Monday 17 May 2010

The New Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland

Prepared by the
and issued by authority 1954

Recompiled by Eddy Norris, for use on ORAFs in May 2010

Cover of the Booklet





National Income


Railways and Roads
Power Supplies
Tourist Amenities



Lord Llewellin
The Right Hon. The Lord Llewellin G.R.B., M.C., T.D.,
first Governor-General of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.


This booklet is designed, to give a brief introduction to the geography, constitution, history and economic situation of the new Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Its scope has been deliberately limited in order to facilitate publication as early as possible in the lifetime of the Federal State and to allow for the widest possible distribution in Africa and overseas.

It is planned to follow this introductory publication with more detailed factual reviews of various aspects of the subject. There can be no doubt that Commonwealth, indeed world, interest has been stirred by the inauguration of the new British State in Africa and that there is a strong demand for information. It is hoped that this booklet will help to meet that demand and will be of assistance to those who may be thinking of making their living or investing their money in this land of great opportunity.



THE FEDERATION is situated in South Central Africa, extending about 1,000 miles north and south from latitude 22*30' South to latitude 8°I5' South.

On the South it is bordered by the Union of South Africa, on the West by the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Portuguese West Africa, on the North West and North by the Belgian Congo, on
the North by Tanganyika and on the East by Portuguese East Africa, The total area of the Federation is over 485,000 square miles, made up of:

Southern Rhodesia 150,333 square miles.

Northern Rhodesia 287,640 square miles.

Nyasaland 49,000 square miles approximately (including 12,000 square miles of water).

This is larger than the whole of Northern Europe (including the British Isles) except Scandinavia;

Larger than the Union of South Africa; or Larger than the combined area of the American states of Texas, California and New York.

The Federation as a whole is as yet relatively sparsely populated. The total population is nearly 7,000,000, comprising—

215,600 European
6,500,000 African
14,200 Asian
10,000 Mixed races made up of:

Southern Rhodesia: 160,000 European, 2,130,000 African, 4,700 Asian, 6,700 mixed races.
Northern Rhodesia: 50,000 European, 1,980,000 African, 3,500 Asian, 1,300 mixed races.
Nyasaland: 5,600 European, 2,400,000 African, 6,000 Asian, 2,000 mixed races.

Though the entire Federal area lies within the tropics most of Southern and Northern Rhodesia lies at an altitude of between 3,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level. Except for the Lake littoral and the Shire Valley, the elevation of Nyasaland varies between 2,500 and 7,000 feet above sea level. Over much of the area, therefore, climatic conditions favour permanent European settlement.

The main rainfall throughout the area is concentrated into a season extending from about November to March. Average rain- fall (except for certain somewhat arid low-lying regions on the one hand and some high altitude areas of very heavy rainfall on the other hand) is in the vicinity of 25 to 30 inches a year.

Portions of the Zambezi River, Lake Nyasa, Lake Bangweulu, the Luapula River and the Chambeshi River are navigable and are extensively used by waterborne transport. The Federation has, however, no great natural waterways to provide access to the sea or to connect major industrial centres. But there are a number of large rivers which could be brought into the service of agriculture for irrigation and of power supplies for hydro-electric schemes. The principal rivers of this type, in addition to the Zambezi, are:

In Southern Rhodesia:

The Sabi River and its tributaries (irrigation and power potentialities),
The Hunyani River (already dammed at several points), and
The Umfuli River (irrigation potentialities);

In Northern Rhodesia:

The Kafue River (power potentialities),
The Mulungushi River (already supplying hydroelectric power to Broken Hill mine and town),

The Lunsemfwa River (already supplying hydro-electric power to Broken Hill mine and town),
The Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls supplies hydroelectric power to Livingstone;

In Nyasaland:

The Shire River (power and irrigation potentialities).


The 6,500,000 African peoples of the Federal area range from primitive tribes living under bare subsistence conditions to prosperous businessmen and highly educated professional men such as clergymen, school teachers, journalists and trade union organisers. The proportion of those who are by Western standards sophisticated is still small, but is growing year by year with the extension of educational facilities and the development of economic opportunities.

Between these two extremes the African peoples are at all stages of development, but the large majority still live an agricultural life in their tribal areas. There is, however, a growing class which seeks a permanent livelihood in urban areas in the two Rhodesias working in industry and mining, commercial concerns and government offices.

In Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland the tribal Africans are governed by the system of Indirect Rule and Chiefs and their Councils can make and administer local laws. They also have Courts in both rural and urban areas which take the greater part of the petty criminal and civil cases involving Africans only.

In Southern Rhodesia a more direct system of rule is followed although the African Council policy is being developed.

Health Services in all three territories are provided free of charge by State and mission hospitals. Of recent years, with the breaking down of the suspicion of the "white man's medicine" there has been a very marked increase in the demand for these services, not only in the large urban centres but also in the more remote rural areas where African orderlies and nurses play a large part in supplementing the efforts of European doctors.

In the field of education, the main brunt of the work is borne by the missions subsidised by the Governments but direct educational facilities are now provided in the urban areas of Southern Rhodesia and in urban and rural areas of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In all three territories teacher training and vocational training are provided by the Governments and missions.

In many rural areas in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland the Native Authorities provide primary schools which are supervised by the Government. There are 30 such schools in Northern Rhodesia.

There are secondary schools for Africans in all three territories and Southern and Northern Rhodesia each have schools going up to University entrance standard.

In Southern Rhodesia the land is apportioned between Europeans and Africans. In the European areas Africans may not own land freehold and in the African areas no other races may own land. The greater proportion of the African areas is communally held but there are a number of districts, the Native Purchase

Areas, in which over 3,000 African farmers own their own farms freehold. In Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland most of the land is reserved for African occupation where it is communally held on die traditional basis, although in Northern Rhodesia a system of peasant farming by groups is being established in several parts of the territory.

The Protectorate of Barotseland, with its own Resident Commissioner is part of Northern Rhodesia.

The motor vessel ILALA, photographed at Monkey Bay, Lake Nyasa.



THE representative of Her Majesty the Queen is the Governor-General of the Federation.

There is a Cabinet presided over by the Prime Minister. The members of the Cabinet are drawn from the Federal Assembly which consists of 35 members.

They are made up as follows:

Twenty-six elected members of whom fourteen are elected in Southern Rhodesia, eight in Northern Rhodesia and four in Nyasaland;

Six African members of whom two are elected in each territory;

Three European members charged with special responsibilities for African interests of whom one is elected in Southern Rhodesia and the other two are appointed, one each by the Governors of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

A Standing Committee of the Federal Assembly, known as the African Affairs Board, consists of the three European members representing African interests and one of the elected African members from each territory.

The functions of the Board are to make representations to the Federal Government on matters within the authority of the Federation in the interests of Africans and to assist a Territorial Government, at its request, in the study of matters affecting Africans.

It is also the function of the Board to draw attention to any Federal legislation of a differentiating character and to ask that it should be reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure.

The main matters on which the Federal Legislature has power to make laws are;

external affairs, defence, immigration, financial and economic affairs, inter-territorial roads, railways, European agriculture in Southern Rhodesia, posts and telegraphs, education except African primary and secondary education, Federal courts.

In addition, there are a number of matters on which both the Federal and Territorial Legislatures have powers to make laws. They include:

The development of industries, electricity, scientific and industrial research, health, town planning archives, census and statistics.

In many instances of the latter list (the "concurrent" list) a Federal agency or Government department will be responsible for administration and the carrying out of functions. The reason for empowering the Territorial legislatures also to legislate is to ensure that legislation or regulations will be applicable to local conditions, e.g., in the collection of statistics or archives or the formulation of town planning schemes.

The Federal Cabinet is as follows:

Prime Minister, Minister of External Affairs and Defence:
The Right Hon. Sir Godfrey Huggins, C.H., K.C.M.G.

Minister of Transport and Communications:
Sir Roy Welensky C.M.G.

Minister of Commerce and Industry:
Sir Malcolm Barrow, C.B.E.

Minister of Finance:
Mr. Donald MacIntyre, C.B.E.

Minister of Agriculture and Health:
Mr. J. M. Caldicott.

Minister of Home Affairs and Education:
Mr. J. M. Greenfield, C.M.G., Q.C.

As a result of the first Federal general election held on December, 15, 1953, the composition of the Federal Assembly is as follows:—

Southern Rhodesia:
Border: Mr. B. D. Goldberg
Bulawayo: Mr. D. Macintrye
Bulawayo Suburbs: Mr. W. H. Eastwood
Darwin: Mr, J. M. Caldicotc
Midlands: Mr. I. D. Smith
Mrewa: Mr. N. G. Barrett
Salisbury: Mr. L. M. N. Hodson
Salisbury South: Mr. W. A. E. Winterton
Salisbury Suburbs: Sir Godfrey Huggins
Salisbury West: Mr. J. W, Swan
Sebakwe: Mr. J, R, Dendy Young
Umguza: Mr. J. M. Greenfield
Umniati: Mr. L, M. Cullinan
Western: Mr. R. F. Halsted

Specially elected European member for African interests: The Rev. Percy Ibbotson

African member for Mashonaland: Mr. J, Z, Savanhu
African member for Matabeleland: Mr. M. M. Hove,

Northern Rhodesia:
Broken Hill: Sir Roy Welensky
Kafue: Mr. G. F. M. van Eedcn
Livingstone: Mr. J. C. Gravlin
Longways: Capt. F. B. Robertson
Luanshya-Mufulira: Mr. V. T. Joyce
Lusaka: Dr. A. Scott
Ndola: Mr. F. S. Owen
Nkana-Chingola: Mr. G. W. R. L'Ange

Nominated European member for African interests: Dr. J. F. C. Haslam

African members: Mr. Mateyo Kakumbi and Mr. D. L. Yamba

Legislative Assembly's building
The Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly's building, Salisbury.
Temporary meeting place of the Federal Parliament

Mr. R. C. Bucquet, Mr. John Foot, Mr. P. F. Brereton, Sir Malcolm Barrow

Nominated European member for African interests: The Rev. A. B. Doig.

African members: Mr. W. M. Chirwa and Mr. C. R. Kumbikano.

The Federal Patty holds 24 of the 26 seats for ordinary elected members and has three supporters among the remaining nine members of the Assembly.


The Federation's relations with the United Kingdom are conducted through the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations,

The Federation maintains a High Commissioner in London and the United Kingdom Government a High Commissioner at the Federal capital.

The Federation also has a High Commissioner in the Union of South Africa and the latter a High Commissioner in Salisbury.

In addition, there is a Consul at Beira in Portuguese East Africa and a Commissioner at Nairobi in East Africa.

The following countries are represented by resident consuls de carriere:

United States of America: Consul General.
Belgium: Consul General.
Federal German Republic: Consul General,
Portugal: Consul,
France: Consul.
Italy: Consul.

The following countries are represented by honorary consuls:

Netherlands: Hon. Consul General (with a vice consul de carriere).
Sweden: Hon. Consul.
Denmark: Hon. Consul.
Finland: Hon. Consul.
Austria: Hon. Consul.
Greece: Hon. Consul,
Norway: Hon. Consul.

The Commissioner for the Government of India in Nairobi has jurisdiction in the Federation.

The following consular officers have jurisdiction in the Federation:

Brazil: Consul General at Cape Town.
Spain: Consul at Cape Town.
Austria: Consul General at Johannesburg.
Switzerland: Consul at Johannesburg.


The territories continue to enjoy the same constitutional status as before Federation.

Southern Rhodesia is formally described as a self-governing Colony. It has a single-chamber Parliament of 30 elected Members with a Cabinet formed of Members of the Legislative Assembly. The only limitation on the full responsibility of Southern Rhodesia for its own affairs is that differential legislation in respect of the treatment of Africans and Europeans is reserved for Her Majesty's assent.

With the transfer of powers to the Federal Government, the main functions for which the Southern Rhodesia Government will be responsible will be Native administration (including education and agriculture) local government, justice, police, industrial relations, territorial finance, roads other than Federal roads, and mining.

Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland: Both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland are Protectorates administered by the Secretary of State for the Colonies on behalf of the United Kingdom Government, although Northern Rhodesia has a considerable degree of self-government. The status of the two countries remains unaltered under Federation though many former functions of the territorial Governments are being assumed by the Federal Government. Broadly speaking, the responsibilities of the territorial Governments of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland are similar to those of the Southern Rhodesia Government.

Executive power in Northern Rhodesia is vested in an:

Executive Council of live official and four unofficial Members which is presided over by the Governor. The Legislative Council has a Speaker, eight official members and eighteen unofficial including four African Members. A unique situation exists whereby the views of the unofficial Members carry die same weight in Executive Council as they do in Legislative Council. Obviously, therefore, the vote of the unofficial Members, if unanimous, is the determining voice
in the management of the Territory's affairs.

In Nyasaland the Executive Council consists of four official and two unofficial Members and it is presided over by the Governor. The Legislative Assembly comprises nineteen Members, nine of them being senior officials while the remainder are nominated by the Governor on the recommendation of unofficial bodies and include seven Europeans, one Asian and two Africans. The Governor presides over the Council and has a casting vote.

Wankie Colliery
A view of the Wankie Colliery in Southern Rhodesia which supplies coal to both Rhodesias.


It is generally accepted that the economic potentialities of the Federation are considerable. In all directions, mining, agricultural and manufacturing, it has resources which,, with further development, will make it a major economic force not only in the Continent of Africa but. in the British Commonwealth.

This forecast, valid though it is, should not be allowed to over shadow the progress already made which, indeed, makes the estimates of the future possible.

It is, therefore, necessary to indicate briefly the present economic state of the Federal area.


The first concern in agriculture is food production. The most important single food crop in the area is maize, staple food of a large proportion of the African peoples and widely used for animal feed.

In general terms, in all but unfavourable conditions, the three territories produce sufficient maize for their combined requirements. Detailed statistics for African production are not available but it can be stated that, after providing for the subsistence of the African agriculturists, it provides in all but the worst years a surplus for sale. For example, Nyasaland, where maize production is almost entirely African, has built up in recent years an export surplus ranging from 15,000 to 40,000 tons a year.

Similarly, in Southern Rhodesia, African producers sell large quantities of maize annually, the amount varying between 20,000 and 90,000 cons according to season.

European farmers in the three territories have nearly half a million acres planted to maize (about 375,000 in Southern Rhodesia, 100,000 in Northern Rhodesia and 10,COO in Nyasaland) with a production of between two and three hundred thousand tons, according to season.

In addition to maize, Africans produce large quantities of small grains (sorghums and millet), rice, groundnuts and cassava in certain areas, mainly as subsistence crops, although Nyasaland is building up an export crop of groundnuts.

Southern Rhodesia is the most important meat producer with a cattle population of about 3,000,000 head, of which some 60 per cent, are African owned. Northern Rhodesia has rather less than 1,000,000 head and Nyasaland about quarter of a million, giving a total for the Federation of more than 4,000,000 head.

It has to be borne in mind that large areas of the Federal State are still unsuited to cattle raising as a result of the presence of tsetse fly.

Further, both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland have important fisheries on Lakes Tanganyika, Mweru and Bangwelu and the Luapula, Kafue and Zambezi Rivers and on Lake Nyasa which help to maintain protein supplies. Production of fresh and dried fish in Northern Rhodesia alone is estimated at 10,000 tons

while Lake Nyasa also produces several thousand tons annually. Fish farming is being developed in Southern and Northern Rhodesia.

The territories can supply their requirements in whole milk and cheese but some butter is imported, though margarine production from locally grown groundnuts helps to meet the deficiency.

Tea is one of the chief exports of Nyasaland with an annual production of about 15,000,000 lbs. several times greater than the consumption of the Federal area. Tea is also being increasingly produced in the Eastern highlands of Southern Rhodesia; production has exceeded 1,000,000 lbs. a year.

The principal basic foodstuffs in which the Federation is not at present self-sufficient are sugar and wheat.

There is a small production of sugar at the Triangle Estates in the southern part of Southern Rhodesia and private enterprise is planning much larger production in the Zambesi Valley on both northern and southern banks.

Wheat production is very small and unlikely to be much increased until large irrigation schemes are developed.


Tobacco holds pride of place as thee most important cash crop of the Federation.

Production of all types of tobacco in the three territories is at present between 140,000,000 and 150.000,000 lbs. a year valued at well over £20,000,000.

Of this total the largest production is in Southern Rhodesia with a crop of about 1.00,000,000 (mainly of Virginia type flue-cured leaf which finds a ready market in the United Kingdom, Australia and many other countries). Nyasaland produces some 30,000,000 lbs. a year, chiefly of fire-cured and Burley types grown by Africans, and Northern Rhodesia about 10,000,000 lbs. a year.

The emphasis, particularly in Southern Rhodesia, is on greater production per acre and on higher quality.

Cotton is the next most valuable cash crop. Nyasaland is the principal producer with an annual production of up to 18,000,000 lbs. Southern Rhodesia produces about half that quantity.

Other crops which are still in the development stage are tung, to which 18,000 acres have been planted in Nyasaland, and wattle to which many thousands of acres arc being planted in the eastern areas of Southern Rhodesia. Two extraction factories are planned.

The principal source of hardwoods in the Federation are the forests of the Zambesi Valley in Northern Rhodesia, west of the Victoria Falls, and of Matabeleland in Southern Rhodesia, while considerable softwood afforestation schemes are being developed in both Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland and to a lesser extent on the Copperbelt in Northern Rhodesia.


Mining is the economic mainstay of the Federation and has from the earliest days been the principal support of the two Rhodesias.

Incomparably the most important factor is the great copper mining industry of Northern Rhodesia with an output of 313,000 tons in 1952 valued at approximately £75,000,000. The Copperbelt of Northern Rhodesia is one of the world's chief sources of copper, the largest in the Commonwealth and the third in the world, ranking only after the United States and Chile. There are four producing mines at present and more are being developed. There are prospects of copper production in Southern Rhodesia

There is also considerable production of lead (14,000 tons in 1952), zinc (22,500 tons) and cobalt (37,000 cwts.) in Northern Rhodesia.

Southern Rhodesia's most valuable mineral product in 1952 was asbestos, 85,000 tons valued at £6,650,000, closely followed by gold (497,000 fine ounces worth £6,500,000).

Production of chrome ore was over 350,000 tons worth nearly £2,000,000 and coal 2,820,000 tons valued at £1,820,000. Both Rhodesias also produce a wide variety of other minerals including limestone, vanadium, beryllium, iron ore, tin, and tungsten. Mineral deposits are being investigated in Nyasaland which possesses deposits of bauxite on Mlanje Mountain and coal.

The most striking comment that can be made on current mineral production is that, with the possible exception of gold, it can be substantially increased given additional power supplies and railway facilities,


Up to the present, the most significant development of manufacturing industry has been in Southern Rhodesia where, at the end of 1952, there were over 1,000 factories. The net value of the output (after deducting the value of raw materials used) was £22,000,000 in 1951, The most important industries are those producing tobacco, cotton, textile and metal products. In these cases as well as those of processed foodstuffs the raw materials were supplied wholly or in large part from local sources.

In Northern Rhodesia at the end of 1952 there were 209 factories including 19 saw mills (one of them the biggest in southern Africa) and woodworking factories and 17 flour mills.

Again it can be stated that with the stabilisation of the very much larger local market in the new Federation and with increased power supplies and improved communications, the outlook for expanded industrial production in both Rhodesias is much enhanced.


The best illustration of the economic development of the Federal area is that in 1952 the combined external trade of the three territories was worth nearly £300,000,000. Of this over £150,000,000 represented exports and nearly £140,000,000 imports,

A proportion of these figures represented trade between the three territories themselves. After allowing for this factor, a little over ten per cent, of the total, the Federal area remains an important trader on world markets, on current figures.

The 1952 trade figures were:—

Imports - Exports

Southern Rhodesia: £88,475,000 - £61,237,000
Northern Rhodesia: £42,760,000 - £82,605,000
Nyasaland: £8,745,000 - £6,299,000

In each case, and most notably in that of Southern Rhodesia, a very high proportion of the imports were made up of producers' goods (i.e., capital equipment), itself an indication of an expanding economy.

The most important exports in 1952 were:—

Southern Rhodesia:
Tobacco £18,800,000; asbestos £7,150,000; gold £6,649,000; textiles and cotton goods, etc., £3,500,000; chrome ore £2,000,000.

Northern Rhodesia:
Copper £74,700,000; zinc £2,800,000; lead £1,417,000; tobacco £1,120,000.

Tobacco £2,157,000; tea £2,029,000.


The 1952 figures of the national income of the three territories:

Southern Rhodesia - £118,000,000
Northern Rhodesia - £62,000,000
Nyasaland £16,000,000

The significance of these figures is that they are showing,particularly in the Rhodesias, a steady annual increase.

Map of Federation
Map of Federation



THE two Rhodesias are served by the Rhodesia Railways which connect with the South African Railways at Mafeking. The main line forks at Bulawayo; the northern branch runs via the Victoria Falls through Northern Rhodesia to the Copperbelt and on to the Belgian Congo Border where it connects with the Belgian system. Hie eastern branch runs along the watershed of Southern Rhodesia to serve the main centres and ends at Umtali where it joins the Portuguese system to provide access to Beira.

With branch lines the total mileage of the Rhodesia Railways is nearly 2,500 miles, but an important new line, linking the Midlands of Southern Rhodesia, with the fine port of Lourenco Marques in Portuguese East Africa is under construction.

Nyasaland is served by the Nyasaland Railway system (the Trans-Zambesian Railway, the Central Africa Railway and the Nyasaland Railways) which connect Beira with Nyasaland. The total length of the system is nearly 500 miles.

Main roads, which are in process of modernisation, connect all the main centres of the Federation with one another and with adjacent territories and secondary roads serve rural areas. The total route mileage of roads is over 51,000 miles (28,500 miles in Southern Rhodesia, 18,000 miles in Northern Rhodesia and nearly 5,000 miles in Nyasaland) of which some 11,000 miles are designated as main or principal roads (6,000 miles in Southern Rhodesia, excluding roads in towns, 4,300 miles in Northern Rhodesia and 1,700 miles in Nyasaland). Major bridges, the gift of the Beit Trustees, span the larger rivers on main roads, noteworthy being the Beit Bridge over the Limpopo, the Ottobeit Bridge at Chirundu over the Zambezi and the Birchenough Bridge over the Sabi River.

Tobacco Crop
A field of tobacco, most important cash crop of all three of the Federal territories.

American financial aid has been given for the up-grading of the Northern Rhodesia section of the Great North military road which links railhead at Broken Hill with Nairobi in Kenya.


Civil aviation has made rapid progress in the Federal area since the war. The existing airline was reconstituted in partnership between the three territories as the Central African Airways Corporation. Flying Viking, Dakota and Beaver aircraft Central African Airways provide daily services between the major towns of the Federation and between them and Nairobi and Johannesburg as well as a weekly service to London and services to outlying parts of the Federation.

In addition there are many air charter firms and the major world airlines link the Federation with overseas countries.

The international airport at Livingstone whose main runway is over two miles long can carry aircraft of about 150,000 lb. all-up weight, whilst both Salisbury and Lusaka have airports that can carry Comets and other big aircraft.


The rapidly developing mining and manufacturing industries and the growing towns of the Rhodesias demand large supplies of electric power.

Three hydro-electric schemes already exist in Northern Rhodesia. (See first section—The New State').

There are plans for the building of large hydro-electric schemes on the Kafue River in Northern Rhodesia and, later on, on the Zambesi River at the Kariba Gorge.

Meanwhile, power is mainly supplied from thermal generating stations operating mainly on coal from the Wankie collieries.

In Southern Rhodesia the capacity of these stations totals some 250 megawatts from the generators of the Salisbury and Bulawayo municipalities and of the Electricity Supply Commission, and in Northern Rhodesia the capacity is 180 megawatts, most of which is produced by the stations operated by the mining companies in the Copperbelt.

Nyasaland is investigating the possibilities of hydro-electric power from the Shire River scheme which would also stabilise the level of Lake Nyasa and provide for the irrigation of the lower Shire Valley.


The Federal area has much to offer the holiday maker.

It has the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, the greatest waterfall in the world, many intriguing remains of former civilisations of which the best known are the Zimbabwe Ruins in Southern Rhodesia, and game reserves in both Rhodesias at Wankie and Kafue, where the wild animals of Africa ate to be seen in their natural environment. With a splendid climate during the winter months, usually bright and sunny and rarely very cold, the Rhodesias and Nyasaland also possess a number of the more conventional tourist attractions—the lake shores of Nyasa and Tanganyika and the mountain resorts of Southern Rhodesia's eastern border.

Apart from this variety of tourist appeal, the Federation provides for the visitor the spectacle of a great new State in the making with the evidence in all directions of sustained and balanced progress.


All three territories have consistently given a good account of themselves in war by sending contingents for service abroad. The permanent forces are small consisting of a battalion of the Rhodesian African Rifles in Southern Rhodesia, a battalion of the Northern Rhodesia Regiment and two battalions of the King's African Rifles (in Nyasaland) and a fighter squadron of the Southern Rhodesia Air Force (now re-equipping with Vampire jet fighters).

Southern Rhodesia has, however, a large European Territorial Force of approximately brigade group strength of all arms except tanks. This could be quickly expanded in time of emergency

A Territorial Force is now to be formed in Northern Rhodesia.

All the military forces in the Federation are now grouped together under the Central Africa Command.


Apart from African education most educational facilities are provided by the State though there is in Southern Rhodesia a growing number of private schools most of which are sponsored by religious organisations.

With its larger European population, Southern Rhodesia has provided more extensive educational facilities than the other territories. In addition to the schools there is a technical college and evening classes are provided in the larger towns.

The first steps have been taken towards the setting up of a university. A site has been acquired in Salisbury where the first classes are already being given. The university is to be open to all students who can fulfil the educational qualifications regardless of race or colour.


Though precautions are necessary against tropical diseases such as bilharzia and malaria, health conditions throughout the Federation are good. Modern hospitals are maintained by the State in all major centres of population and preventive health services are operated by Government and local authorities. In addition, large industries such as the copper mines in Northern Rhodesia and the larger mining concerns in Southern Rhodesia have their own hospitals and health services. Important research work and practical applications of the results have been carried out in Southern Rhodesia on bilharzia and malaria and on the Copperbelt on silicosis.

Copper Mine
Surface installations of one of Northern Rhodesia's great copper mines, producers of the
Federation's greatest economic assets.



Salisbury (4,8.51 feet):
Capital city of Southern Rhodesia and provisional capital of the Federation, Salisbury is built round the site where the Pioneer Column ended its march into Mashonaland in 1890. Situated in die north-east of Southern Rhodesia it is on the main railway line which traverses the more closely settled areas of the Colony. Branch railway lines run north-east to Shamva and north-west to Sinoia. Headquarters of Central African Airways. Centre of the tobacco industry—the tobacco auction sales at Salisbury are the largest inthe world—and an industrial centre of considerable importance. Estimated population, including townships on the periphery of Salisbury, 50,000 Europeans; 115,000 Africans; 3,300 Asians and Coloured (mixed race).

Bulawayo (4,405 feet):
Second city of Southern Rhodesia, Bulawayo is the headquarters of the railway system and an important industrial centre. Situated in the south-west of the Colony. From Bulawayo the main railway line from the south forks north-westwards to the Victoria Falls and thence into Northern Rhodesia and north-eastwards through the Midlands to Salisbury from where it runs south-east to the Portuguese border. Close to Bulawayo is Rhodes' burial place in the Matopo Hills. Bulawayo was originally the site of the capital of Lobengula, last King of the Matabele (his own kraal was on the site of Government House). Estimated population, including that of adjoining townships: 40,000 Europeans, 90,000 Africans: 3,200 Asians and Coloured.

Umtali (3,672 feet):
Port of entry for Southern Rhodesia by rail and road from the port of Beira; situated within a few miles of the Portuguese East African border. Important railway, industrial and distribution centre. Surrounded by hills and mountains, Umtali is probably the most picturesquely situated town in Southern Rhodesia. Estimated population: 6,800 Europeans; 17,000 Africans.

Gwelo (4,632 feet):
Centrally situated, about 100 miles north-east of Bulawayo, with important mining areas nearby. An industrial centre of growing importance near to the point at which the new rail link with Lourenco Marques (now under construction) will join the existing main railway system. Estimated population: 6,100 Europeans; 15,000 Africans.

Que Que (3,957 feet):
Situated about 50miles north of Gwelo in an important mining area. The large Globe and Phoenix gold mine is in Que Que and the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Commission's iron ore mine and works are a few miles away. A growing industrial centre. Estimated population, with figures for the Iron and Steel Commission township given in brackets: 2,200 (1,000) European; 8,000 (3,000) Africans.

Gatooma (3,796 feet):
Approximately 100 miles south-west of Salisbury. Centre of the cotton industry, site of the State cotton spinning mills and of several textile factories. Also the centre of an important agricultural and mining area. Estimated population: 1.900 Europeans; 8,000 Africans.

Shabani (3,3CO feet):
Situated about 60 miles south of Gwelo in the centre of the asbestos mining area, to-day Southern Rhodesia's most valuable mineral export. Estimated population: 1,700 Europeans; 12,000 Africans.

Wankie (2,567 feet):
Situated in the north-west of Southern Rhodesia, about 80 miles from the Victoria Falls. Site of the coal mining industry which supplies both Rhodesias with coal. To the west of Wankie is the 5,000 square mile Wankie Game Reserve. Estimated population: 1,200 Europeans; 13,000 Africans.

Fort Victoria (3,562 feet):
Situated on the main road from Beit Bridge to Salisbury, about 180 miles from Beit Bridge, The oldest settlement in Southern Rhodesia, Fort Victoria was the first: township established by the Pioneer Column in its march into Mashonaland in 1890. Centre of an important ranching area with a number of mines in the district. Estimated population: 1J00 Europeans; 5,000 Africans.

Note: Estimates of the Asian and Coloured population have been omitted, except in the eases of Salisbury and Bulawayo, as they are a small proportion of the total population. The figures for African population of towns are estimates based on the assumption that the African labour force has increased at the same rate as the European popu- lation since the 1951 census.


Lusaka (4,198 feet):
Capital of Northern Rhodesia, centrally situated in the southern area of the territory on the main railway line to the north and on the main road route. Centre of an important agricultural area. Industries are developing in Lusaka. Estimated population: 7,200 Europeans; 40,000 Africans.

Ndola (4,087 feel):
As the commercial and distributing centre for the Copperbelt, Ndola is one of the most important towns in Northern Rhodesia. It is the northernmost terminal station on the Rhodesia Railways system, 520 miles north of Livingstone and 169 miles south of Elisabethville in the Belgian Congo. In addition, Ndola has a variety of manufacturing industry. Estimated population: 4,500 Europeans; 35,000 Africans.

The Copperbelt Towns:

The four main Copperbelt towns (others are being developed) have a good deal in common in that they are all based on the important copper mining industry and are inhabited principally by employees of the mines and their families. The mining companies have built most of the houses and have provided excellent recreational and welfare amenities. The four largest townships are:

Tea Factory
A tea factory in Nyasaland. Tea is one of the Protectorate''s most important crops.

Kitwe (4,112 feet):
Forty miles north of Ndola. With the adjacent mining township of Nkana, Kitwe is the largest centre of European population in Northern Rhodesia. The Nkana Mine is the largest of the Northern Rhodesian copper mines. Hie Kafue River, providing good fishing and boating, is close by. Estimated population 7,200 Europeans-, 65,000 Africans.

Luanshya (4,055 feet):
Twenty-three miles from Ndola. Adjoins the Roan Antelope Mine, Estimated population: 5,600 Europeans; 55,000 Africans.

Mufulira (4,227 feet):
Forty-eight miles from Ndola, The Mufulira mine employs most of the town's population. Estimated population: 4,700 Europeans; 45,000 Africans.

Chingola (4,331 feet):
Associated with the Nchanga mine, Chingola is the youngest of the big Copperbelt towns, having been established some 15 years ago. Estimated population: 3,400 Europeans; 25,000 Africans.

Broken Hill (3,879 feet):
One of the oldest townships in Northern Rhodesia. Important mining and railway centre, associated with the Broken Hill mine which produces lead, vanadium and zinc. Estimated population: 4,000 Europeans; 30,000 Africans.

Livingstone (2,997 feet):
Until 1935 capital of Northern Rhodesia. Situated seven miles from the Victoria Falls, it lies in the extreme south on file border between the two Rhodesias. Oldest municipality in Northern Rhodesia and a town of considerable commercial and industrial importance. Has one of the finest international airports in Africa. Estimated population: 3,700 Europeans; 25,000 Africans.

Note: No estimates of the Asian and Coloured populations have been given as they form a small proportion of the total.


Zomba (2,900 feet):
Capital of the Protectorate. Picturesquely situated at the foot of Zomba Mountain. Estimated population: 500 Europeans; 400 Asians; 5,000 Africans.

Blantyte (3,400 feet):
Headquarters of the Southern Province and an important commercial centre. Three hundred and fifty-five miles from Beira by rail. Main airport for Nyasaland.

Estimated population: 1,000 Europeans; 1,000 Asians; 9,000 Africans.

Limbe (3,800 feet): Important commercial centre five miles from Blantyre. It is the headquarters of the Nyasaland railways and is a centre of the tobacco industry. Estimated population 1,000 Europeans; 1,500 Asians; 15,000 Africans.


THE whole of South Central Africa was the scene of the mass movements of peoples which characterised the history of much of Africa south of die Equator between the 16th and 19th centuries. The original inhabitants of the southern portions of the continent were primitive peoples, Bushmen and Hottentots. From equatorial regions came successive waves of the more highly developed Bantu. Some remained in what are now the Rhodesias and Nyasaland; others swept southwards till they met another human wave coining northwards, the Boer trekkers fanning out from the Dutch settlements at the Cape. Some of the Bantu tribes,offshoots of the militaristic Zulu nation, headed northwards again to become the founders of the Matabele people of Southern Rhodesia, the Lozi of Northern Rhodesia and the Angoni of Nyasaland.

Inheriting their social system and their traditions from the Zulus, these tribes dominated their neighbours through their aggressive, militaristic way of life.

For the mass of the native African peoples life was little different from what it had been for centuries till the coming of the white man towards the end of the 19th century. Generally speaking. it was a subsistence economy based on the keeping of cattle and a shifting system of agriculture, without any permanent settlements or architecture, written language or wheeled transport.

A further restrictive factor in Nyasaland and parts of Northern Rhodesia was the impact of the slave trade operated by Arabs from East Coast bases. It was, indeed, the powerful voice of David Livingstone inspiring the crusade against the slave trade which focussed European attention on Central Africa for the first time in the middle years of the nineteenth century.

The missionary work of Livingstone himself, his father-in-law, Robert Moffat, and their successors in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland; the reports of gold occurrences in Mashonaland; and the Imperial strategic vision of Cecil Rhodes were the decisive elements in introducing the British influence into this part of Africa.

The coming of the white man changed completely the course of its history and led directly to die economic advances which have been noteworthy in recent times.

Though there was something in common between the early story of British influence in the Rhodesias and in Nyasaland—Livingstone and Rhodes are associated with both—they are in the main separate stories.


As far as the Rhodesias are concerned 1890 is the decisive date. Modern European contacts go back nearly half a century earlier in the form of missionary endeavours, trading and hunting expeditions and journeys by gold prospectors. In 1890, however, all the previous efforts culminated in the march into Mashonaland of Cecil Rhodes' Pioneer Column to take up the concession granted by Lobengula, King of the Matabele.

The European settlement of what was to become Southern Rhodesia began with this event under the direct inspiration of Rhodes, For the first 33 years of its existence as a British dependency Southern Rhodesia was administered by Rhodes' British South Africa Company which was also responsible for Northern Rhodesia. Though there were some common services the territories were separately administered. Each, was in fact, first administered in two parts.

Southern Rhodesia consisted originally of Mashonaland. As a result of the Matabele War in 1893 Matabeleland was annexed. The name Rhodesia was adopted for all the territories ruled by the Chartered Company in 1895. For a time both Matabeleland and Mashonaland had their own Administrators but a unified administration was soon set up.

In the first decade Southern Rhodesia's progress was interrupted by the Matabele War in 1893 and three years later by the Matabele and Mashona Rebellions. Meanwhile progress was being made in building the railway lines from Beira and the Cape, the former reaching Umtali in 1898 and the latter Bulawayo the previous year.

Then came the South African War which brought the slow but steady progress of the first nine years almost to a halt. After the war was over development was more rapid; the towns grew, more mines and farms were developed, experiments were made with new crops and the main rail system was completed. More political responsibility was accorded to the settlers through the granting of more seats for elected members of the Legislative Council.

War in 1914 was again a setback to progress though gold production, the mainstay of the Colony's economy, was maintained and increased.

After the war the demand for full responsible government, which had been a live political issue for many years, was pressed more vigorously. In May, 1920,

the Legislative Council (which by this time had a majority of elected members) passed a resolution approving responsible government. On October 27th, 1922,a referendum on whether Southern Rhodesia should have responsible government or join the Union of South Africa resulted in a decision in favour of responsible government by 8,774 votes to 5,989.

On Occupation Day (September 12), 1923, Southern Rhodesia was formerly annexed to Great Britain, Sir John Chancellor having assumed duty as first Governor.

The first elections for the Legislative Assembly under Responsible Government took place the following year.

The first ten years of responsible government were a period of consolidation rather than spectacular progress. In the thirties, however, expansion of the economy, particularly in the industrial field, and the improvement of communications and power supplies paved the way for the war-time production effort and the post-war expansion of industry and population.

Mine Workers
African mine workers photographed underground in a Northern Rhodesian copper mine.

When self-government was granted to Southern Rhodesia it provided for an elected Parliament and a Cabinet responsible to that body on the Westminster model. Southern Rhodesia was given full responsibility for its own affairs except that the British Government continued to control foreign affairs and that legislation differentiating between European and African was "reserved" for the Royal Assent. A common voters' roll open to all citizens possessing the necessary citizenship, literacy and property qualifications has been a feature of die Southern Rhodesian electoral system.


The origins of British influence in Northern Rhodesia are comparable with those of Southern Rhodesia and are mainly attributable to missionary enterprise and the driving power of Cecil Rhodes.

In his great missionary and exploring journeys of the fifties of the nineteenth century Livingstone visited Barotseland—and, incidentally, discovered the Victoria Falls in 1855.

At about the same time as the London Missionary Society established its first mission in Matabeleland at Inyati in 1861 another party (also inspired by Livingstone) went to the Makololo people on the Zambezi. The hostility of the natives and the ravages of the climate were insuperable obstacles. Only two members of the party survived and the mission was abandoned.

It was not till 1885 that Francois Coillard, a French Protestant, established a permanent mission north of the Zambezi on behalf of the Evangelical Missions Society of Paris. He established himself at the seat of the Paramount Chief of die Batotse. In face of much initial discouragement Coillard earned the respect of Lewanika, the Barotse Chief. It was in part on Coillard's advice that Lewanika in 1889 applied for a British Protectorate.

A non-committal reply was given by the British Government, but Rhodes sent his emissary to Lewanika to secure a mineral concession. Eventually in 1890 mineral and commercial rights

over the whole of Barotseland were granted to the B.S.A. Company in return for the Queen's protection, a British Resident and an annual subsidy of €2,000.

It was seven years before the first British Resident appeared in Barotseland to implement the agreement with Lewanika, He was Robert Coryndon one of the most notable figures in early Rhodesian history. Assisted by Coillard he, too, won the respect of Lewanika who made further concessions to the Company which culminated in the whole of North-Western Rhodesia becoming the property of the B.S.A, Company except Barotseland which was excluded from British settlement and prospecting. Coryndon became the first Administrator of North Western Rhodesia, a post which he held till 1907.

Events took a different course in the remainder of what is now Northern Rhodesia. The British claim was staked out from Nyasaland at the instance of Rhodes and with his financial assistance. By 1891 the whole of North Eastern Rhodesia had been peacefully claimed on behalf of the B.S.A. Company and in 1895 Major Patrick Forbes was appointed Deputy Administrator. The short-lived Angoni Rebellion in the Fort Jameson area in 1898 was the only disturbance.

The key figure in the peaceful development of North Eastern Rhodesia was Robett Codrington who then became Administrator and who quickly created an orderly system of administration.

In 1911 the two administrations were amalgamated and a policy of consolidation was embarked on. Mineral output—mainly of copper—was increasing, farming was developing.

The outbreak of war in 1914 was a serious check. Not only did Northern Rhodesia have to supply men for active service but the northern areas of the country were within the East African theatre of active operations. There were sporadic attacks on Northern Rhodesian posts in the first year of the war and in the last days of the war General von Lettow Vorbeck entered the territory on the last lap of his remarkable flight from the British forces.

As in Southern Rhodesia, the political future of the territory was the dominant issue after the war.

When Southern Rhodesia was granted responsible government in 1923, Northern Rhodesia was annexed to the Crown. Sir Herbert Stanley look office as first Governor on April 1, 1924, A legislative Council was constituted of official ex-officio members and nominated official and unofficial members.

Over the years since then the constitution has been amended to provide for a majority of elected unofficial members, and nominated unofficial members representing African interests, including two Africans. Two elected members hold the equivalent of Cabinet Office.

On die economic side Northern Rhodesia's progress in the last 20 and particularly the last 10 years has been remarkable mainly due to the enormous increase in copper production and the higher price of copper.

In 1924 the value of copper exports was £7,000; in 1952 it was about £75,000,000 out of a total export trade of £81± million.

This great stream of wealth from the rich mines of the Copper Beit' has had a profound effect on the general commercial and industrial development and on the extension of social services.


The story of British influence in Nyasaland begins about the same time as in the Rhodesias. Livingstone first visited the area in 1858 in company with Dr. (later Sir John) Kirk when they explored the Shire River. The Universities' Mission to Central Africa's ill-fated pioneer party reached Chibisa in 1861. Their work was abandoned for the time being in 1864 but the Church of Scotland and the Free Church sent out parties in 1875 and 1876. These established themselves successfully and other missions followed in the next 20 years.

The most important direct consequence of the founding of the Scottish missions was a trading venture, the Livingstonia Central Africa Company (afterwards the African Lakes Company) in response to Livingstone's appeal for legitimate trading facilities as a necessary weapon in the war on slave-trading.

A view of the business area of Salisbury illustrating the development of large modern buildings, progress which is typical of all main centres of the two Rhodesias

In 1883 a British Consul was appointed to Blantyre. The attempt to stamp out the slave trade caused the first Mlozi war and Britain was forced to exercise more direct control. In 1889 a British protectorate was declared and was internationally accepted by July, 1891, when the frontiers with Portuguese East Africa were agreed.

The first five years of the new administration were largely taken up with the suppression of certain Yao chiefs who resented interference with slave raiding, and in stopping inter-tribal raids.

Despite these troubles progress was made in setting up a stable administration. In 1893 the country was designated the British Central Africa Protectorate, but in the Order-in-Council of
1907, which introduced a new constitution, the name was changed to Nyasaland. Under this constitution the title of the head of the administration was changed from Commissioner and Consul-General to Governor.

The system of government of Nyasaland with an official Executive Council and a Legislative Council of nominated official and unofficial members took shape under this Order-in-Council
and remains operative in its essentials.

On the economic side the major factor in Nyasaland's history' has been the development of communications, which stimulated the progress of agriculture and the production of cash crops, notably tea, cotton, tung and tobacco. Originally, access from the coast was by river transport up the Zambezi and Shire to Chiromo and Katunga, overland to the Upper Shire and water transport up the Shire to the Lake.

The first railway was the Shire Highlands Railway from Port Herald to Blantyre to connect the river routes. This was opened in 1908 but was extended to the Zambezi in 1915. The line was
further extended from the Zambezi to Beira in 1922. The most important subsequent development was the completion of the rail bridge over the Zambezi at Sena in 1935.


The brief historical survey has indicated that in their origins as British settlements the three territories had much in common though they were never governed by a single authority. As the territories grew their interests became more closely inter-related: both Rhodesias were administered till 1923 by the British South Africa Company, the Resident Commissioner at Salisbury represented the United Kingdom in respect of both countries, the Rhodesias shared the same railway system, all three countries made use of the same port, Beira. In more recent years the two northern territories have provided an important and growing market for die manufactures of Southern Rhodesia and the three countries have shared in the provision of a number of technical services such as airways, currency, statistics, archives, town planning and broadcasting.

Over and above these considerations, the broad picture of three neighbouring British territories, peopled by people, both European and African, of similar stock, with complementary resources and problems of a similar type attracted attention to the possibility of a form of closer political association at least between the two Rhodesias for over 40 years.

The suggestion seems to have been mooted first about 1910 when there is is evidence of the Southern Rhodesian leader, Sir Charles Coghlan, opposing it.

The proposal to amalgamate the Rhodesias was first officially made by Dr. Jameson in 1916 on be half of the British South Africa Company but it was opposed by the settlers of Southern Rhodesia who feared that amalgamation would defer indefinitely hopes of responsible government.

The changes of status of the two Rhodesias in 1923 diverted attention for the time being from the question of closer association but the issue was raised a few years later. From then on it remained a focus of attention till, in response to a request from the Rhodesias, the Bledisloe Commission was appointed in 1938 to enquire into the whole matter.

It reported against immediate amalgamation but recognised the community of interest between die three territories by suggesting the creation of a body to co-ordinate common services.

The war which broke out soon afterwards made it impossible to implement this suggestion till 1945 when the Central African Council was established. This body succeeded in arranging for the extension or creation of common services, but the fact that the Council was consultative was held to rob it of much of its potential value. Experience of die working of the Council convinced its leading members that a much closer working arrangement was necessary if the potentialities of the three countries were to be fully realised,

A series of conferences to examine the possibilities and to frame recommendations began in January, 1951, when a group of civil servants representing the

United Kingdom, the Rhodesias and Nyasaland met in London. Their recommendations were the basis of further conferences on the political level held at the Victoria Falls later that year and in London in 1952 and early 1953.

The final proposals were endorsed by a referendum in Southern Rhodesia in April, 1953, by approximately a two-thirds majority. Later, the proposals were approved by the United Kingdom Parliament and the Legislative Councils of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

The Order-in-Council to set up the Federation was approved by Her Majesty the Queen on August 1, Lord Llewellin being appointed first Governor-General.

He arrived in Salisbury on September 4 to take up his duties and the interim Federal Ministry, headed by Sir Godfrey Huggins, for 20 years Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, was sworn in on September 7.

Enquiries may be addressed to:—

Federal Information Services,
P.O. Box 140, Causeway
(Salisbury), Southern Rhodesia.

High Commissioner for the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland,
Rhodesia House, 429 Strand, London, W.C.2.

High Commissioner for the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland,
P.O. Box 153, Pretoria, and P.O. Box 2831, Cape Town, South Africa.

The photographs in this booklet were produced by the Information Department of Northern Rhodesia and the Public Relations Departments of Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

End of Article.

Tkanks to Diarmid Smith and Robb Ellis for their help.



At 17 May 2010 at 17:51 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

An interesting potted history of the Federation.

As a matter of interest the MS Ilala featured in the brochure, still plies the same route on Lake Malawi. The MS Ilala is in fact the second vessel with that name to sail the waters of the Lake. The first 'Ilala' was a Steam Ship, the SS Ilala, which was the fulfillment of a concept originally envisioned by David Livingstone.

Nick Baalbergen.

At 30 October 2020 at 11:06 , Blogger robertty said...


At 30 October 2020 at 11:06 , Blogger robertty said...



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