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Central African Federation


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(1953–63)

A short-lived African federation, comprising the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi). In the 1920s and 1930s Europeans in both Rhodesias had pressed for union, but Britain had rejected the proposal because of its responsibilities towards Africans in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In 1953 the Conservative government in Britain allowed economic arguments to prevail and a federal constitution was devised by which the federal government handled external affairs, defence, currency, intercolonial relations, and federal taxes. Riots and demonstrations by African nationalists followed (1960–61) and in 1962 Britain accepted in principle Nyasaland's right to secede. A meeting of the four concerned governments at the Victoria Falls Conference agreed to dissolve the Federation.

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