British South Africa Company
The British South Africa Company (BSAC or BSACo) was established by Cecil Rhodes through the amalgamation of the Central Search Association and the Exploring Company Ltd., receiving a royal charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 in 1889. Modelling the BSAC on the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, Rhodes hoped it would enable colonisation and economic exploitation across much of south-central Africa, as part of the "Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

". The company's directors included the Duke of Abercorn
James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn
James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn KG, CB, PC , styled Viscount Hamilton until 1868 and Marquess of Hamilton from 1868 to 1885, was a British nobleman and diplomat...

, Rhodes himself and the financier Alfred Beit
Alfred Beit
Alfred Beit was a German, British South African, Jewish gold and diamond magnate, a supporter of British imperialism in Southern Africa and a major donor towards infrastructure development in central and Southern Africa, and to university education and research in several countries.- Life and...

The company was empowered to trade with African rulers such as King Lobengula
Lobengula Khumalo was the second and last king of the Ndebele people, usually pronounced Matabele in English. Both names, in the Sindebele language, mean "The men of the long shields", a reference to the Matabele warriors' use of the Zulu shield and spear.- Background :The Matabele were related to...

; to form banks; to own, manage and grant or distribute land, and to raise a police force (the British South Africa Police
British South Africa Police
The British South Africa Police was the police force of the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes which became the national police force of Southern Rhodesia and its successor after 1965, Rhodesia...