Cecil John Rhodes - Former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, Birthday and Childhood

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Cecil John Rhodes's Personal Details

Cecil Rhodes was a politician cum businessman who founded the diamond company De Beers

InformationDetail
BirthdayJuly 5, 1853
Died onMarch 26, 1902
NationalityBritish
FamousFormer Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, Philanthropists, Business People
SiblingsFrancis William Rhodes
Known asCecil Rhodes
Universities
  • Oriel College
Founder / Co-Founder
  • De Beers
Birth PlaceBishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
GenderMale
FatherFrancis William Rhodes
MotherLouisa Peacock Rhodes
Sun SignCancer
Born inBishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Famous asFormer Prime Minister of the Cape Colony
Died at Age48

// Famous Former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony

Cecil John Rhodes's photo

Who is Cecil John Rhodes?

Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the diamond company De Beers was a prominent South African businessman cum politician of British origin. A strong supporter of British colonialism, he once dreamt of building his own secret society that would bring the entire world under British rule. Born into a large family, he was sent off to South Africa to work when he was just 16. During that time ‘diamond fever’ was sweeping the region, and Rhodes decided to bank on this new trend. He worked hard at diamond mines for years before setting up the De Beers Mining Company and later partnering with Barnie Barnato to form De Beers Consolidated Mines. He also entered politics on his election to the Cape Parliament and went on to become the Prime minister of the Cape Colony. He believed that the Anglo-Saxon race was the greatest and wanted to bring the whole of the world under British rule. So passionate he was in this belief that he even used his personal wealth in his attempt to expand the empire. As a politician he made several policies that influenced the development of British Imperialism in Africa. He was also a philanthropist who left a major part of his vast fortunes for the establishment of the Rhodes scholarship at the Oxford University.

// Famous Philanthropists

Childhood & Early Life

Cecil Rhodes was born in Hertfordshire, England, to Reverend Francis William Rhodes and his wife Louisa Peacock Rhodes. His father was a vicar in the Church of England.

He attended the Bishop’s Stortford Grammar School but he was asthmatic and had to be taken out of school because of health issues.

When Rhodes was 16, he was sent off to South Africa in the hopes that his health would improve in a better climate. His brother Herbert was already working there.

Career

He arrived at South Africa in 1870 and joined his brother on the cotton farm he operated.

During that time, it was newly discovered that diamonds were available in abundant quantities in the Kimberly area. The Rhodes brothers joined the diamond rush in 1871 and worked at open-pit mines. They managed to earn a small fortune and learned a lot about the diamond business.

In 1873, he went to England to complete his studies. He enrolled at Oriel College, Oxford but stayed for only one term before returning to South Africa. He would travel back and forth to Oxford and South Africa before finally earning his B.A. degree in 1881.

He worked hard in the diamond business over the next few years and began buying all the smaller diamond mining operations in Kimberly with financing from N. M. Rothschild & Sons.

He established the De Beers Mining Company in 1880. Along with his brother Frank he also formed the Goldfields of South Africa which consisted of several large mines in the Transvaal.

An ardent supporter of British Imperialism, his dream was to expand the British Empire to cover the whole world. His political interests led to his election as a member of the Cape Parliament in 1880.

One of his biggest rivals in the diamond business was Barnie Barnato with whom he collaborated to form the De Beers Consolidated Mines in 1888.

He formed the British South Africa Company (BSAC) in 1889 and became the Prime Minister of the Cape in 1890.

He obtained a royal charter from the British Empire to occupy Mashonaland and occupied the Matabeleland as well. Soon the BSAC controlled a vast territory of land which was renamed Rhodesia in 1895.

He supported the Jameson Raid—a planned attack on the Transvaal—in December 1895. The attack was a failure and resulted in the capture of Leander Jameson, the administrator of Rhodesia. Rhodes had to resign as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony because of this incident.

The Jameson Raid fiasco ultimately led to outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899. The war ended shortly after his death in 1902.

Major Works

He founded the De Beers diamond company which markets around 40% of the rough diamonds today. The company dominates the diamond business and is involved in open-pit, underground, coastal and deep sea mining in countries such as South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.

As a politician, he strived hard to bring as much land as possible under the British Empire. Over his political career he is credited to have brought approximately one million square miles of African land under the British rule.

Personal Life & Legacy

He never married. He had a very close relationship with Neville Pickering leading to speculations that he might have been homosexual. Pickering’s death devastated Rhodes further adding to this speculation.

He was very close to his friend Leander Jameson. Jameson took care of Rhodes during his final days, and continued living in the mansion the men had shared even after Rhodes’s death.

He suffered from ill health throughout his relatively short life. He had his first heart attack when he was hardly in his twenties, and his heart condition worsened with age. He died from heart failure in 1902, aged 48.

He was a very wealthy man at the time of his death and in his last will he bequeathed a vast amount to the Oxford University for the establishment of the Rhodes scholarships for selected foreign students to study at the University.

His will also provided for the establishment of The Rhodes Trust, an educational charity, which provided funds for the establishment of the Rhodes University in South Africa.

Trivia

The Polish princess Catherine Radziwill had stalked him and proposed marriage which he refused.

This famous politician and businessman dreamed of creating a secret society for bringing the whole of the world under British rule.

// Famous Business People

Cecil John Rhodes biography timelines

  • // 5th Jul 1853
    Cecil Rhodes was born in Hertfordshire, England, to Reverend Francis William Rhodes and his wife Louisa Peacock Rhodes. His father was a vicar in the Church of England.
  • // 1870
    He arrived at South Africa in 1870 and joined his brother on the cotton farm he operated.
  • // 1871
    During that time, it was newly discovered that diamonds were available in abundant quantities in the Kimberly area. The Rhodes brothers joined the diamond rush in 1871 and worked at open-pit mines. They managed to earn a small fortune and learned a lot about the diamond business.
  • // 1873
    In 1873, he went to England to complete his studies. He enrolled at Oriel College, Oxford but stayed for only one term before returning to South Africa. He would travel back and forth to Oxford and South Africa before finally earning his B.A. degree in 1881.
  • // 1880
    He established the De Beers Mining Company in 1880. Along with his brother Frank he also formed the Goldfields of South Africa which consisted of several large mines in the Transvaal.
  • // 1880
    An ardent supporter of British Imperialism, his dream was to expand the British Empire to cover the whole world. His political interests led to his election as a member of the Cape Parliament in 1880.
  • // 1888
    One of his biggest rivals in the diamond business was Barnie Barnato with whom he collaborated to form the De Beers Consolidated Mines in 1888.
  • // 1889
    He formed the British South Africa Company (BSAC) in 1889 and became the Prime Minister of the Cape in 1890.
  • // 1895
    He supported the Jameson Raid—a planned attack on the Transvaal—in December 1895. The attack was a failure and resulted in the capture of Leander Jameson, the administrator of Rhodesia. Rhodes had to resign as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony because of this incident.
  • // 26th Mar 1902
    He suffered from ill health throughout his relatively short life. He had his first heart attack when he was hardly in his twenties, and his heart condition worsened with age. He died from heart failure in 1902, aged 48.

// Famous British

Cecil John Rhodes's FAQ

  • What is Cecil John Rhodes birthday?

    Cecil John Rhodes was born at 1853-07-05

  • When was Cecil John Rhodes died?

    Cecil John Rhodes was died at 1902-03-26

  • Where was Cecil John Rhodes died?

    Cecil John Rhodes was died in Muizenberg, Cape Colony

  • Which age was Cecil John Rhodes died?

    Cecil John Rhodes was died at age 48

  • Where is Cecil John Rhodes's birth place?

    Cecil John Rhodes was born in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

  • What is Cecil John Rhodes nationalities?

    Cecil John Rhodes's nationalities is British

  • Who is Cecil John Rhodes siblings?

    Cecil John Rhodes's siblings is Francis William Rhodes

  • What was Cecil John Rhodes universities?

    Cecil John Rhodes studied at Oriel College

  • Which company or organization was founded by Cecil John Rhodes?

    Cecil John Rhodes was the founder/co-founder of De Beers

  • Who is Cecil John Rhodes's father?

    Cecil John Rhodes's father is Francis William Rhodes

  • Who is Cecil John Rhodes's mother?

    Cecil John Rhodes's mother is Louisa Peacock Rhodes

  • What is Cecil John Rhodes's sun sign?

    Cecil John Rhodes is Cancer

  • How famous is Cecil John Rhodes?

    Cecil John Rhodes is famouse as Former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony