Cecil John Rhodes

Cecil John Rhodes

Bishops Stortford, East Hertfordshire District, Hertfordshire, England
Death 26 Mar 1902 (aged 48)
Muizenberg, City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa
Burial Matobo District, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe
Memorial ID 2313 · View Source
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Financier, Politician, British Imperialist. He will be remembered as the diamond tycoon of South Africa and establishing the Rhode Scholarship. He was the fifth son of Anglican clergyman, Francis William Rhodes and his second wife, Louisa Peacock. After leaving school at the age of 16, he became ill and was sent to his brother's cotton farm in South Africa in hope that the climate would be good for his health. His brother's farm failed but the pair moved to Kimberly in 1871 to work the diamond fields. Although diamond mining was very difficult, he was very successful in mining diamonds. In 1873 he left his diamond interests in the care of his partner Charles Rudd, and sailed back to England to attend Oxford College; for years he traveled back and forth between England and South Africa finally graduating with a bachelors degree in 1881. He had a serious heart attack in 1877. After attending college, he had developed a philosophy of British Imperialism believing that the Anglo-Saxon man from Britain would rule colonies all over the world. To him, money meant power. In South Africa, his diamond interests had survived the boom and bust cycle common in the region, and in April 1880, he and his partner launched the De Beers Mining Company. That same year, he was also elected to the Cape Parliament. In 1887, he moved to acquire the Kimberly Central Diamond Mining Company and one year later, the two companies agreed to merge, forming De Beers Consolidated Mine. He then explored the northern territories of Matabeleland and Mashonaland, in order to exploit mineral wealth, and encourage European settlement. That same year he formed the British South Africa Company (BSAC) and convinced tribal leaders in the desired area to sign a concession giving exclusive mining rights to the BSAC in exchange for protection against the Boer and neighboring tribes. The British government granted a charter to a new company to develop the new territory in October 1889 with no northern limit on it. With the permission to engage in 'defensive action' from the British Government, Rhodes used European mercenaries hired and equipped by the BSAC to take and hold territory; the local warriors were slaughtered by the better armed Europeans. The indigenous population burnt down their own capital and fled with a few warriors. In 1890, BSAC settlers founded Salisbury and other towns, igniting conflict with the Ndebele, who were crushed in the war of 1893; the conquered areas were renamed Southern and Northern Rhodesia, which is present day Zimbabwe and Zambia. In July 1890, he became the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. In 1895, he supported an attack on the Transvaal which was a complete failure, thus he was forced to resign as Prime Minister and as head of the British South Africa Company by January 1896. After the Boer War began in October 1899, he organized the defense of Kimberly, which greatly taxed his health causing him to die within two years. He left nearly $6,000,000 to University of Oxford to establish the Rhodes Scholarships in order to provide places at Oxford for male students from the United States, the British colonies, and Germany. No scholarship candidates were accepted from Germany during World War I or World War II. In 1977 women were allowed to be full-time Rhode Scholars and able to graduate with all but four of the degrees. More recently non-English-speaking countries such as China and Israel have had candidates accepted for the Rhodes Scholarship. Due to the wording of Rhodes' will, the first Black African candidate was not accepted until 1991. Today, the pool of candidates is much more diverse. Land was also left to eventually provide for a university in Rhodesia, an Africa country named in his honor.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2313
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Cecil John Rhodes (5 Jul 1853–26 Mar 1902), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2313, citing World's View Lookout, Matobo District, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe ; Maintained by Find A Grave .