The Second Matabele War, also known as the Matabeleland Rebellion or part of what is now known in Zimbabwe as the First Chimurenga, was fought between 1896 and 1897 in the region later known as Southern Rhodesia, now modern-day Zimbabwe. It pitted the British South Africa Company against the Matabele people, which led to conflict with the Shona people in the rest of Southern Rhodesia.
In March 1896, the Matabele revolted against the authority of the British South Africa Company. The Mlimo the Matabele spiritual leader, was credited with fomenting much of the anger that led to this confrontation. He convinced the Matabele and the Shona that the settlers were responsible for the drought, locust plagues and the cattle disease rinderpest ravaging the country at the time.
The Mlimo's call to battle was well-timed. Only a few months earlier, the British South Africa Company's Administrator General for Matabeleland, Leander Starr Jameson, had sent most of his troops and armaments to fight the Transvaal Republic in the ill-fated Jameson Raid. This left the country nearly defenceless.