History of the Rhodes Trust
The will of Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) created the Rhodes Scholarships, managed by the Rhodes Trust.
It is a global organisation and we use our deep connections across the world to bring together people of different backgrounds and viewpoints. We encourage them to openly debate, challenge each other’s thinking and generate new ideas.
Cecil Rhodes expected his Trustees to adapt his plans to respond effectively to changing circumstances. Soon after his death his Trustees created several more Scholarships for Canada than he had done. The adaptation continued through three Acts of the British Parliament and other important changes to his will – for example, during World War I, abolishing the German Scholarships, which were twice re-created by his Trustees (in 1929-30 and 1969-70); in 1929, wholly remaking the geographic basis on which the Scholarships are awarded in the United States; opening up all but four of the Scholarships to women as well as to men in 1976; the opening up of those four remaining Scholarships (for named schools in South Africa) to women in recent years. During the first 100 years after Cecil Rhodes's death, the Trustees added at one time or another nearly another 40 Scholarships, though not all have continued.
In 2003 to mark the centenary of the Rhodes Scholarships and to continue the historic commitment of the Rhodes Trust to Africa and specifically to leadership development for Africa, the Rhodes Trust joined in the creation of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The Rhodes Trust is a forward-looking organisation. As Nelson Mandela said at the launch of that Foundation in 2003, there is “a chance to close the circle of history”. We do not shy away from history but use it to challenge the status quo.
There are many books and articles about the Rhodes Scholarships. Some of particular interest are:
- George Parkin, The Rhodes Scholarships (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1912)
- Frank Aydelotte, The vision of Cecil Rhodes (Oxford University Press, 1946; also published under the title The American Rhodes Scholarships: A review of the first forty years).
- Lord Elton (ed), The first fifty years of the Rhodes Trust and the Rhodes Scholarships 1903-1953 (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1955) - available here and here.
- R.I. Rotberg, The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power (Oxford University Press, New York, 1988).
- Sir Anthony Kenny (ed.), The History of the Rhodes Trust (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001).
- Philip Ziegler, Legacy: Cecil Rhodes, The Rhodes Trust and Rhodes Scholarships (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2008).
- Donald Markwell, To 'render war impossible': the Rhodes Scholarships, educational relations between countries, and peace PDF (0.17MB), speech at the 'Sailing Dinner' of the Canadian Association of Rhodes Scholars, Ottawa, 24 September 2011.