Rhodesia, officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965. With its government based at the former colonial capital of Salisbury, its territory consisted of the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia. The state was named after Cecil John Rhodes, whose British South Africa Company acquired the land in the 19th century.
The landlocked country bordered South Africa to the south, Botswana (post-1966) to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique (a Portuguese territory until 1975) to the east. The state was governed by a predominantly white minority government until 1979, initially as a self-governing colony then, after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, as a self-proclaimed sovereign Dominion, and latterly a Republic.
Throughout its history, Rhodesia continued to be referred to by the British, who did not recognize the state, as "Southern Rhodesia". Before 1964, the name "Rhodesia" had referred to the territory consisting of Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia which formed the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. It consisted of modern Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi; however, when the former colony of Northern Rhodesia renamed itself Zambia on independence in 1964, Nyasaland renamed itself Malawi in 1964, and the colony of Southern Rhodesia changed its name to simply "Rhodesia". However, the change had not yet been officially ratified when Rhodesia declared itself independent, and as a result, the British Government continued to refer to the breakaway colony as "Southern Rhodesia" throughout its existence, a stance it maintained regarding the June–December 1979 successor state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. Therefore, when Zimbabwe Rhodesia returned to colonial status from December 1979 to April 1980, it was as "Southern Rhodesia", which, according to Her Majesty's Government, it had never legally ceased to be called. Southern Rhodesia subsequently gained international recognition of its independence in April 1980, when it became the independent Republic of Zimbabwe.