Cecil John Rhodes(1853-1902), Imperialist, statesman in South Africa and mining entrepreneur
Sitter in 26 portraits
At the age of seventeen, Rhodes joined his elder brother in South Africa to grow cotton in Natal before joining the rush to the recently discovered diamond fields in Kimberley. This is where he made his fortune, buying up smaller holders of diamond mines and his company, De Beers, became the world’s largest and most profitable diamond firm. As Prime Minister of Cape Colony (1890-96) his government restricted the rights of black Africans by changing the laws on voting and land ownership. A precursor to apartheid in South Africa. In 1877 he wrote Confessions of Faith, in which he promoted the expansion of the British Empire and advocated the supremacy of the British race. He was a controversial figure in Britain at the height of his influence and his most notorious moment was backing the Jamieson Raid of 1895 in which a small British force tried to overthrow Paul Kruger, the Afrikaner President of gold-rich Transvaal Republic. The raid prompted the Second Boer War (1899-1902) in which tens of thousands died. In his will, he created the Rhodes Scholarship enabling students to study at Oxford University. Recipients of the scholarship have included President Bill Clinton and Professor Stuart Hall.
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