Central African Federation
The Central African Federation was created in 1953 by the union of the British colonies of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Politicians had two reasons for forming this federation. One was to gain access to the copper mines of Northern Rhodesia and the cheap labor of Nyasaland. The other was to calm the fears of white settlers who were concerned about losing their grip on power over the region.
Although some of its founders hoped the federation would lead to a multiracial society, black leaders opposed this idea from the beginning. In fact, the creation of the federation spurred the growth of black nationalist parties that called for independence. The white governments of the area reacted by trying to crush the black political parties and imprisoning their leaders. However, by 1960 black citizens had won the right to vote, and in time political power was transferred to the black majority. The Central African Federation dissolved after Nyasaland (now MALAWI) and Northern Rhodesia (now ZIMBABWE) became independent in 1963. (See also Colonialism in Africa.)