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Location of the Nieuwe Republiek in Southern Africa (1884-1888)
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The Nieuwe Republiek ("New Republic") was a small Boer republic which existed from 1884 to 1888 in present-day South Africa. It was recognised only by the German Empire and the South African Republic. Its independence was proclaimed on August 16, 1884 with land donated by the Zulu Kingdom through a treaty. It covered 13,600 square kilometres (5,300 sq mi) and the capital was Vryheid or Vrijheid ("Freedom" in Afrikaans or Dutch, respectively), both being alternative names of the state. The founder and president until it requested incorporation by Transvaal on 20 July 1888 was Lucas Johannes Meijer, while Daniel Johannes Esselen acted as Secretary of State during the same period.
After Boer farmers, who lived in the area, helped Dinuzulu defeat his rival Zibhebhu for succession of the Zulu throne, land was given to them by way of session by the new Zulu king along the banks of the Mfolozi River. On August 5, 1884 the Boers formed the Nieuwe Republiek (New Republic) with recognition by Germany, ZAR and Portugal with Vryheid as its capital. The Nieuwe Republiek was finally recognized by the British on October 22, 1886 but within a few months the British annexed a stretch of the coastline of the Niewe Republic and the Zulu Kingdom north of the river Thukela river (1887) in order to prevent the new Boer republic from having access to the sea, which they needed for a harbor.
British annexation of the Zulu territory resulted in a revolt, led by Dinuzulu (June 1888), who was defeated by the British. King Dinuzulu was tried for high treason in Eshowe and sentenced. The annexation of Zululand did not leave much hope for security in the Nieuwe Republiek against British imperialism. On July 20, 1888 the New Republic was incorporated with the Transvaal on its own request, although enjoying considerable autonomy. The relations between the Boers and the Zulu remained stable until the outbreak of the Second Boer War (1899-1902).
In June 1900 the British forces entered Vryheid, the capital. AJ Shepstone, son of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the former secretary of native affairs in Natal, was sent to the area and worked together with the official British military intelligence J. Roberts to conspire with some Zulus against the Boers, and had victory achieved over the Boers in Schurweberg, near Vryheid. In March 1901 he declared martial law in the region. After the Second Boer War the territory was transferred to the British Colony of Natal (1903).
- "The New Republicans: A Centennial Reappraisal of the 'Nieuwe Republiek' (1884-1888)" (PDF).
- The original approved design of the New Republic flag taken from the South African Flag Book (2008) by A.P. Burgers