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This Day in History

World History

Thursday, April 17, 1980. :   Rhodesia, in Africa, gains independence and becomes Zimbabwe.

     Rhodesia was the former name of the British colony of Southern Rhodesia in southern Africa, which was governed by a European minority until 1979. The colony was named after Cecil Rhodes, whose British South Africa Company acquired the land in the nineteenth century. In 1953, calls began mounting for independence in many of Britain's African possessions. Thus, the United Kingdom created the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which consisted of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi respectively).

The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on 1 January 1964. When Northern Rhodesia was granted independence by Britain in October 1964, the name was changed to Zambia. Southern Rhodesia remained a British colony and became known as Rhodesia. Rhodesia gained internationally-recognised independence from Britain in 1980, and became the Republic of Zimbabwe on 17 April 1980.

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