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Rhodes, Cecil John (1853–1902)
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British imperialist, southern African politician, mining magnate, and financier, Rhodes was arguably the most powerful figure in southern Africa during the 1880s and 1890s. He built a large personal fortune through his two diamond companies, De Beers Mining Company (founded 1880) and its successor, De Beers Consolidated Mines (founded 1888); his British South Africa Company (founded 1889), which through its concessions claimed the territory subsequently renamed Rhodesia after him; and his gold-mining company, Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa (founded 1892). Rhodes also served as prime minister of the Cape Colony between 1890 and 1896.