Cecil Rhodes started a diamond business in South Africa and then went to Oxford University. He was an enthusiastic British imperialist, and had grand visions of spreading the British Empire. He was utterly convinced of British superiority, which he extended to the Americans as fellow Anglo-Saxon peoples. Rhodes built up a large colonial territory in South Africa, that he named after himself: Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
Imperialism and Socail Darwinism
Rhodes was a key player in the belief that Britain should be the greatest imperial power, and he was not fussed what the cost to native human life that was involved. He was a believer in Social Darwinism, which isn’t as simple as survival of the fittest, but that there was a superior race (that of the white European) and their duty was to bring all other races to the same standard.
Positives of Rhodes
Rhodes brought large amounts of wealth to Britain, and he himself became rich from resources found in South Africa. He led the way in British patriotism and imperialism and dreamed of a British territory which stretched from ‘Cape to Cairo’ and of a railway that would greatly enhance transport for British trade. The railways was never built but by 1900, there was indeed a long span of British territory running from the Mediterranean to the Cape, with only a few interruptions.
Negatives of Rhodes
By taking wealth of the are for Britain denied Southern Africans potential wealth. He tarnished the legacy of Oxford University as he showed there was a lack of equality of the races. He believed in Social Darwinism, that white British are superior to black Africans. He pushed black people off lands, increased their taxes and made it hard for voting.
Significance of Rhodes
At the time, Rhodes was significant due to his wealth he was making for Britain, and the colony of Rhodesia. However, in more recent times there have been calls for the removal of statues of Rhodes. At Cape Town University, they removed the statue of Rhodes as they felt that he was not someone the country were proud of. However, Oxford University in the UK did not remove their statue of him.
- Why is Cecil Rhodes controversial?
- Your answer should include: views / race / Europeans
- What was Rhodes’ colony called?