Free State–Basotho Wars

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The Free State–Basotho Wars were a series of wars fought between Moshoeshoe I, the ruler of the Basotho kingdom and the Orange Free State of the Boers. These can be divided into the Senekal's War of 1858 and the Seqiti War, which included two conflicts, in 1865−1866 and 1867−1868, separated by a short armistice.[1] The wars resulted in the Free State acquiring large tracts of land from Basotho and Basotho eventually accepting annexation as a part of the British Empire and being placed under Crown protection.[2]

Senekal's War[edit]

Tensions first rose ove disputes odor land claims between the Basotho and the Free State and the conflict formally began in 1858 with a declaration of war from the Free State.[3] In the resulting battles the Free State tried storming Moshoeshoe's stronghold at Thaba Bosiu with no success while the Sotho conducted raids in Free State territories. When a peace treaty was signed on October 15, 1858, little had been settled.[4]

Seqiti War[edit]

War again broke out in 1865 and the Boers met with considerable success. After an unsuccessful appeal to aid from the British Empire, Moshoeshoe was forced to sue for peace in 1866 and the treaty of Thaba Bosiu was signed, with Basotho ceding large territories to the Free State.[5] However, the Basotho weren't satisfied with the terms of the treaty and conflict again arose in 1867. During this third war, the Free State stormed most of the Basotho strongholds, with Thaba Bosiu alone remaining impregnable.[6] When things looked bleak, Moshoeshoe again appealed for aid from the British, and eventually accepted annexation from the British Empire on March 12, 1868.[7][8] Basutoland was placed under British protection, ending the conflict. In the final treaty, Basotho had to again cede territories, but still retained enough land to remain a viable state.[4]


  1. ^ "About Lesotho". Government of Lesotho. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  2. ^ James S. Olson, Robert S. Shadle (ed.) (1996). Historical Dictionary of the British Empire. Greenwood Press. p. 118. ISBN 0-313-27917-9. 
  3. ^ Roger B. Beck (2000). The History of South Africa. Greenwood Press. p. 74. ISBN 0-313-30730-X. 
  4. ^ a b Beck 2000, p. 74
  5. ^ "Ladybrand History". Retrieved 2008-04-11. [dead link]
  6. ^ Willie Olivier, Sandra Olivier (2005). Touring in South Africa: The Great SA Road Trip Guide. Struik. p. 116. ISBN 1-77007-142-3. 
  7. ^ "Basotho in Lesotho". Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  8. ^ Olson, Shadle 1996, p. 118