Another Strange and Unusual Fact about the British Commonwealth

Southern Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith signing the controversial Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

Southern Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith signing the controversial Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

For some bizarre reason, I’ve been consumed lately with an interest in trivia related to the British Empire and Commonwealth.

So, here goes another question: In the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth, only one other political entity besides the 13 American colonies issued  a declaration of independence from the Crown.  What was the name of that entity?

The answer: Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe).

In 1965, Southern Rhodesia, known more commonly as Rhodesia, was governed by a white minority regime that refused to go along with British efforts to institute black majority rule.  As Britain continued to press for majority rule, the white Rhodesians issued their so-called Unilateral Declaration of Independence, an action that immediately earned Southern Rhodesia international opprobrium, including condemnation from the United Nations, which characterized it as “illegal racist minority regime.”

Oddly, for a time after its declaration, Southern Rhodesia continued to acknowledge Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state but did not recognize her colonial representative, Sir Humphrey Gibbs.

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About Jim Langcuster

A Southern late-Baby Boomer whose post-retirement focus is on building a post-racial, post-Confederate Southern regional identity. If the election of 2016 underscored one thing, it is that this country is intractably divided and that radical devolution of power to localities and states is the only way to save the American Union.
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