Basutoland

Ref: K3859
  • £750.00

1880 Gun War cover to Cape Town, endorsed ‘On Active Service, From L. Corporal G.G. Mann, D.E.O.V.R.’ (Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Volunteer Rifles) The cover has been endorsed at the lower left by( 2nd Lieutenant) W. A. Currey. An indistinct Aliwal North cancel along with a Cape Town NO 13 80 arrival c.d.s. are on the back of the cover. In the late 1870s the Cape authorities attempt to consolidate power over the region and enforce its laws. Basutoland, an independent state as recently as 1868, chafed under the new restrictions and attempts to reduce the authority of its chiefs. The Cape government set April 1880 as the date for surrendering weapons. Although some Basotho, with great reluctance, were willing to surrender their guns, the majority refused; government attempts to enforce the law brought fighting by September. Within months, most Basotho chiefs were in open rebellion. Colonial Cape forces sent to put down the rebellion suffered heavy casualties, as the Basotho had obtained serviceable firearms from the Orange Free State. A peace treaty was signed with Basotho chiefs in 1881, in which colonial authorities conceded most of the points in dispute. The land remained in Basotho hands and the nation enjoyed unrestricted access to firearms in exchange for a national one-time indemnity of 5000 cattle. A fine cover from this War, Ex Gerald Sattin.