The Oxford Companion to British History

By John Cannon | Go to book overview


Zambia, previously known as Northern Rhodesia, is a republic within the Commonwealth and has a population of nearly 9 million. *Livingstone visited the Victoria Falls in 1855. The region subsequently came under the control of * Rhodes's British South Africa Company, until in 1924 it was made a British protectorate. It has zinc, lead, and coal, but the main mineral resource is copper. In 1953 it was joined with Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia to form the Central African Federation, but this was dissolved in 1963. It became independent in 1964 with Kenneth Kaunda as first president. The capital, Lusaka, has nearly 1 million people.


Zanzibar. Former British protectorate. Britain first became involved in Zanzibar in the 19th cent. because the island was one of the main depots for the export of east African slaves. A succession of able British consuls-general exerted an informal protectorate over the island, and the arrangement was regularized in 1890 when Britain became responsible for the administration of Zanzibar and the adjacent islands on the sultan's behalf. The slave trade was formally abolished in the sultan's dominions in 1897. The export of cloves succeeded the slave trade as the protectorate's main source of income. Zanzibar became independent in 1963 and joined with Tanganyika to form * Tanzania in 1964.


Zeppelin raids. The first air raid on Britain by German airships took place in January 1915. In theory the Zeppelin attacks were directed against naval and military targets. In reality, poor weather, limited night-time visibility, and frequent navigation errors meant that they dropped their bombs indiscriminately on civilian targets. In 51 raids the Zeppelins killed 556 people and injured 1,357. These attacks caused localized panic which interrupted industrial production but in the longer term failed to have an appreciable impact on Britain's war effort. By 1916 British defences were taking an increasing toll of the attackers. Of the 80 Zeppelins which the German navy built between 1912 and 1917, 23 were shot down or destroyed on the ground, and another 31 destroyed in accidents. By bringing home the reality of war to the civilian population, the Zeppelins only reinforced the already widespread British conviction that they were engaged in a struggle for good against evil.


Zimbabwe. See RHODESIA.

Zinoviev letter. Supposed to have brought down the first Labour government of 1924. It bore the signature of Grigori Zinoviev, president of the Communist International (Comintern) in Moscow, and was addressed to the * Communist Party of Great Britain, calling on it to sow subversion among the armed forces of the crown. There is a faint possibility that it was a forgery; and a stronger likelihood that it was deliberately 'leaked' by the British *secret services, who intercepted it, shortly before the October 1924 general election, in order to scare voters over to the Conservatives. Conservative central office and certain sympathetic newspapers were also in the plot.


Zoffany, Johann (c. 1733-1810). Painter of portraits, conversation pieces, and theatrical scenes, Zoffany was born in Germany and came to England about 1758 after studying in Italy. He began by painting clock faces and doing hack work, before turning to painting theatrical scenes, especially depicting David *Garrick. He was favoured by the royal family. George III nominated him for the Royal Academy in 1769 and recommended him to the duke of Tuscany. He worked in Italy from 1772 to 1779, later going to India where he made a fortune painting English colonials and Indian princes. He returned to England in 1789 but painted little after 1800. His work is of particular interest to historians for its great attention to detail.


zoos. The earliest zoos were miscellaneous private collections of animals for curiosity rather than scientific study. Monarchs occasionally offered strange beasts as gifts and courtesy necessitated that they should be cherished. Henry I had a menagerie at Woodstock which included lions, leopards, lynxes, camels, and a porcupine. From the 13th cent. onwards, lions were kept in the *Tower of London. They were joined by an elephant sent to Henry III in 1254 by Louis IX of France. As diplomatic contacts became more permanent, housing the gifts caused problems. The Russian ambassador presented Charles II with two pelicans, which went to the menagerie in St James's Park, the Moroccan ambassador gave two lions (sent to the Tower) and thirty ostriches (sent to the park). Private citizens made their own collections. Sir Sanders Duncombe, a physician, had a small zoo in the 17th cent., and * Pepys received from the consul at Algiers a lion cub, which he kept at Admiralty headquarters in Derby House. Animals were also exhibited for private gain. * Evelyn in 1684 gives a detailed description of the first rhinoceros to be seen in England, and a crocodile. The


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The Oxford Companion to British History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Ppreace vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Note to the Reader xii
  • A 1
  • B 71
  • C 149
  • D 273
  • E 318
  • F 363
  • G 399
  • H 445
  • I 503
  • J 523
  • K 541
  • L 553
  • M 602
  • N 666
  • O 701
  • P 717
  • Q 782
  • R 785
  • S 831
  • T 907
  • U 941
  • V 951
  • W 960
  • Y 1008
  • Z 1015
  • Subject Index 1034


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