Friday, September 28, 2012

This Day in History: Sep 28, 1843: Britain proclaims Natal a British colonial territory

Natal was proclaimed a British Colony in 1843, and administered from the Cape Colony in 1844. However, it was not until the end of 1845 that an effective administration was installed with Mr Martin West as lieutenant-governor that the power of the volksraad finally came to an end. In the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 the British defeated the Zulu army, and Zululand was annexed to Natal in 1897.

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In April 1842 Lord Stanley (afterwards 14th earl of Derby), then secretary for the colonies in the second Peel Administration, wrote to Sir George Napier that the establishment of a colony in Natal would be attended with little prospect of advantage, but at the same time stated that the pretensions of the emigrants to be regarded as an independent community could not be admitted. Various measures were proposed which would but have aggravated the situation. Finally, in deference to the strongly urged views of Sir George Napier, Lord Stanley, in a despatch of 13 December, received in Cape Town on 23 April 1843, consented to Natal becoming a British colony. The institutions adopted were to be as far as possible in accordance with the wishes of the people, but it was a fundamental condition "that there should not be in the eye of the law any distinction or disqualification whatever, founded on mere difference of colour, origin, language or creed." Sir George then appointed Mr Henry Cloete (a brother of Colonel Cloete) a special commissioner to explain to the Natal volksraad the decision of the government.

There was a considerable party of Natal Boers still strongly opposed to the British, and they were reinforced by numerous bands of Boers who came over the Drakensberg from Winburg and Potchefstroom.

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Commandant Jan Mocke of Winburg (who had helped to besiege Captain Smith at Durban) and others of the "war party" attempted to induce the volksraad not to submit, and a plan was formed to murder Pretorius, Boshof and other leaders, who were now convinced that the only chance of ending the state of complete anarchy into which the country had fallen was by accepting British sovereignty. In these circumstances the task of Mr Henry Cloete was one of great difficulty and delicacy. He behaved with the utmost tact and got rid of the Winburg and Potchefstroom burghers by declaring that he should recommend the Drakensberg as the northern limit of Natal. On 8 August 1843 the Natal volksraad unanimously agreed to the terms proposed by Lord Stanley. Many of the Boers who would not acknowledge British rule trekked once more over the mountains into what are now the Orange Free State and Transvaal provinces. At the end of 1843 there were not more than 500 Dutch families left in Natal.

Cloete, before returning to the Cape, visited Mpande and obtained from him a valuable concession. Hitherto the Tugela from source to mouth had been the recognized frontier between Natal and Zululand. Mpande gave up to Natal all the territory between the Buffalo and Tugela rivers, now forming Klip River county.

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Taken from: [28.09.2012]

This Day in History: Sep 28, 1066: William the Conqueror invades England

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Claiming his right to the English throne, William, duke of Normandy, invades England at Pevensey on Britain's southeast coast. His subsequent defeat of King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings marked the beginning of a new era in British history.

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William was the illegitimate son of Robert I, duke of Normandy, by his concubine Arlette, a tanner's daughter from the town of Falaise. The duke, who had no other sons, designated William his heir, and with his death in 1035 William became duke of Normandy at age seven. Rebellions were epidemic during the early years of his reign, and on several occasions the young duke narrowly escaped death. Many of his advisers did not. By the time he was 20, William had become an able ruler and was backed by King Henry I of France. Henry later turned against him, but William survived the opposition and in 1063 expanded the borders of his duchy into the region of Maine.

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In 1051, William is believed to have visited England and met with his cousin Edward the Confessor, the childless English king. According to Norman historians, Edward promised to make William his heir. On his deathbed, however, Edward granted the kingdom to Harold Godwine, head of the leading noble family in England and more powerful than the king himself.

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In January 1066, King Edward died, and Harold Godwine was proclaimed King Harold II. William immediately disputed his claim. In addition, King Harald III Hardraade of Norway had designs on England, as did Tostig, brother of Harold. King Harold rallied his forces for an expected invasion by William, but Tostig launched a series of raids instead, forcing the king to leave the English Channel unprotected. In September, Tostig joined forces with King Harald III and invaded England from Scotland. On September 25, Harold met them at Stamford Bridge and defeated and killed them both. Three days later, William landed in England at Pevensey.

With approximately 7,000 troops and cavalry, William seized Pevensey and marched to Hastings, where he paused to organize his forces. On October 13, Harold arrived near Hastings with his army, and the next day William led his forces out to give battle. At the end of a bloody, all-day battle, King Harold II was killed--shot in the eye with an arrow, according to legend--and his forces were defeated.

William then marched on London and received the city's submission. On Christmas Day, 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned the first Norman king of England, in Westminster Abbey, and the Anglo-Saxon phase of English history came to an end. French became the language of the king's court and gradually blended with the Anglo-Saxon tongue to give birth to modern English. William I proved an effective king of England, and the "Domesday Book," a great census of the lands and people of England, was among his notable achievements. Upon the death of William I in 1087, his son, William Rufus, became William II, the second Norman king of England.

taken from: [28.09.2012]

This Day in History: Sep 28, 1988: A cult leader kills one of his followers

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Roch Theriault fatally wounds Solange Boislard in Ontario, Canada. Theriault, the leader of the most bizarre and violent cult in Canadian history, often physically abused his followers. Obsessed with anatomy and medicine, Theriault performed crude intestinal surgery on Boislard by slicing open her abdomen and ripping out a piece of intestine with his bare hands. He then ordered another follower to stitch up the wound with a needle and thread. When she died the next day in agonizing pain, he sawed off the top of her head, and then sexually assaulted her. Before burying the woman, he removed a rib, which he wore around his neck.
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Theriault was arrested and charged with murder the following year after another cult member, whose arm had been hacked off by Theriault with a meat cleaver, told hospital authorities what had happened. At his trial in 1993, even more horrific tales came to light. The cult leader had burned women with a welding torch, put vice-grips on their nipples, and cut their fingers off with a wire cutter. The alcoholic and delusional Theriault apparently thought he was driving the devil out of them.

Theriault also demanded sex from all of the women members in an attempt to increase the number of cult members through children. After a new member of the cult, an escapee from a mental hospital, beat a child at the compound, Theriault performed "surgery" on the child. When the child then died, Theriault castrated the man as punishment. After authorities learned about some of the activities at the ranch, they removed all of the children.
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The 1993 trial came to an abrupt end when Theriault pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison and remains incarcerated.

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Taken from: [28.09.2012}

Thursday, September 27, 2012

This Day in History: Sep 27, 1862: Gen. Louis Botha, soldier, statesman and first prime minister of the Union of South Africa, is born.
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Louis Botha (27 September 1862 – 27 August 1919) was an Afrikaner and first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa—the forerunner of the modern South African state. A Boer war hero during the Second Boer War he would eventually fight to have South Africa become a British Dominion.

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He was born in Greytown (now in KwaZulu-Natal) as one of 13 children born to Louis Botha Senior (26 March 1827 – 5 July 1883) and Salomina Adriana van Rooyen (31 March 1829 – 9 January 1886). He briefly attended the school at Hermannsburg before his family relocated to the Orange Free State.

Gen L Botha


Botha led "Dinuzulu's Volunteers", a group of Boers that supported Dinuzulu against Zibhebhu in 1884. He later became a member of the parliament of Transvaal in 1897, representing the district of Vryheid.


In 1899, Botha fought in the Second Boer War, initially under Lucas Meyer in Northern Natal, and later as a general commanding and fighting with impressive capability at Colenso and Spioen kop. On the death of P. J. Joubert, he was made commander-in-chief of the Transvaal Boers, where he demonstrated his abilities again at Belfast-Dalmanutha. After the battle at the Tugela Botha granted a twenty-four hour armistice to General Buller to enable him to bury his dead.[2]

Winston Churchill revealed[3] that General Botha was the man who captured him at the ambush of a British armoured train on 15 November 1899. Churchill was not aware of the man's identity until 1902, when Botha travelled to London seeking loans to assist his country's reconstruction, and the two met at a private luncheon. The incident is also mentioned in Arthur Conan Doyle's book, The Great Boer War, published in 1902.

After the fall of Pretoria in March 1900, Botha led a concentrated guerrilla campaign against the British together with Koos de la Rey and Christiaan de Wet. The success of his measures was seen in the steady resistance offered by the Boers to the very close of the three-year war.

Botha was a representative of his countrymen in the peace negotiations of 1902, and was signatory to the Treaty of Vereeniging. After the grant of self-government to the Transvaal in 1907, General Botha was called upon by Lord Selborne to form a government, and in the spring of the same year he took part in the conference of colonial premiers held in London. During his visit to England on this occasion General Botha declared the whole-hearted adhesion of the Transvaal to the British Empire, and his intention to work for the welfare of the country regardless of (intra-white) racial differences (in this era referring to Boers/Afrikaners as a separate race to British South Africans).

He later worked towards peace with the British, representing the Boers at the peace negotiations in 1902. In the period of reconstruction under British rule, Botha went to Europe with de Wet and de la Rey to raise funds to enable the Boers to resume their former avocations.[4] Botha, who was still looked upon as the leader of the Boer people, took a prominent part in politics, advocating always measures which he considered as tending to the maintenance of peace and good order and the re-establishment of prosperity in the Transvaal. His war record made him prominent in the politics of Transvaal and he was a major player in the postwar reconstruction of that country, becoming Prime Minister of Transvaal on 4 March 1907. In 1911, together with another Boer war hero, Jan Smuts, he formed the South African Party, or SAP. Widely viewed as too conciliatory with Britain, Botha faced revolts from within his own party and opposition from James Barry Munnik Hertzog's National Party. When South Africa obtained dominion status in 1910, Botha became the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa. 

After the First World War started, he sent troops to take German South West Africa, a move unpopular among Boers, which provoked the Boer Revolt.

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At the end of the War he briefly led a British Empire military mission to Poland during the Polish-Soviet War. He argued that the terms of the Versailles Treaty were too harsh on the Central Powers, but signed the treaty. Botha was unwell for most of 1919. He was plagued by fatigue and ill-health that arose from his robust waist-line.[5] That he was fat is certain as related in the marvellous account of Lady Mildred Buxton asking General Van Deventer if he was bigger than Botha, to which Van Deventer replied: “I am longer, he is thicker.”[6] (In Afrikaans thicker literally means fatter.)

File:Botha and Smuts in uniforms, 1917.jpg

General Louis Botha died of heart failure on 27 August 1919 in the early hours of the morning. His wife Annie was at home and was joined by Engelenburg who had acted as a private secretary to Botha.[7] Botha was laid to rest in Heroes Acre Pretoria.

general louis botha

Of Botha, Winston Churchill wrote in Great Contemporaries, "The three most famous generals I have known in my life won no great battles over a foreign foe. Yet their names, which all begin with a 'B", are household words. They are General Booth, General Botha and General Baden-Powell..."[8]

Sculptor Raffaello Romanelli created the equestrian statue of Botha that stands outside Parliament in Cape Town in South Africa.!/image/286832000.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_600/286832000.jpg

  2. Boer War to Easter Rising - The Writings of John MacBride, Jordan Anthony J., p. 43, Westport Books 2006, ISBN 978-0-9524447-6-3
  3. Winston Churchill, My Early Life, p. 250, Eland Publishing Ltd (2000 ed.)
  4. "Boer Leaders Coming Here: Botha and De la Rey to Visit America" (PDF). The New York Times: pp. 3. 30 July 1902
  5. Dr. F.V. Engelenburg, ‘’Genl Louis Botha’’, J.L. Van Schaik BPK, Pretoria, 1928, pp. 350 – 353.
  6. Johannes Meintjes, ‘’General Louis Botha A Biography’’, Cassel, London, 1970, p. 292.
  7. Dr. F.V. Engelenburg, ‘’Genl Louis Botha’’, J.L. Van Schaik BPK, Pretoria, 1928, p. 355; Johannes Meintjes, ‘’General Louis Botha A Biography’’, Cassel, London, 1970, p. 302.
  8. Winston Churchill, (1937), Great Contemporaries, Odhams, London, 1948, p.287.
Taken From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia