Cecil John Rhodes, PC, DCL (July 5, 1853 – March 26, 1902) was a British-born South African businessman, mining magnate, and politician. Rhodes was born in Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire and became the founder of the diamond company De Beers, which today markets 60 percent of the world's rough diamonds. At one time De Beers controlled 90 percent of the global diamond market. Rhodes was an ardent believer in colonialism and was the colonizer of the state of Rhodesia, which was named after him. Rhodesia (later Northern and Southern Rhodesia) eventually became Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively.
Rhodes profited greatly by exploiting Southern Africa's natural resources, proceeds of which founded the Rhodes Scholarship upon his death. Rhodes is famous for having declared: "All of these stars … these vast worlds that remain out of reach. If I could, I would annex other planets." In the context of what has been called the Scramble for Africa, Rhodes was one of the most significant and influential promoters of Britain's imperial interests. He believed that British power could make war an impossibility, since Britain would police the world. He thought the British were destined to rule other peoples, for whose rights he had little concern. Despite his racist assumption many students from former British colonies have benefited from the Rhodes Scholarship.