intention to run for president in 2001.
  • June - Parliamentary elections: Zanu-PF narrowly fought off a challenge from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, but lost its power to change the constitution.
  • Squatters invaded hundreds of white-owned farms in a government-supported campaign


  • May - Defence Minister Moven Mahachi was killed in a car crash - the second minister to die in that way in a month.
  • July - Finance Minister Simba Makoni publicly acknowledged economic crisis, saying foreign reserves had run out and warning of serious food shortages. Most western donors, including the World Bank and the IMF, had cut aid because of President Mugabe's land seizure programme.


  • February - Parliament passed a law limiting media freedom. The European Union imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe and pulled out its election observers after the EU team leader was expelled.
  • March - Mugabe was re-elected in presidential elections condemned as seriously flawed by the opposition and foreign observers.
  • Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe from its councils for a year after concluding that elections were marred by high levels of violence.
  • April - State of disaster was declared as worsening food shortages threatened famine.
  • June - 45-day countdown for some 2,900 white farmers to leave their land began, under terms of a land-acquisition law passed in May.


  • March - Widely-observed general strike was followed by arrests and beatings.
  • June - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested twice during a week of opposition protests. He was charged with treason, added to an existing treason charge from 2002 over an alleged plot to kill President Mugabe.
  • The razing of "illegal structures" in 2005 left about 700,000 people without homes
  • November - Canaan Banana, Zimbabwe's first black president, died aged 67.
  • December - Zimbabwe pulled out of Commonwealth after organisation decided to extend suspension of country indefinitely.


  • March - A group of mercenaries allegedly on the way to Equatorial Guinea to stage a coup was intercepted after landing at Harare airport. Their leader, British national Simon Mann, was sentenced to seven years in prison for attempting to buy guns.
  • October - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was acquitted of treason charges relating to an alleged plot to kill President Mugabe. He faced a separate treason charge.


  • January - The US labeled Zimbabwe as one of the world's six "outposts of tyranny". Zimbabwe rejected the statement.
  • March - Ruling Zanu-PF party won two-thirds of the votes in parliamentary polls. Main opposition party said that the election was rigged against it.
  • May-July - Tens of thousands of shanty dwellings and illegal street stalls were destroyed as part of a "clean-up" programme. The UN estimated that the drive left about 700,000 people homeless.
  • August - Prosecutors dropped the remaining treason charges against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
  • November - Ruling Zanu-PF party won an overwhelming majority of seats in a newly-created upper house of parliament, the Senate.
  • The opposition MDC split over its leader's decision to boycott the poll.
  • December - UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said Zimbabwe was in "meltdown".


  • May - Year-on-year inflation exceeded 1,000%. New banknotes, with three noughts deleted from their values, were introduced in August.
  • September - Riot police disrupted a planned demonstration against the government's handling of the economic crisis. Union leaders were taken into custody and later hospitalised, allegedly after being tortured.
  • December - Ruling ZANU-PF party approved a plan to move presidential polls from 2008 to 2010, effectively extending Mr Mugabe's rule by two years.


  • February - Rallies, demonstrations banned for three months. The ban was extended in May.
  • March - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was hospitalised after his arrest at a rally. One man was shot dead as riot police moved to disperse the gathering.
  • May - Warnings of power cuts for up to 20 hours a day while electricity was diverted towards agriculture.
  • June - Ruling ZANU-PF and opposition MDC held preliminary talks in South Africa.
  • Nov 20 - Ian Smith (88), Rhodesia's last white prime minister, died in South Africa .


  • March - Presidential and parliamentary elections. Opposition MDC claimed victory.
  • May - Electoral body said Tsvangirai won most votes in presidential poll, but not enough to avoid a run-off against Mugabe.
  • June - Run-off went ahead. Mugabe declared winner. Tsvangirai pulled out days before poll, complaining of intimidation.
  • July - EU, US widened sanctions against Zimbabwe's leaders.
  • Sept - Mugabe, Tsvangirai signed power-sharing agreement. Implementation stalled over who was to get top ministerial jobs.
  • December - Zimbabwe declared a national emergency over a cholera epidemic and the collapse of its health care system.


  • January - Government allowed the use of foreign currencies to try to stem hyperinflation.
  • February - Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister, after protracted talks over formation of government.
  • March - Tsvangirai's wife was killed in a car crash. He was injured.
  • June - Constitutional review began..
  • September - One year after power-sharing deal, MDC remained frustrated and alleged persecution and violence against members.


  • 8 Apr - The retired bishop Abel Muzorewa (85) died. He was the first black leader of the former Rhodesia and was later an opponent of Zimbabwe's Pres. Mugabe.


// this project is in History Link