From her conquest by the British in the 1890s, up to 1923 when she became a Crown Colony, Zimbabwe was administered by the British South Africa Company, headed by the Resident Commissioner who was appointed by the company and was stationed at what is now Harare.
Under the Resident Commissioner were various District Commissioners, all of who were Europeans.
Under the District Commissioners were the African chiefs, who collected taxes, recruited labor and maintained law and order.
By 1901, the white settlers, whose population had grown larger, had a significant bearing on the constitutional and administrative developments in southern Rhodesia. E.g. the British South Africa Company demarcated separate reserves for Africans in both Mashonaland and Matebeleland apart from giving grants of up to 3000-hectare pieces of land to the pioneer settlers.
By 1920, the settlers had acquired power so immensely that they began considering themselves as the real owners of Southern Rhodesia.