Cecil Rhodes was born near London in 1853, the sixth of the children of an Anglican cleric. At 16 he was diagnosed with an aorta defect and the doctor recommended a trip by sea, so he embarked on South Africa intending to become a farmer, shortly after this territory had been officially annexed to the British Empire.
The diamond fever of the nineteenth century in Africa had just begun, thousands of adventurers threw themselves into the Boer territories in search of fortune. Rhodes followed that flood of greed in 1871 and when he arrived in Diamond City, as the city of Kimberley was known, 40,000 Europeans were already there trying to become millionaires.
In 1872 before turning the 19 years, Rhodes suffered a heart attack, doctors told him that the attack had been mild, but he knew that since then, he would maintain a race against death. He chose a curious form of convalescence: an epic journey through the African savanna. During this trip, he increased his great love and His great plan for Africa.
Nine months lasted the trip through the savanna, in a cart pulled by oxen until it reached the Boers Territory. It had an incredible effect on him. Rhodes heard thousands of hunter stories about the interior of Africa and it was on this journey that he cooked his first ideas to proclaim in 1875 that «Africa is waiting for the English and we have to take it.»
Rhodes began to acquire all the operating licenses that were offered for sale and in 1873 he bought the De Beer mine considered the main Kimberley mine at a ridiculous price, as it was believed depleted, and it turned out that in the lower layers there were many more diamonds than in the superior ones and of greater weight and quality. Thus, with 20 years of age, he was one of the richest men in Africa.
He founded in 1885, his De Beers Mining Company that controlled 360 of Kimberley’s 622 concessions. In 1886, in present-day Johannesburg, the largest gold deposit recorded so far in the world appeared. Rhodes started to buy concessions, and in 1889, his company achieved the almost total monopoly of South African gold and diamonds. At 36 he had become one of the main fortunes of England.
The Rhodes Divine Plan included incorporating into the empire all of Africa «from Cape to Cairo,» he said, the Euphrates Valley, Cyprus, the whole of South America, the Pacific Islands without exception, the Malay archipelago and all ports in China and Japan. The last step was to get the United States to accept the queen of England as sovereign. And since he was already there, he decided to start in Africa.
His servants and followers referred to him as Rhodes the Colossus, in clear allusion to the mythical Colossus of Rhodes. And the tycoon began to form around him a group of unconditional, an elite of servers, almost a court, with which he plotted his plans for conquest.
In 1888, Rhodes had obtained from King Lobengula, monarch of the Ndebeles, the concessions to exploit the gold deposits of Matabeleland and Mashonaland, territories that extend through the current state of Zimbabwe. And in that same year, he also obtained from London the Royal Charter that allowed him to colonize those regions. Lobengula, who thought he was a friend and ally of the Queen of England, met with her and candidly signed an agreement that allowed Rhodes to conduct surveys in his domains.
In 1890, Rhodes achieved one of his great goals: the appointment as prime minister of the Cape, and founded the British South Africa Company, for which he hired, not officials, but two hundred mercenaries who were experts in the war and well-armed a troop called Pioneer Column. His goal was to conquer the southern territory of the kingdom of Lobengula.
The opportunity for the conquest came when Lobengula attacked an enemy tribe because of a cattle dispute, where women and children were killed. 1,400 mercenaries were promised land and diamond concessions, the key weapon was the Maxim Gun, a powerful gun that fired 60 bullets per second; Rhodes corporation possessed the most secret weapon of the British army, something that Queen Victoria knew and approved.
The Ndebeles had only spears and stones, the result was devastating: the machine guns were blinding the Africans as they advanced, it was a true carnage, 3000 men in a single day. Lobengula fled with his wives and was poisoned when he knew of the loss and betrayal incurred, the king was a gentleman in his own way. The flag of the Company was raised in the capital of Lobengula and a new state would arise as a result of Rhode’s insatiable ego and the spread of own his death, soon he died at age 49 due to cardiac complications.