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Sir Roy Welensky

(1907—1991) prime minister of the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland


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(b. 20 Jan. 1907, d. 6 Dec. 1991).

Prime Minister of the Central African Federation 1955–63 Born in the slum‐quarter of Salisbury (Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe) of Lithuanian refugees, he worked as a railway official in Northern Rhodesia, became leader of the Railway Workers' Trade Union in 1933, and a member of the Northern Rhodesian parliament in 1938. In 1941 he helped to form the Labour Party of Northern Rhodesia. Claiming to be 50 per cent Jewish, 50 per cent Afrikaner, and 100 per cent British, he was a major proponent of the creation of the Central African Federation which he hoped would strengthen the British presence in the area. To this end, he founded the Federal Party and entered the Federation's first parliament in 1953. Succeeding Huggins as Prime Minister, he was unable to increase the White‐ruled Federation's popularity among the Black majority of the population, particularly in Nyasaland (Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). He supported White rule in Southern Rhodesia, but opposed Smith's Unilateral Declaration of Independence (Zimbabwe) which followed the breakup of the Federation. His attempt to build up an opposition to Smith through founding the New Rhodesia Party in 1964 failed, and so he retired to a farm near his home town of Salisbury (Harare).

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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