On 29 October 1889, Queen Victoria granted the BSAC a Royal Charter. You might be wondering, what is a Royal Charter, why exactly did Queen Victoria have to do that? This short article seeks to explain what a Royal Charter is and why it was necessary for the BSAC to obtain one from the Queen.
A Royal Charter is an official document from a monarchy (King or Queen) granting an individual, a company, an organisation or a group of individuals permission to act on behalf of the government.
In the case of of the 29 October Royal Charter mentioned above, Queen Victoria was basically giving the British South Africa Company (BSAC) permission to act on behalf of the British government whilst in the to be British colony. The document gave permission to Rhodes and the BSAC to colonise the African territory known as Zimbabwe today. The charter however outlined that the African territory would remain a British colony, the BSAC was supposed to open banks, promote civilisation, abolish slave trade, construct railway lines, construct roads, construct telegraph lines and issue mining and farming land to British citizens.