Sub-Saharan Africa 1965: Rhodesia Crisis
When it began withdrawing from its African colonies in the 1950s the United Kingdom adopted a policy of no independence before majority rule. Rejecting the notions of racial equality that this policy implied, the white-ruled government of Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence in 1965. The British immediately denounced the declaration as an act of rebellion, but were unable to enforce their authority on the wayward colony.
25 Sep 1964 Mozambican Independence War begins▲
In 1963 the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) set up headquarters in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and, under the leadership of sociologist Eduardo Mondlane, began calling for the independence of Mozambique from Portugal. After an unfruitful two year campaign for peaceful independence, Mondlane moved to more violent tactics, sending Algerian-trained FRELIMO guerrillas across the Tanzanian border into Mozambique. Outnumbered and outmatched, FRELIMO nonetheless took advantage of local support and the monsoon season to establish themselves in the north of the country.
24 Oct 1964 Zambian Independence▲
The British colony of Northern Rhodesia was granted self-rule in January 1964. In July the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Zambia Independence Act, granting independence to Northern Rhodesia as the Republic of Zambia in October. Upon independence, Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda became President and began steering the country towards a one-party state.
24–27 Nov 1964 Operation Dragon Rouge▲
In Operation Dragon Rouge 650 Belgian paratroopers were dropped from US transport planes into Simba rebel-controlled Stanleyville in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The paratroopers successfully rescued over 1,800 American and European civilians who had been held hostage by the rebels when the defeat of the Simba Rebellion by the central government and their Western supporters began to appear to be inevitable. Despite the victory, the Congolese governments obvious dependence on Western support helped undermine the prestige of Prime Minister Moise Tshombe and President Joseph Kasa Vubu.
18 Feb 1965 Independence of the Gambia▲
The Gambia Colony and Protectorate achieved self-rule in October 1963, after the election of Dawda Jawara of the People’s Progressive Party as Prime Minister the previous year. At the end of 1964 the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Independence of the Gambia Act, making the Gambia an independent state in February 1965. Jawara pushed through a republic and one-party state in 1970, continuing to rule the country until his overthrow in 1994.
1 Nov 1965 Outbreak of Chadian Civil War▲
In January 1965 France ended its administration in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region of northern Chad, departing from an area already restive under President Tombalbaye harsh, southern-focused one-party rule. When a tax revolt broke out in the Guéra Prefecture in early November 1965, it captured popular resentment against the regime in the northern and central prefectures and marked the beginning of a civil war. The following year various rebel factions met in Sudan to form the National Liberation Front of Chad (FROLINAT) with the aim of overthrowing Tombalbaye and his southerners.
11 Nov 1965 Rhodesia Crisis▲
In April 1964, in political infighting, Ian Smith ousted incumbent Winston Field as leader of the Rhodesian Front party and Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, becoming the first Rhodesian-born leader of the British colony—which he soon renamed as just Rhodesia. Rejecting the British policy of no independence before majority rule, Smith’s white government issued a unilateral declaration of independence in November 1965 to avoid sharing power with the black population. The declaration was denounced by the United Kingdom as an “act of rebellion”, while Smith’s government was branded as an “illegal racist minority regime” by the United Nations.