The British South Africa Company (BSAC) was a mercantile company based in London. It was incorporated in 1889 under a royal charter (at the instigation of Cecil Rhodes) with the object of acquiring and exercising commercial and administrative rights in south-central Africa. The charter gave the BSAC rights to maintain or distribute vast territory, to make treaties, to establish a police force, and to set up banking firms.
By 1900, the BSAC was administering both Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia, and by various means had acquired substantial land and mineral rights. BSAC rule ended in Southern Rhodesia in 1923, when the white settlers were granted responsible government, and in Northern Rhodesia in 1924, when the Colonial Office assumed control. However, the BSAC retained its commercial assets and its mineral rights in Northern Rhodesia became a valuable source of revenue following the development of the copper-mining industry in that territory between the First and Second World Wars. On the eve of Northern Rhodesia's independence, the BSAC was forced, by the threat of expropriation, to assign its mineral rights to the local government. The BSAC merged with two other companies to form Charter Consolidated Limited in 1965.
Out letters from the London office of the British South Africa Company, 1890-1907. Microfilm.
Bodleian reader's ticket required.Reproduction Restrictions
No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.Existence/Location of Originals
Originals are held by the Rhodesia National Archives.
Listed as no. 726 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968).
British South Africa Company