In 1890 the diamond millionaire Cecil Rhodes invaded the Matable tribal lands of southern Africa with an army of mercenaries, conquering them and naming the land after himself—Rhodesia. His British South Africa Company ran the region under a charter from London until 1923, when it became a crown colony, eventually being renamed the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Rhodesians served the British Empire in two world wars, but by the early 1960s European colonialism was collapsing across Africa, with power being handed over to various new tribal-national groups. In 1964 northern Rhodesia became Zambia while Nyasaland became Malawi. Southern Rhodesia was scheduled to follow with its own transition to black majority rule.