Ian Douglas Smith GCLM ID (8 April 1919 – 20 November 2007) served as the Prime Minister of the British self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia from 13 April 1964 to 11 November 1965. Smith unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965 and he served as the first Prime Minister of Rhodesia from that date to 1 June 1979 during white minority rule. The country failed to gain international recognition and United Nations economic sanctions were instituted.
The party he led, the Rhodesian Front, won all but two general elections until the end of white rule in 1979, a period in which few blacks were qualified to vote. The Smith administration fought against black nationalists in the 1971–1979 Rhodesian Bush War. He negotiated an Internal Settlement in 1979 after 14 years of maintaining white rule in the face of war, economic sanctions, and international pressure. The agreement led to biracial rule and a coalition government led by Prime Minister Abel Muzorewa of the UANC. The Lancaster House Agreement and the election of Robert Mugabe as Prime Minister of the newly renamed Zimbabwe in 1980 marked the beginning of majority rule. Smith remained a member of the Zimbabwe Parliament until 1987. Subsequently, he enjoyed a long and comfortable retirement in Zimbabwe before relocating to Cape Town, South Africa.
Ian Smith was born in Selukwe, now known as Shurugwi, a small mining and farming town located approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi) southwest of the capital Salisbury, now known as Harare. He was the family's youngest child, with two older sisters, Phyllis and Joan. His father, John Douglas Smith (also known as "Jock"), had emigrated from Hamilton, Scotland in 1898 in search of gold, but instead became a farmer, butcher, baker, garage owner and gold mine operator. His father married Agnes Hodson, who was from Cumbria in England, in 1911.