The Portuguese tried to invade the central highlands several times but did not succeed, but it was Cecil Rhodes, a British politician and entrepreneur who, with his private army, succeeded in venturing into these lands in a later period with respect to the colonization of other African territories by the Europeans.

Cecil Rhodes, who at that time held 90% of the diamond market in the world, swore the Ndebele people and their King Lobenguela, infact he gave them some rifles and an old steamship in return for the chance to take advantage of all the mining resources in their lands.

This was the typical modus operandi of the British South Africa Company, or BSAC; a commercial company owned by Cecil Rhodes who, thanks to trickery, money and strength, managed to obtain concessions of most of South Africa.

Sir Cecil Rhodes became the administrator of the state that took his name and was founded on May 3, 1895; Rhodesia included much of today's Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Rhodesia became a steady British rule at the end of the XIX century; thanks to the huge funds and work of the British South Africa Company, this young state, divided into two by the Zambezi River, soon became acquainted with the English efficiency in colonization, but suffering, as well, the exploitation of its resources.

The territory of Rhodesia was divided into two parts by using the Zambezi River as a separation line: Southern Rhodesia and North Rhodesia were constituted.

When Cecil Rhodes died in 1902, Southern Rhodesia, along with North Rhodesia, remained under the control of the BSAC until, in 1923, following a referendum, they were proclaimed a British colony and passed under the direct control of the Crown.

Southern Rhodesia's military, as happened for other British colonies, fought alongside the United Kingdom during World War II.

After World War II, in 1953, despite much of the Bantu's opposing population, North Rhodesia, South Rhodesia and Nyassaland, today’s Malawi, were reunited in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyassaland; in this federation Zimbabwe assumed a primary role but the federation was short lived because it was strongly opposed by both black and white movements and hence, in 1963, it was dissolved.

While, in these years, many British settled in these lands and the population of the colony increased, some federations were also set up to protect the interests of whites