Reports, minutes, papers and correspondence (chiefly of George Cawston), 1888-1911, including official correspondence regarding the Jameson Raid and report of Jameson's trial; together with the Report of the Select Committee on British South Africa, 1896/1897, and H.H. Johnston's Report on the Nyasa-Tanganyika expedition, 1889-1890.
Papers of the British South Africa Company (the Cawston Papers)
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 161 MSS.Afr.s.70-84
- Dates of Creation1888-1911
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical Description16 volumes
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
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.
George Cawston was a barrister-at-law and one of the people who signed the petition asking for the British South Africa Company to be incorporated under a royal charter.
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Collection level description created by Marion Lowman, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.
Administrative/Biographical History compiled with reference to Encyclopaedia Britannica .
Other Finding Aids
The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.
Listed as no. 724 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968).
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