British South Africa Company


British South Africa Company

▪ British company
      mercantile company, based in London, that was incorporated in 1889 under a royal charter at the instigation of Cecil Rhodes (Rhodes, Cecil), with the object of acquiring and exercising commercial and administrative rights in south-central Africa. The charter gave the company rights to maintain or distribute vast territory; the company was also authorized to make treaties, establish a police force, and set up banking firms. The charter was initially granted for 25 years, and it was extended for a 10-year period in 1915.

      By 1900 the company was administering both Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and by various means had acquired substantial land and mineral rights. Company rule ended in Southern Rhodesia in 1923, when the white settlers were granted responsible government, and in Northern Rhodesia in 1924, when the Colonial Office assumed control. The company retained its commercial assets, however, and its mineral rights in Northern Rhodesia became a valuable source of revenue following the development of the copper-mining industry in that territory between World Wars I and II. On the eve of Zambia's independence, the company was forced, by the threat of expropriation, to assign its mineral rights to the local government. The company merged with two other companies to form Charter Consolidated, Ltd., in 1965.

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Universalium. 2010.

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