Zimbabwe under colonial rule, in Government reports, 1897-1980

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Annual departmental reports relating to Southern Rhodesia, 1897-1980

Annual departmental reports relating to Southern Rhodesia, 1897-1980

The outbreak of rinderpest early in 1896 destroyed the means of transport, and this, followed almost immediately by an extensive native rising, practically confined operations (save those of maintenance) to the line of railway
Mr G. H. Evans, the Postmaster-General, 1896Postmaster General, 1896-1938

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Discover how Zimbabwe's Ndebele natives were treated by the British

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The occupation of Southern Rhodesia was first triggered by the discovery of gold in South Africa. When the British South Africa Company's hopes of uncovering gold in Mashonaland were not realised, they attacked and defeated the Ndebele in 1893, then occupied Matabeleland too. The Company's treatment of the native population inspired the Shona and Ndebele Risings of 1896-1897, this rebellion was defeated with great difficulty. After its defeat some more experienced colonial managers were appointed to administrate Rhodesia and those managers initiated the publication of the reports reproduced here. Southern Rhodesia was first formally annexed as a British colony from 1923, Northern Rhodesia became a British Colony in 1924. From 1953 to 1963 Southern Rhodesia was re-united with Northern Rhodesia to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The Federal period witnessed considerable white immigration, the white population of Southern Rhodesia trebled between 1945 and 1960;" this increase was actively encouraged by the white population who administered the running of the country. This exponential population growth increased political tensions between the native and the white populations, these tensions came to a head in the mid 1960?s. In 1964 Northern Rhodesia became independent as Zambia, Southern Rhodesia would begin calling itself Rhodesia. Then in 1965, after its attempts to negotiate independence failed, the government which only represented the white settlers made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. This declaration of 'independence' was not recognised by the outside world and gave rise to guerrilla warfare internally. The war ended with a 'power-sharing' agreement including some black politicians in June 1979;" this was followed by the constitutional agreement between the warring factions of Zimbabwe and the UK Government, which was reached at Lancaster House in December 1979, this in-turn led to the first election under universal suffrage. These annual reports illustrate the dramatic historical development of Southern Rhodesia from corporate colonisation, through imperial colonisation, to independence.


Zimbabwe under colonial rule, in Government reports, 1897-1980...

Containing 98,505 pages belonging to 155 documents housed in 12 volumes...

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Administration, 1897-1977

Three different colonial offices held responsibility for the administration of Southern Rhodesia between 1897 and 1980. Between 1890 and 1913...

Auditor General, 1914-1980

The major financial reports for Southern Rhodesia are those of the Auditor General 1914-1980, Estimates from 1899-1980, Financial Statements 1940-1980,...

Accounting Estimates, 1899-1980

These records cover the estimates of expenditure to be defrayed from revenue and loan funds, whether from monies initially allocated...

Miscellaneous Financial Records, 1918-1980

These financial records include papers regarding: Financial Statements, Taxes, Economic Reports, Economic Surveys, Public Sector Investment, the Rhodesia Currency Boards,...


  • These reports are arranged by the departments which they cover within Zimbabwe. Comparing the data in them shows how each area of government has developed over the years.
  • These papers cover the Second Matabele War in Mashonaland, now known as the First Chimurenga, and describe its aftermath.
  • The coverage of these items includes the Boer War, where the police had to fight, World War One and World War Two. Social services in the colony also feature.
  • Annual Departmental Reports differ from Blue Books of Statistics because they include explanations of why the statistics are at the levels recorded.
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