Lobengula lō˝bĕng-go͞o´lə [key], c.1833–94, king of Matabeleland (now in Zimbabwe). After succeeding his father (1870), he tried to turn aside the approaches of European colonizers. In 1888, however, under pressure from Cecil Rhodes , he ceded his mineral rights in exchange for small payment, and Rhodes used those concessions to form the British South Africa Company (1889). When British gold miners began appearing, Lobengula rallied his people and in 1893 attacked the British. The results were disastrous for the Ndebele (Matabele); Lobengula died while fleeing north.
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