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Cecil Rhodes, Founder of Rhodesia

King Lobengula was nervous. He should have been too. The leader of the Ndebele tribe was playing a waiting games of sorts, realizing that there are two camps of indigenous African commanders: those who have tried to stave off the purloining of their land by a colonial empire, and those who will. Of course by the 1890s, someone had found both gold and diamonds in South Africa and that was all the British needed to invest the area with expeditionary forces and merchants. So to make the transfer of materials easier, the British South Africa Company would administer the territory between Limpop and Zambesi. Along with Queen Victoria’s signature went settlers and troops to protect the settlers, Lobengula directed his forces away from the areas under the purview of the BSAC to avoided conflict.

Wouldn’t you know it, one of Lobengula’s vassals revolted and sided with the BSAC. To bring the upstart to servitude, the King sent thousands into the revolting tribes area and killed people. The leader of the revolt asked the British for help warding off the attacks and thus the Metebele War began.

The famous Cecil Rhodes led the first 700 troops and 1000 native Tswanas against easily 100,000 native tribesmen, 20,000 of who had modern firearms. It was during this four month war that 5 Maxim machine guns mowed down upwards of 5000 Ndelebel warriors. At the end of the conflict, the British suffered 100 casualties, and the indigenous tribes lost 10,000.

 

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They never stood a chance to firepower like this.

 

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King Lobengula

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