The Rudd Concession (ca. 1888)

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The Rudd Concession for exclusive mining rights in Matabeleland, Mashonaland and other adjoining territories was granted by King Lobengula of Matabeleland to Charles Rudd, James Rochfort Maguire and Francis Thompson, on behalf of Cecil Rhodes on October 30, 1888.

Not long after the Concession was signed Lobengula¬†realised that the oral promises made by Rudd were not documented and thus not enforceable.¬†Despite Lobengula’s retrospective attempts to disavow the Concession, it proved the foundation for the royal charter granted by the United Kingdom to Rhodes’ British South Africa Company in October 1889, the pre-cursor to white settlement.

Lobengula of Matabeleland circa 1893
Lobengula, King of Matabeleland circa 1893.
Charles Dunell Rudd
Charles Dunell Rudd, a business associate of Cecil Rhodes.

The Written Terms of the Rudd Concession

Know all men by these presents, that whereas Charles Dunell Rudd, of Kimberley; Rochfort Maguire, of London; and Francis Robert Thompson, of Kimberley, hereinafter called the grantees, have covenanted and agreed, and do hereby covenant and agree, to pay to me, my heirs and successors,

  1. the sum of one hundred pounds sterling, British currency, on the first day of every lunar month;
  2. and further, to deliver at my royal kraal one thousand Martini-Henry breech-loading rifles, 
  3. together with one hundred thousand rounds of suitable ball cartridge, 
  4. five hundred of the said rifles 
  5. and fifty thousand of the said cartridges to be ordered from England forthwith and delivered with reasonable despatch, 
  6. and the remainder of the said rifles and cartridges to be delivered as soon as the said grantees shall have commenced to work mining machinery within my territory; 
  7. and further, to deliver on the Zambesi River a steamboat with guns suitable for defensive purposes upon the said river, 
  8. or in lieu of the said steamboat, should I so elect, to pay to me the sum of five hundred pounds sterling, British currency. 

On the execution of these presents, I, Lobengula, King of Matabeleland, Mashonaland, and other adjoining territories, in exercise of my sovereign powers, and in the presence and with the consent of my council of indunas, do hereby grant and assign unto the said grantees, their heirs, representatives, and assigns, jointly and severally,

  1. the complete and exclusive charge over all metals and minerals situated and contained in my kingdoms, principalities, and dominions, together with full power to do all things that they may deem necessary to win and procure the same, and to hold, collect, and enjoy the profits and revenues, if any, derivable from the said metals and minerals, subject to the aforesaid payment; 
  2. and whereas I have been much molested of late by divers persons seeking and desiring to obtain grants and concessions of land and mining rights in my territories, I do hereby authorise the said grantees, their heirs, representatives and assigns, to take all necessary and lawful steps to exclude from my kingdom, principalities, and dominions all persons seeking land, metals, minerals, or mining rights therein, 
  3. and I do hereby undertake to render them all such needful assistance as they may from time to time require for the exclusion of such persons, and to grant no concessions of land or mining rights from and after this date without their consent and concurrence; provided that, if at any time the said monthly payment of one hundred pounds shall be in arrear for a period of three months, then this grant shall cease and determine from the date of the last-made payment; 
  4. and further provided that nothing contained in these presents shall extend to or affect a grant made by me of certain mining rights in a portion of my territory south of the Ramaquaban River, which grant is commonly known as the Tati Concession.

(signed by Lobengula, Rudd, Maguire, Thompson, Helm and Dreyer)

I hereby certify that the accompanying document has been fully interpreted and explained by me to the Chief Lobengula and his full Council of Indunas and that all the Constitutional usages of the Matabele Nation had been complied with prior to his executing the same.

(signed by Helm)

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