Narrative Map of Zambesia Country

Map of Southern Africa in 1849 -1864

We do not know precisely where the name Zambesia came from and who named it.

However, this name is portrayed on a map depicting Zambesia dated 1849-1864.

According to a sketch map of Southern Africa showing British possessions in July 1885, they were five (5) countries in Southern Africa, namely Cape Colony(South Africa), Bechuanaland, Great Namaqualand-Damaraland (South West Africa), Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) and lastly Zambesia, from which former Southern Rhodesia ( Matebeleland , Mashonaland and Manyikaland) were curved out via British Order in Council dated 18th July 1894.

Zambesia had a common colonial boundary with the former Southern Rhodesia placed West of Matebeleland on the Gwai River as well as West of South African Republic in the East.

Zambesia had a colonial boundary with the former Bechuanaland protectorate (Botswana) placed at the 22 degrees south latitude via an agreement between Chief Khama of the Bahamangwato Tribe and Queen Victoria’s representative Sir General Charles Warren on 30th of September 1885 at Shoshong.

To the West, Zambesia had a common colonial boundary with Greater Namaqua Land and Damaraland (G.P.SWA) placed on the 20th degrees east longitude by none other than the famous Berlin Conference of 1884-1885.

Zambesia although not clearly defined shares a common boundary with Angola to the West, to the Northern Zambesia shares a common colonial boundary with Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) placed on the mighty river Zambezi. It is unfortunate that today as we speak, both Botswana and Namibia are on the banks of the Zambezi River, when among the six conditions submitted as the bases of an exertion to the Cape Colony. Point three of the conditions states that the country northward towards the Zambezi to be protected, A manner to be agreed upon by her Majesty’s imperial government with the advice of the colonial government.

Both former Bechuanaland protectorate and former German protectorate of South West Africa, now Namibia their colonial boundaries remain today as when they were proclaimed and have never been extended to date, has the land beyond their original colonial boundaries were sphere of influence for both Great Britain and Germany and as such they were not part of the established protectorates.

Great Britain had declared the sphere of influence over Zambesia, which included influence over Zambesia which Matebeleland and Mashonaland had a proposal to extend the Bechuanaland protectorate towards the Zambezi was rejected in August 1886 by the then Late Lord Salisbury Prime Minister of Great Britain with his colonial Secretary Edward Stanhope.

However, the colonial office rejected the annexation but decided that some measure for dealing with police discipline and coping with any other emergency which was necessary.

Consequently, on 30th of June 1890 an Order in Council was issued by which the Governor of British Bechuanaland may from time to time, by proclamation provide for giving effect to any power of jurisdiction which her MAJESTYS, HER HEIRS, SUCCESSORS may at any time before or after the date of this order have within the limits of this order , the order covered the 1885 protectorate and the territory up to the Zambezi thus including the whole of Khama’s country and Moremi at lake Ngami but excluding Matebeleland.

Furthermore, a proclamation was issued on September 4, 1891 and the operation of the proclamation of June 10, 1891 was limited to those territories lying to the South of the River Zambezi and to the West of the Guyi, Tati and the Mocloutsi Rivers and of the South African Republic which are at present under the administrative control of her MAJESTY’S High Commissioner for South Africa.

The illegal land grab of Zambezian border lands by neighbouring States or for that matter, cowardice or ignorance by some of our people will not deter us from demanding the restitution of Zambesia!

Mr. Ben Siyambango Nzehengwa

Head : Movement of the Survival of the River Races in Zambesia







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