The Collapse of Rhodesia

Population Demographics and the Politics of Race

Josiah Brownell



In the years leading up to Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965, its small and transient white population was balanced precariously atop a large and fast-growing African population. This unstable political demography was set against the backdrop of continent-wide decolonisation and a parallel rise in African nationalism within Rhodesia. The Collapse of Rhodesia provides a controversial re-examination of the final decades of white minority rule. Josiah Brownell argues that racial population demographics and the pressures they produced were a pervasive, but hidden, force behind many of Rhodesia’s most dramatic political events, including UDI.


[Brownell's] argument is based in detailed empirical evidence, drawing together data from a range of sources that have not previously been considered in this way. He provides a welcome comparison with the fate of other white settler projects in Central and Southern Africa and detailed exploration of the centrality of population issues. - Sue Onslow, London School of Economics


Dr Josiah Brownell received his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies and teaches at Pratt. His research focuses on Rhodesian history, comparative settler colonialism, and the end of the British Empire.