Zimbabwe: unadopted designs from the Royal Mint

Started by <k>, December 26, 2016, 12:51:38 AM

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<k>

On 7 October 1964 the Southern Rhodesian government announced that when Northern Rhodesia achieved independence as Zambia, Southern Rhodesia would officially become known as Rhodesia, since the absence of a "Northern" Rhodesia made the continued use of "Southern" superfluous. It passed legislation to become simply Rhodesia, but the British government refused to approve this on the grounds that the country's name was defined by British legislation and so could not be altered by the colonial government. The Rhodesian government, which had begun using the new name anyway, did not press the issue, but the British government continued to refer to the country as Southern Rhodesia.

On 11th November 1965 Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, and the party leader of the ruling Rhodesian Front, signed the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (commonly referred to as UDI), announcing that Rhodesia now regarded itself as an independent sovereign state. The culmination of a dispute between the British and Rhodesian governments, regarding the terms under which Rhodesia could become fully independent, it was the first unilateral break from the United Kingdom by one of its colonies since the United States Declaration of Independence nearly two centuries before.

Britain, the Commonwealth and the United Nations all deemed Rhodesia's UDI illegal. Economic sanctions, the first in the UN's history, were imposed on the breakaway colony. Amid near-complete international isolation, Rhodesia continued as an unrecognised state with the assistance of South Africa and Portugal. The Rhodesian government, which mostly comprised members of the country's white minority, was indignant when less developed African colonies to the north quickly advanced to independence during the early 1960s, while Rhodesia was refused sovereignty under Britain's new ideal of "no independence before majority rule". Most white Rhodesians felt that they were due independence after four decades of self-government, and that Britain was betraying them by withholding it.

On the third anniversary of UDI, the Rhodesian flag of 1964 was replaced by a green and white flag, with the full coat of arms in the centre. Elizabeth II was still the Rhodesian head of state in the eyes of Smith's administration, even though the Queen had refused ever to accept the title "Queen of Rhodesia". This was a sign of changes to come. In late 1969 the rebel Rhodesian Government won a majority in a referendum to declare Rhodesia a Republic.

Rhodesia adopted a decimal currency on 17th February 1970. The new coins were issued with the Rhodesian coat of arms on the reverse, which replaced the portrait of Elizabeth II.  This was in anticipation of Rhodesia's reconstitution as a republic, which happened a mere two weeks after their issue, on 2nd of March 1970.

By 1975, the situation in Rhodesia was not going well for the government and the white minority. The bush war, a guerrilla war waged against the government by the African nationalists of ZANU and ZAPU, had gathered pace since 1972. By 1975 Angola and Mozambique, which bordered Rhodesia, had become independent from Portugal, and they were now run by hostile Marxist Africans. Additionally the USA had pressured apartheid South Africa to withdraw support from Rhodesia. Time was running out for Rhodesia, and its last coins were issued in 1977.
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<k>

In the UK, the Royal Mint, which was always looking for new business, was liaising with Thomas de la Rue, the printer of international banknotes. Both hoped to win the business of any new black regime in Rhodesia.


Zim-doc-12Jan77.jpg


Zim-doc-10Jun77.jpg
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Zim-doc-15Jun77.jpg
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<k>

Preparations were now made for a new regime and a new coinage and currency. Royal Mint artist Michael Hibbit was asked to prepare a set of sketches for a new coinage.


Zim-doc-21Jul77.jpg


Zim-doc-22Jul77.jpg


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Zim-doc-23Jul77.jpg
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<k>

#3
Zimbabwe ½z.jpg

The half "zenti".  Gazelle.
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<k>

#4
Zimbabwe 1z.jpg

1 zenti.  Impala.
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<k>

#5
Zimbabwe 2½z.jpg

2½ zenti.  Rock rabbit.
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<k>

#6
Zimbabwe 5z.jpg

5 zenti.  Cheetah.
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<k>

#7
Zimbabwe 10z.jpg

10 zenti.  Giraffe.
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<k>

#8
Zimbabwe obverse.jpg

There was no 20 zenti.
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<k>

#9
Judging by this document, some contact had taken place between the Mint and the African politicians .

But I don't know the nature of it.


Zim-doc-27Jul77.jpg
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<k>

#10
But a year later nothing has happened.


Zim-doc-23May78#.jpg
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<k>

#11
But in 1979 things started moving, and the sales director of the Royal Mint requested the help of the British government to win some business.

Ian Smith announced his acceptance in principle of "one man, one vote" during Henry Kissinger's Anglo-American initiative in September 1976. In March 1978 he concluded the Internal Settlement with non-militant nationalist groups headed by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Chief Jeremiah Chirau. This settlement, boycotted by the Patriotic Front of ZANU and ZAPU and rejected internationally,led to multiracial elections and Rhodesia's reconstitution under majority rule as Zimbabwe Rhodesia in June 1979.

Muzorewa, the electoral victor, took office as the country's first black Prime Minister at the head of a coalition Cabinet comprising 12 blacks and five whites, including Smith as minister without portfolio. Dismissing Muzorewa as a "neocolonial puppet", ZANU and ZAPU continued their armed struggle until December 1979, when Whitehall, Salisbury and the Patriotic Front settled at Lancaster House.



Zim-doc-11Dec79-.jpg
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<k>

#12
More business discussions behind the scenes.

Meanwhile, the political situation was changing fast. Rhodesia briefly became British again after Muzorewa resigned. Mrs Thatcher's government negotiated with the African nationalists, and the country became independent under black rule.

Muzorewa's government revoked UDI, thereby ending the country's claim to be independent after 14 years, and dissolved itself. The UK suspended the constitution and vested full executive and legislative powers in a new Governor, Lord Soames, who oversaw a ceasefire and fresh elections during February and March 1980. These were won by ZANU, whose leader Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister when the UK granted independence to Zimbabwe as a republic within the Commonwealth in April 1980.


Zim-doc-19Mar80-.jpg


Zim-doc-25Mar80-.jpg
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<k>

#13
And a meeting with the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.


Zim-doc-7May1980.jpg
Zim-doc-7May1980-.jpg
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<k>

#14
Zimbabwe 1c.jpg


The British apparently showed some coin designs to the new authorities of Zimbabwe.

Mike Hibbit's sketches were then re-done with cent denominations.

This time a 20 cent coin was included.
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