South African Republic

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Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek
South African Republic
Official language Dutch
Capital 1857–1860 Potchefstroom
1860–1902 Pretoria
Seat of government Pretoria , for a short time Nelspruit
Head of state , also head of government 1857–1863 Marthinus Wessel Pretorius
1863–1864 Willem Cornelis Janse van Rensburg
1864–1871 Marthinus Wessel Pretorius
1871–1877 Thomas François Burgers
1877–1881 under British administration
1881–1883 Triumvirate ( Pretorius , Kruger and Joubert )
1883–1902 Paul Kruger
1902 Schalk Willem Burger (acting)
area 262,500 km²
currency Pond exchange rate parity
1 Pond = 1 pound sterling
independence June 27, 1857-31. May 1902
1877–1881 under British administration
National anthem Transvaalse folk song
Time zone UTC +2
Template: Infobox State / Maintenance / NAME-GERMAN

The South African Republic ( Dutch Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek or ZAR ), often also called the Transvaal Republic , was an independent state in southern Africa that existed during the second half of the 19th century. Around 1835 Boers immigrated to the area in the so-called Great Trek and founded the independent South African Republic. It is not to be confused with today's Republic of South Africa . The territory of the republic was later known as the South African Transvaal Province . The ZAR was independent from 1857 to 1877 and later again from 1881 to 1900 after a successful Boer uprising in the First Boer War . It was finally annexed by the United Kingdom in 1900 during the Second Boer War .

The parliament, the Volksraad , had 24 seats and met from May 1890 in the Ou Raadsaal in Pretoria.


The national flag of the South African Republic, called Vierkleur , consisted of three horizontal stripes in red, white and blue, which corresponds to the Dutch national flag. In addition, there was a vertical green stripe on the left edge. This flag also appears in the middle white stripe of the old national flag of the Republic of South Africa , which was valid from 1927 to 1994.


The area of ​​the South African Republic has been inhabited by the Venda and Sotho since around the 8th century . In 1817 tribes immigrated to this region, who were driven from their homeland by the Zulu king Shaka . The European settlers managed to colonize this area without much resistance.

Between 1830 and 1850 descendants of Dutch and other settlers, known as Boers (farmers) or Voortrekkers (pioneers), emigrated together from the British Cape Colony . This stream of refugees is known as the Great Trek . With their superior weapons and equipment, it was relatively easy for them to defeat and subdue the native fighters. During this time the first Boer republics of Winburg (1836) and Potchefstroom (1837) emerged in the Transvaal , which were outside British influence and had no central government. In 1844 the two countries united to form the Winburg-Potchefstroom Republic , which in 1848 became part of the Boer Republic of the Transvaal.

On January 17, 1852, the United Kingdom and about 5000 Boer families signed the Sand River Convention , which guaranteed the Boers independence in the areas north of the Vaal . The Orange Free State , another Boer republic, gained independence two years later in 1854. In 1856 the Boer Republic of the Transvaal adopted the name South African Republic and a new constitution came into force. In 1860 the capital was moved from Potchefstroom to Pretoria . In the same year the republics of Lydenburg and Utrecht also joined the South African Republic.

President Paul Kruger
Half a pound gold coin from 1896 with the coat of arms of the South African Republic

As a result, the republic faced considerable economic difficulties and the threat of the Zulu, whereupon the British annexed the area by Theophilus Shepstone on April 12, 1877 in the hope that this would be viewed by the Boers as salvation. The opposite was the case, which led to conflicts that ultimately culminated in the First Boer War . On December 16, 1880, the republic declared its independence again. With the Pretoria Convention in 1881, the Boers initially received self-government under British control (see also: suzerainty ). In 1884 the South African Republic largely regained its independence with the London Convention , although responsibility for foreign relations remained with Great Britain. On July 20, 1888, the Nieuwe Republiek and in 1891 the Boer Free State of Klein Vrystaat were incorporated into the South African Republic. At the end of the Second Boer War , however, the area of ​​the Nieuwe Republiek was integrated into the province of Natal .

When gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886, there was a wave of immigration of non-Boer European settlers ( called uitlanders , foreigners, by the Boers ), which led to a destabilization of the republic. In 1895, the governor of the Cape Colony, Cecil Rhodes, planned a coup by the Uitlanders against the Boer government. The so-called Jameson Raid failed, however. Fearing a British annexation, the Boers then attacked the British colonies, which resulted in the Second Boer War.

The Boer War was a turning point in the warfare of the British Army and the British Empire as well . Concentration camps were established here for the first time by the British . In May 1902 the last Boer troops surrendered, the South African Republic was finally dissolved and became part of the British Empire. In 1910, the Transvaal became a province of the newly formed South African Union , a British Dominion .


The state railway was the Nederlandsch-Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg Maatschappij (NZASM). NZASM obtained a large part of its locomotives from Germany , especially from the Esslingen machine factory .


  • Justus Scheibert : The Boers' struggle for freedom and the history of their country . A. Schröder, Berlin 1903 ( [PDF; 76.1 MB ]).
  • August Seidel: Transvaal, the South African Republic. Historically, geographically, politically, economically represented . General Association for German Literature, Berlin 1990 ( [PDF; 28.7 MB ]).
  • William Edward Garrett Fisher: The Transvaal and the Boers. A Short History of the South African Republic, with a Chapter On the Orange Free State . Chapman, London 1900 ( [PDF; 15.8 MB ]).
  • Neville Edwards: The Transvaal in war and peace . London, H. Virtue, London 1900 ( [PDF; 21.8 MB ]).
  • Howard Clemens Hillegas: Oom Paul's People. A Narrative of the British-Boer Troubles in South Africa, with a History of the Boers, the Country, and Its Institutions . Appleton, New York 1899 ( [PDF; 2.6 MB ]).
  • Friedrich Jeppe: The Transvaal or South African Republic. In: Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen. Supplementary volume No. 24, 1868, ISSN  0031-6229 ( PDF file; 25.5 MB ).
  • Heinrich von Lenk zu Burgheim and Gansheim: The History of the Transvaal. Reclam, Leipzig 1902
  • Volume 1. The history of the Transvaal from the founding of the state to the election of President Paul Krüger. Until the annexation by England in 1877/80.
  • Volume 2. From the founding of the state to the election of President Paul Krüger. The struggle for freedom 1880/81 and the free Transvaal up to the beginning of Kruger’s presidency in 1883.
  • Volume 3. Under the presidency of Paul Kruger until the outbreak of the great war 1884-1899. Along with a short history of the Orange Free State 1854-1899.
  • Wilhelm Vallentin: The History of the South African Republic. Transvaal. Walther, Berlin 1901
  • Volume 1. Transvaal, the country and its indigenous people.
  • Volume 2. The Boers and their history.
  • Volume 3. Cultural and Economic History of the Transvaal. The political entanglements of the last few years.
  • John Nixon: The Complete Story of the Transvaal. From the Great Trek to the Convention of London. S. Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London 1885 ( PDF file; 23.9 MB ).
  • George McCall Theal : History of the Emigrant Boers in South Africa. The Wanderings and Wars of the Emigrant Farmers from Their Leaving the Cape Colony to the Acknowledgment of Their Independence by Great Britain. Swan Sunshine, London 1888 ( PDF file; 26.5 MB ).
  • George McCall Theal : History of South Africa . Swan Sunshine, London
  • Volume 4. The Republics and Native Territories from 1854 to 1872. 1900. Archive version
  • Volume 5. From 1873 to 1884. Twelve Eventful Years, with Continuation of the History of Galekaland, Tembuland, Pondoland, and Bethshuanaland until the Annexation of those Territories to the Cape Colony, and of Zululand until its Annexation to Natal . 1919. Volume 1 ( PDF file; 19.3 MB ), Volume 2 ( PDF file; 15.4 MB ).
  • Percy Fitzpatrick : The Transvaal from Within. A Private Record of Public Affairs. Heinemann, London 1900 ( PDF file; 22.3 MB ).
  • Francis William Reitz : A Century of Injustice. A look back at South African politics in England . Hermann Walther Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Berlin 1901.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ TA Du Plessis: Die Republiek Lydenburg, 1856-1860. University of South Africa, Pretoria 2000.
  2. ^ Paul Hoser: The Krügerdepesche (1896) . In: Jürgen Zimmerer (Ed.): No place in the sun. Places of remembrance of German colonial history . Frankfurt 2013, ISBN 978-3-593-39811-2 , pp. 150-163 (150).
  3. ^ The new republicans: a centennial reappraisal of the 'Nieuwe Republiek' (1884–1888) (English; PDF), accessed on December 30, 2015
  4. ^ Hagemann, Albrecht: Brief history of South Africa . Orig. Edition edition. Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-45949-8 .