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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

British Bechuanaland and the Bechuana Protectorate

British Bechuanaland and the Bechuana Protectorate.

Bechuanaland, the central part of South Africa situate north of Capo Colony and west of the South African Republic to the 20th meridian of east longitude, is best known in England from the work of Robert Moffat, the missionary, and the Warren Expedition of 1884. The Bechuanas are a mild, tractable, peaceable people bearing a variety of tribal names.

Moffat worked for nearly fifty years among the Bechuanas in the most devoted way, reducing their language to writing, translating the Bible into their tongue, and teaching them in various ways how to utilise the agricultural resources of the country. Dr. Livingstone, the pioneer of those explorations which have done so much to open Africa and connect the English name with this great work, laboured among them, Khama, the most enlightened of African chiefs, of page 63 whom some further account is given elsewhere, was trained by missionaries, of whom it must be mentioned that Mr. Hepburn for twenty-five years has been his guide, philosopher, and friend.

In 1871 the Bloemhoff arbitration and the Keate award, repudiated by the South African Republic, contained the first germs of the various troubles which for so long disturbed the country. Some native chiefs who had been included in the Republic were excluded, and a status given to certain chiefs outside the Republic whose claims were disputed by others. After the retrocession in October 1881 a new boundary was laid down; but this did not satisfy the Republic and its native allies. The result was that, on the close of the Transvaal War in 1881, hostilities broke out between the rival parties; and the territory being regarded as independent, many whites joined the contending chiefs as freebooters, and attempted to set up minor republics in these territories.