Ian Smith Biography

former prime minister
Died: Nov. 20, 2007 (South Africa)
Best Known as: former prime minister of Rhodesia

Former prime minister of Rhodesia, who avowed that white rule would endure in Africa for 1,000 years. His resistance to black rule led to Rhodesia's declaration of independence from Britain in 1965, and later a seven-year guerrilla war, and severe repression. The wars cost 30,000 lives, the majority of which were black fighters and civilians. He became the symbol of white rule in Africa. The once prosperous Rhodesia suffers from poverty and famine as the independent country Zimbabwe, which only strengthened Smith's white supremacist views. Bitter and resolute in his beliefs to the end, Smith insisted that his government was beneficial to all Zimbabwe's people.