Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) was an English-born South African capitalist and politician. He was the founder of the de Beers Company, which during his life time and to this day has owned 90% of the world's diamond trade. He was also Prime Minister of Cape Colony.
He was also the founder and head of the British South Africa Company and the head of the British colony of Zambesia. Rhodes was so popular a leader of the Colony of Zambesia that in May 1895, the name was officially changed to Rhodesia, reflecting Rhodes' popularity among colonists who had been informally using the name since 1891. Rhodes was a supporter of the Liberal Party and the Irish Nationalist Party. During his last years he was the victim of stalking by Princess Catherine Radziwill, a Polish adventurer and ex-wife of German Prince Wilhelm Radziwill.
The Rhodes Scholarship, which is perhaps the most prestigious scholarship in the world, was enacted after his death according to his will.
Among South Africans, Rhodes is still widely popular; in poll that included Nelson Mandela, Hendrik F. Verwoerd and Gandhi, Rhodes was voted as the 56th Greatest South African by the South African Broadcasting Corporation.