|Name:||Cecil John Rhodes|
|Real Name:||Cecil Rhodes|
|Birth Day:||July 5, 1853|
|Death Date:||26 March 1902(1902-03-26) (aged 48)
Muizenberg, Cape Colony
(now South Africa)
|Birth Place:||Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, British|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Cecil John Rhodes died on 26 March 1902(1902-03-26) (aged 48)
Muizenberg, Cape Colony
(now South Africa).
Rhodes was born in 1853 in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England, the fifth son of the Reverend Francis William Rhodes (1807–1878) and his wife Louisa Peacock. Francis was a Church of England clergyman who served as perpetual curate of Brentwood, Essex (1834–1843) and then as vicar of nearby Bishops Stortford (1849–1876). He was proud of never having preached a sermon longer than 10 minutes. Francis was the eldest son of William Rhodes (1774–1843), a brick manufacturer of Hackney, Middlesex. The earliest traceable direct ancestor of Cecil Rhodes is James Rhodes (fl 1660) of Snape Green, Whitmore, Staffordshire. Cecil's siblings included Frank Rhodes, an army officer.
At age seven, he was recorded in the 1861 census as boarding with his aunt, Sophia Peacock, at a boarding house in Jersey, where the climate was perceived to provide a respite for those with conditions such as asthma. His health was weak and there were fears that he might be consumptive (have tuberculosis), a disease of which several of the family showed symptoms. His father decided to send him abroad for what were believed the good effects of a sea voyage and a better climate in South Africa.
Rhodes attended the Bishop's Stortford Grammar School from the age of nine, but, as a sickly, asthmatic adolescent, he was taken out of grammar school in 1869 and, according to Basil Williams, "continued his studies under his father's eye (...).
In October 1871, 18-year-old Rhodes and his 26-year-old brother Herbert left the colony for the diamond fields of Kimberley in Northern Cape Province. Financed by N M Rothschild & Sons, Rhodes succeeded over the next 17 years in buying up all the smaller diamond mining operations in the Kimberley area.
He was sent to Natal aged 16 because it was believed the climate might help problems with his heart. On returning to England in 1872, his health again deteriorated with heart and lung problems, to the extent that his doctor, Sir Morell Mackenzie, believed he would survive only six months. He returned to Kimberley where his health improved. From age 40 his heart condition returned with increasing severity until his death from heart failure in 1902, aged 48, at his seaside cottage in Muizenberg.
In 1873, Rhodes left his farm field in the care of his business partner, Rudd, and sailed for England to study at university. He was admitted to Oriel College, Oxford, but stayed for only one term in 1873. He returned to South Africa and did not return for his second term at Oxford until 1876. He was greatly influenced by John Ruskin's inaugural lecture at Oxford, which reinforced his own attachment to the cause of British imperialism.
In 1874 and 1875, the diamond fields were in the grip of depression, but Rhodes and Rudd were among those who stayed to consolidate their interests. They believed that diamonds would be numerous in the hard blue ground that had been exposed after the softer, yellow layer near the surface had been worked out. During this time, the technical problem of clearing out the water that was flooding the mines became serious. Rhodes and Rudd obtained the contract for pumping water out of the three main mines. After Rhodes returned from his first term at Oxford, he lived with Robert Dundas Graham, who later became a mining partner with Rudd and Rhodes.
In his second will, written in 1877 before he had accumulated his wealth, Rhodes wanted to create a secret society that would bring the whole world under British rule. His biographer calls it an "extensive fantasy." Rhodes envisioned a secret society to extend British rule worldwide, including China, Japan, all of Africa and South America, and indeed the United States as well:
In 1880, Rhodes prepared to enter public life at the Cape. With the earlier incorporation of Griqualand West into the Cape Colony under the Molteno Ministry in 1877, the area had obtained six seats in the Cape House of Assembly. Rhodes chose the rural and predominately Boer constituency of Barkly West, which would remain loyal to Rhodes until his death.
On 13 March 1888, Rhodes and Rudd launched De Beers Consolidated Mines after the amalgamation of a number of individual claims. With £200,000 of capital, the company, of which Rhodes was secretary, owned the largest interest in the mine (£200,000 in 1880 = £22.5m in 2020 = $28.5m USD). Rhodes was named the chairman of De Beers at the company's founding in 1888. De Beers was established with funding from N.M. Rothschild & Sons in 1887.
Rhodes had already tried and failed to get a mining concession from Lobengula, King of the Ndebele of Matabeleland. In 1888 he tried again. He sent John Moffat, son of the missionary Robert Moffat, who was trusted by Lobengula, to persuade the latter to sign a treaty of friendship with Britain, and to look favourably on Rhodes's proposals. His associate Charles Rudd, together with Francis Thompson and Rochfort Maguire, assured Lobengula that no more than ten white men would mine in Matabeleland. This limitation was left out of the document, known as the Rudd Concession, which Lobengula signed. Furthermore, it stated that the mining companies could do anything necessary to their operations. When Lobengula discovered later the true effects of the concession, he tried to renounce it, but the British Government ignored him.
During the company's early days, Rhodes and his associates set themselves up to make millions (hundreds of millions in current pounds) over the coming years through what has been described as a "suppressio veri ... which must be regarded as one of Rhodes's least creditable actions". Contrary to what the British government and the public had been allowed to think, the Rudd Concession was not vested in the British South Africa Company, but in a short-lived ancillary concern of Rhodes, Rudd and a few others called the Central Search Association, which was quietly formed in London in 1889. This entity renamed itself the United Concessions Company in 1890, and soon after sold the Rudd Concession to the Chartered Company for 1,000,000 shares. When Colonial Office functionaries discovered this chicanery in 1891, they advised Secretary of State for the Colonies Knutsford to consider revoking the concession, but no action was taken.
Armed with the Rudd Concession, in 1889 Rhodes obtained a charter from the British Government for his British South Africa Company (BSAC) to rule, police, and make new treaties and concessions from the Limpopo River to the great lakes of Central Africa. He obtained further concessions and treaties north of the Zambezi, such as those in Barotseland (the Lochner Concession with King Lewanika in 1890, which was similar to the Rudd Concession); and in the Lake Mweru area (Alfred Sharpe's 1890 Kazembe concession). Rhodes also sent Sharpe to get a concession over mineral-rich Katanga, but met his match in ruthlessness: when Sharpe was rebuffed by its ruler Msiri, King Leopold II of Belgium obtained a concession over Msiri's dead body for his Congo Free State.
His monopoly of the world's diamond supply was sealed in 1890 through a strategic partnership with the London-based Diamond Syndicate. They agreed to control world supply to maintain high prices. Rhodes supervised the working of his brother's claim and speculated on his behalf. Among his associates in the early days were John X. Merriman and Charles Rudd, who later became his partner in the De Beers Mining Company and the Niger Oil Company.
In 1890, Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. He introduced various Acts of Parliament to push black people from their lands and make way for industrial development. Rhodes's view was that black people needed to be driven off their land to "stimulate them to labour" and to change their habits. "It must be brought home to them", Rhodes said, "that in future nine-tenths of them will have to spend their lives in manual labour, and the sooner that is brought home to them the better."
During the 1880s, Cape vineyards had been devastated by a phylloxera epidemic. The diseased vineyards were dug up and replanted, and farmers were looking for alternatives to wine. In 1892, Rhodes financed The Pioneer Fruit Growing Company at Nooitgedacht, a venture created by Harry Pickstone, an Englishman who had experience with fruit-growing in California. The shipping magnate Percy Molteno had just undertaken the first successful refrigerated export to Europe. In 1896, after consulting with Molteno, Rhodes began to pay more attention to export fruit farming and bought farms in Groot Drakenstein, Wellington and Stellenbosch. A year later, he bought Rhone and Boschendal and commissioned Sir Herbert Baker to build him a cottage there. The successful operation soon expanded into Rhodes Fruit Farms, and formed a cornerstone of the modern-day Cape fruit industry.
In 1892, Rhodes's Franchise and Ballot Act raised the property requirements from a relatively low £25 to a significantly higher £75 which had a disproportionate effect on the previously growing number of enfranchised black people in the Cape under the Cape Qualified Franchise that had been in force since 1853. By limiting the amount of land which black Africans were legally allowed to hold in the Glen Grey Act of 1894, Rhodes further disenfranchised the black population. To quote Richard Dowden, most would now "find it almost impossible to get back on the list because of the legal limit on the amount of land they could hold". In addition, Rhodes was an early architect of the Natives Land Act, 1913, which would limit the areas of the country where black Africans were allowed to settle to less than 10%. At the time, Rhodes would argue that "the native is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism, such as works in India, in our relations with the barbarism of South Africa."
Rhodes did not, however, have direct political power over the independent Boer Republic of the Transvaal. He often disagreed with the Transvaal government's policies, which he considered unsupportive of mine-owners' interests. In 1895, believing he could use his influence to overthrow the Boer government, Rhodes supported the Jameson Raid, an unsuccessful attempt to create an uprising in the Transvaal that had the tacit approval of Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain. The raid was a catastrophic failure. It forced Cecil Rhodes to resign as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, sent his oldest brother Col. Frank Rhodes to jail in Transvaal convicted of high treason and nearly sentenced to death, and contributed to the outbreak of the Second Boer War.
By the end of 1894, the territories over which the BSAC had concessions or treaties, collectively called "Zambesia" after the Zambezi River flowing through the middle, comprised an area of 1,143,000 km between the Limpopo River and Lake Tanganyika. In May 1895, its name was officially changed to "Rhodesia", reflecting Rhodes's popularity among settlers who had been using the name informally since 1891. The designation Southern Rhodesia was officially adopted in 1898 for the part south of the Zambezi, which later became Zimbabwe; and the designations North-Western and North-Eastern Rhodesia were used from 1895 for the territory which later became Northern Rhodesia, then Zambia.
In 1899, Rhodes was sued by a man named Burrows for falsely representing the purpose of the raid and thereby convincing him to participate in the raid. Burrows was severely wounded and had to have his leg amputated. His suit for £3,000 in damages was successful.
While attending Oriel College, Rhodes became a Freemason in the Apollo University Lodge. Although initially he did not approve of the organisation, he continued to be a South African Freemason until his death in 1902. The shortcomings of the Freemasons, in his opinion, later caused him to envisage his own secret society with the goal of bringing the entire world under British rule.
Rhodes decreed in his will that he was to be buried in Matopos Hills (now Matobo Hills). After his death in the Cape in 1902, his body was transported by train to Bulawayo. His burial was attended by Ndebele chiefs, who asked that the firing party should not discharge their rifles as this would disturb the spirits. Then, for the first time, they gave a white man the Matabele royal salute, Bayete. Rhodes is buried alongside Leander Starr Jameson and 34 British soldiers killed in the Shangani Patrol. Despite occasional efforts to return his body to the United Kingdom, his grave remains there still, "part and parcel of the history of Zimbabwe" and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Rhodes University College, now Rhodes University, in Grahamstown, was established in his name by his trustees and founded by Act of Parliament on 31 May 1904.
The residents of Kimberley, Northern Cape elected to build a memorial in Rhodes's honour in their city, which was unveiled in 1907. The 72-ton bronze statue depicts Rhodes on his horse, looking north with map in hand, and dressed as he was when met the Ndebele after their rebellion.
His birthplace was established in 1938 as the Rhodes Memorial Museum, now known as Bishops Stortford Museum. The cottage in Muizenberg where he died is a provincial heritage site in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The cottage today is operated as a museum by the Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society, and is open to the public. A broad display of Rhodes material can be seen, including the original De Beers board room table around which diamonds worth billions of dollars were traded.
In 2004, he was voted 56th in the SABC 3 television series Great South Africans.
Rhodes has been the target of much recent criticism, with some historians attacking him as a ruthless imperialist and white supremacist. The continued presence of his grave in the Matopos (now Matobos) hills has not been without controversy in contemporary Zimbabwe. In December 2010, Cain Mathema, the governor of Bulawayo, branded the grave outside the country's second city an "insult to the African ancestors" and said he believed its presence had brought bad luck and poor weather to the region.
In February 2012, Mugabe loyalists and ZANU-PF activists visited the grave site demanding permission from the local chief to exhume Rhodes's remains and return them to Britain. Many considered this a nationalist political stunt in the run up to an election, and Local Chief Masuku and Godfrey Mahachi, one of the country's foremost archaeologists, strongly expressed their opposition to the grave being removed due to its historical significance to Zimbabwe. Then-president Robert Mugabe also opposed the move.
Following a series of protests and vandalism at the University of Cape Town, various allied movements both in South Africa and other countries have been launched in opposition to Cecil Rhodes memorials. These include a campaign to change the name of Rhodes University and to remove a statue of Rhodes from Oriel College, Oxford. The campaign was covered in a documentary by Channel 4, which was called The Battle for Britain's Heroes. The documentary was commissioned after Afua Hirsch wrote an article on the topic. Moreover, an article by Amit Chaudhuri, in The Guardian, suggested the criticism was "unsurprising and overdue" However, Oxford University opted to keep the Rhodes statue despite the protests. Oriel College claimed in 2016 they would lose about £100 million worth of gifts if they removed the statue. Nevertheless, in June 2020, the college voted in favour of setting up an independent commission of inquiry, amid widespread support for removing the statue.
In June 2020 the governing body of Oxford's Oriel college voted and removed the statue of Rhodes.
Currently, Cecil John Rhodes is 169 years, 8 months and 19 days old. Cecil John Rhodes will celebrate 170th birthday on a Wednesday 5th of July 2023. Below we countdown to Cecil John Rhodes upcoming birthday.