Wild News - Voice Of The Garden Route, Garden Route - South Africa. Contact us for news, editorial and advertising. t: +27(0)448821046 Always include alternate text for search engines and sight impaired visitors to your site
Wild News - Voice Of The Garden Route, South Africa.
News | Details
 Wilderness | Stamp Corner : 

Jacques Pratt

CONTACT DETAILS
Jacques 
Wild News

Cell:+27 (0) 844463422
Tel: +27 (0) 844463422

Email Enquiry:
media@wildnews.co.za

BRITISH BECHUANALAND

Bechuanaland, the country that attained its independence as the Republic of Botswana in 1966, was referred to by Cecil John Rhodes in 1883 as “The Suez Canal of this country, the key of its road to the interior”.

Rhodes, who was in fact for a brief period the Deputy Commissioner for Bechuanaland, recognised the strategic importance of the country being bounded as it was on the west by German South West Africa and on the east by President Kruger’s Transvaal Republic while to the south the Cape Colony was eager to extend its borders. The presence of two self-styled independent provinces in the Northern Cape, Goshen and Stellaland of which, incidentally, the latter went so far as to produce its own postage stamps, served to complicate relationships. Although British Sovereignty over the territory had been proclaimed in the name of Queen Victoria in 1884, a military expedition under General Sir Charles Warren was despatched in the following year “to remove the filibusters, to pacificate the country, to reinstate the natives in their land, to take such measures as are necessary to prevent further depredations and, finally, to hold the country until its further destiny is known”. Thus it was that in September, 1885, the vast expanse to the north of the Malopo River became the Protectorate of Bechuanaland while the area to the south, including Stellaland and Goshen, was constituted as the Crown Colony of British Bechuanaland. This state of affairs persisted until November 1895 when the Colony was annexed by the then independent Cape of Good Hope.

Regular postage stamps of the Cape of Good Hope in values from a halfpenny (½d) to one shilling (1/-) and with a suitable overprint were put on sale in the Colony in December 1885 and in November 1887 they were supplemented by the current ½d vermillion Queen Victoria definitive stamp of Great Britain, again with the overprint reading “British Bechuanaland”. Also at that time stamps were issued in values from 1d up to £5 in a design that had been produced originally for British fiscal stamps but with the added inscription of “British Bechuanaland Postage & Revenue”.

Pre-stamped post cards had been introduced in Great Britain in 1870 and a quantity of the penny red card of 1892 were also overprinted for the Colony. The pre-printed 1d stamp on the card shown here was exceptional in that it incorporated a full-length portrait of the Queen rather than her head in profile as it had appeared on the iconic “Penny Black” of 1840 (see “Stamp Corner” in the Wild News #234 of 5 April 2013) and all other British stamps of the 19th Century. The imprint of the stamp was surcharged with the wording “Three Half Pence”, i.e. 1½d, to suit the local rate for post cards that had been introduced in 1891. Although after 1895 no more stamps were printed in the name of British Bechuanaland, those that were already in circulation remained valid until 1897 as witness the card illustrated. In this case a copy of the ½d vermillion was added to cover delivery beyond the country’s borders. It was posted from the border village of Ramoutsa on the 14th of February 1897 and was addressed to Hermannsburg near Greytown in Natal. The village of Hermannsburg had been established in 1854 as a German Lutheran Mission Station. It was also the site of a boy’s school that could number amongst its alumni no less a personage than General Louis Botha, the son of a German Voortrekker and a man who was destined to become, in 1907, the first Prime Minister both of the Transvaal and, three years later, of the Union of South Africa.

British Bechuanaland, a postscript.

Since submitting to the editor of the Wild News my article on the postcard of 1895 from British Bechuanaland, I have been able to glean a little more information relating to the message thereon and about the destination of the postcard. The wording on the card does not convey earth-shattering news but merely translates as “Dear Director, The drought hits again. The people here are worried that the gardens won’t thrive again. How horrible, hunger impending once again. Yours faithfully G Behrens”. I also learnt, however, that the German missionaries, thwarted in an attempt to reach Ethiopia and denied permission by Mpande, King of the Zulus, to create a mission station in Zululand itself, bought the farm of Perseverance near Greytown and thereon they established the settlement of Hermannsburg.

The George Philatelic Society meets the second Thursday of month. 19h00. Presbyterian Church hall, Caledon St. Visitors and potential members always welcome. 044 871 5250


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Available on Request
 
Recent Listing

Recent News
Stamp Corner
Stamp corner - “Guyana”

Recent Listing

Recent News
Stamp Corner
STAMP CORNER - VIRGIN ISLANDS

Recent Listing

Recent News
Stamp Corner
STAMP CORNER - YUKON AIRWAYS

Recent Listing

Recent News
Stamp Corner
BRITISH BECHUANALAND