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Rhodesia (, ) was an unrecognised state in southern Africa from 1965 to 1979, equivalent in territory to modern Zimbabwe. Rhodesia was the de facto successor state to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, which had been self-governing since achieving responsible government in 1923. A landlocked nation, Rhodesia was bordered by South Africa to the south, Bechuanaland (later Botswana) to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique (a Portuguese province until 1975) to the east.
In the late 19th century, the territory north of the Transvaal was chartered to the British South Africa Company, led by Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes and his Pioneer Column marched north in 1890, acquiring a huge bloc of territory that the Company would rule until the early 1920s. In 1923, the Company's charter was revoked, and Southern Rhodesia attained self-government and established a legislature. Between 1953 and 1963, Southern Rhodesia was joined with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
The decolonisation of Africa in the early 1960s alarmed a significant proportion of Rhodesia's white population. In an effort to delay the transition to black majority rule, Rhodesia's predominantly white government issued its own Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965. (The government of the United Kingdom supported Rhodesia's transition to a multi-racial democracy.) The UDI administration initially sought recognition as an autonomous realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, but reconstituted itself as a republic in 1970. The Rhodesian Bush War, which pitted the government against two African nationalist organisations, ZANU and ZAPU, intensified in the 1970s, prompting Rhodesian premier Ian Smith to concede to multiracial democracy in 1978. However, a provisional government subsequently headed by Smith and his moderate colleague Abel Muzorewa failed in appeasing international critics or halting the bloodshed. By December 1979, Muzorewa had replaced Smith as Prime Minister and secured an agreement with the militant nationalists, allowing Rhodesia to briefly revert to colonial status pending elections under a universal franchise. It finally achieved internationally recognised independence in April 1980 as the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Rhodesia's largest cities were its capital, Salisbury, and Bulawayo. The white population, which grew to nearly 300,000, dominated the country's politics and economy, though they never made up more than eight percent of the total population. Rhodesia developed an economy largely dependent on agriculture, manufacturing, and mining. Its largest exports were chrome, tobacco, and steel. International sanctions put increasing pressure on the country as time went on. The Parliament of Rhodesia, which included the lower House of Assembly and later a Senate, was predominantly white, with minority of seats reserved for blacks. After 1970, the country used a semi-presidential system, with a President, Prime Minister, and cabinet.