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Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Last minority white leader dies at 88

November 21, 2007

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— Ian Smith, Rhodesia's last white prime minister whose attempts to resist black rule dragged the country now known as Zimbabwe into isolation and civil war, died Tuesday at age 88.

Smith, who recently suffered a stroke, died at a clinic near Cape Town, South Africa, where he spent his final years with his family, said longtime friend Sam Whaley, who was a senator in the former Rhodesia.

Smith unilaterally declared independence from Britain on Nov. 11, 1965. He then served as the prime minister of Rhodesia from 1965 to 1979 during white minority rule. The country failed to gain international recognition, and the United Nations imposed economic sanctions.

He finally bowed to international pressure, and Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party won elections in 1980.

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