In accordance with the terms of aforementioned concessions and treaties, mass settlement was encouraged, with the British maintaining control over labor as well as over precious metals and other mineral resources.
In 1895 the BSAC adopted the name “Rhodesia” for the territory, in honour of Rhodes. In 1898 “Southern Rhodesia” became the official name for the region south of the Zambezi, which later adopted the name “Zimbabwe”. The region to the north, administered separately, was later termed Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia). Shortly after Rhodes’ the disastrous Rhodes-sponsored Jameson Raid (December 1895 – January 1896) on the South African Republic, the Ndebele rebelled against white rule, led by their charismatic religious leader, Mlimo. The Second Matabele War of 1896-1897 lasted in Matabeleland until 1896, when a British operation had Mlimo assassinated. Shona agitators staged unsuccessful revolts (known as Chimurenga) against company rule during 1896 and 1897.
Following these failed insurrections, the Rhodes administration subdued the Ndebele and Shona groups and organized the land with a disproportionate bias favoring Europeans, thus displacing many indigenous peoples.
The United Kingdom annexed Southern Rhodesia on 12 September 1923. Shortly after annexation, on 1 October 1923, the first constitution for the new Colony of Southern Rhodesia came into force.
Under the new constitution, Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony, subsequent to a 1922 referendum. Rhodesians of all races served on behalf of the United Kingdom during the two World Wars in the early-20th century. Proportional to the white population, Southern Rhodesia contributed more per capita to both the First and Second World Wars than any other part of the Empire, including Britain itself.
The 1930 Land Apportionment Act restricted black land ownership to certain segments of the country, setting aside large areas solely for the purchase of the white minority. This act, which led to rapidly rising inequality, became the subject of frequent calls for subsequent land reform.
In 1953, in the face of African opposition, Britain consolidated the two Rhodesias with Nyasaland (Malawi) in the ill-fated Central African Federation, which Southern Rhodesia essentially dominated. Growing African nationalism and general dissent, particularly in Nyasaland, persuaded Britain to dissolve the Union in 1963, forming three separate divisions. While multiracial democracy was finally introduced to Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, however, Southern Rhodesians of European ancestry continued to enjoy minority rule.
Following Zambian independence (effective from October 1964), Ian Smith‘s Rhodesian Front (RF) government in Salisbury dropped the designation “Southern” in 1964 (once Northern Rhodesia had changed its name to Zambia, having the word Southern before the name Rhodesia became unnecessary and the country simply became known as Rhodesia afterwards). Intent on effectively repudiating the recently adopted British policy of “no independence before majority rule“, Smith issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (commonly abbreviated to “UDI”) from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965. This marked the first such course taken by a rebel British colony since the American declaration of 1776, which Smith and others indeed claimed provided a suitable precedent to their own actions.