Talk:Transvaal Colony

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This article uses South African English dialect and spelling.
According to the relevant style guide, this should not be changed.

Article opening paragraph[edit]

Dodger67 - Nice edit :) Resolved the factual problems in one go :) Zarpboer (talk) 12:59, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

The focus of this page[edit]

I'm worried about the (lost) focus of this page, and in particular its first paragraph. Is this an article about the Transvaal "area" (whatever this means), the South African Republic, the Transvaal Colony, the Transvaal Province, or what?

The page says Transvaal Colony? It is a simple fact that The Transvaal colony existed between 1902 and 1910 - and this page surely reflects that? Zarpboer (talk) 12:27, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Okay, the description of the page: Transvaal Colony - Now states the facts about the Transvaal colony. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the facts... So, I think we need to add more citations and references, there are so very many books on this topic... I have added Eybers, so that we can start with the fact the name Transvaal is a Cape Afrikaner and British name, so that the confusion with ZAR (which was a country by itself) is cleared up :) Zarpboer (talk) 12:54, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Earlier in the life of this article, it was clear that this article was about the Transvaal Province, with this province's history (including the SAR) outlined in the "History". Seperate articles, like South African Republic and Gauteng were about the previous and later reorganizations of this area, but this article focused on one period (1910-1994). We have now lost this focus, and it is no longer clear what belongs in this article and what belongs in the other articles...

Nyh (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 16:15, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I suggest this article is properly rewritten to describe the Transvaal Province (1910-1994) with proper references to other articles about the Transvaal region both in terms of political entities and geographical area. Important is to make a lay-out of the different articles, their content and focus and the way in which they are linked. This can prevent further confusion as with the recent changes in the infobox. Michel Doortmont (talk) 20:35, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I came back to this article 4 years later, and it's unfortunately even more a mess then it was before :( The focus of this article is now claimed to be about the "Transvaal Colony", and there's a new and separate and much shorter article on "Transvaal Province". But this makes little sense to me: First of all, "Transvaal Province" deserves more attention than "Transvaal Colony", both because it existed for more years (84 years vs 8 years), and because it is the most recent entity called "Transvaal" so most people remember it. So this, better, article should be about the province, not the colony. Second, we need an article about the Transvaal history as a whole - the situation before the Boer trek, to the ZAR, the transvaal colony, province, and finally its split. This history belongs in "Transvaal Province" (for the colony, the last things are its future, not history ;-)). Nyh (talk) 11:58, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

To add insult to injury, much of the content currently in Transvaal Colony is NOT related to the colony. The geography section is about the province (and gives names relevant to that era), and so is the "popular culture" section. I'm being bold and copying these things to the province article, but I'm NOT cleaning up this article at the moment.

Old comments[edit]

  • Wait Troy, I'm confused... how is it independent and a province? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tarquin (talkcontribs) 11:31, 18 January 2003 (UTC)
  • TODO: I want to add a paragraph about the pre-1850 history for the Transvaal. The old "Transvaal Province" included this paragraph which needs to be fact-checked:
    "Originally, the Sotha and Venda peoples settled there in what is believed to be the eighth century. In the 1830s, Boers departed on the Great Trek to escape British rule in the Cape Colony and settled in the Transvaal area.".
    Also perhaps link and talk about Voortrekkers and the Zulus which they fought (see Boer article). Nyh 07:48, 12 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Uhm, there existed not Transvaal province prior to 1850... so your TODO is to write a Novel :) Zarpboer (talk) 12:34, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Why is this page unreachable directly? I can only get here via a redirect from Transvaal Province. Otherwise I get a blank. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:44, 5 February 2004 (UTC)
    this must have been some sort of transient problem, I can now get to "transvaal" with no problems.Nyh 13:45, 6 February 2004 (UTC)

On the settlers' ethnicity[edit]

Hi. A simple phrase like "Dutch settlers, known as Boers ..." was replaced by someone by an amazingly verbose, convolute and impossible to understand string of nationalities:

In the 1830s and the 1840s, descendents of Dutch settlers / French Huguenot refugees / German Prostestants / & smaller numbers of Belgians / Scandinavians / Scots / including an admixture of Indian, Khoi-Khoi & Malay, known as Boers (farmers) or Voortrekkers (pioneers), exited the British Cape Colony, in what was to be called the Great Trek.

I don't think that this can stay. How about saying "decscendents of Dutch and other settlers, known as Boers..."? This long detailed list should be listed in Boers, and whoever wants to see it can go there. Alternatively, you can write an entire paragraph about the ethnic composition of the Boers. But it simply cannot be one big slash-separated adjective - that looks horrible.

Nyh 14:44, 6 May 2004 (UTC)


Hi Nyh, The links you restored are going to the wrong places. In the Geograpy heading it talks about the Transvaal province not republic or anything else.

Natal links to a disambig page while KwaZulu-Natal Province goes to the province itself. If you use Natal Province or Natal Colony they are redirected to KwaZulu-Natal.

Orange Free State links to the Orange Free State Republic and not the province where Free State Province is the province itself.

Need more clarity in where links must go to. --Jcw69 09:31, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

But, according to what I understand, Orange Free State is also the name of the 1910-1994 province of South Africa. Free State Province is the name of the post-1994 province, and is irrelevant because Transvaal is a pre-1994 province. Or am I misunderstanding something (I have to admit I am not a south african, just a fan)?? Also, Natal has the beginning of a description of the 1910-1994 Natal province. True, the description is one paragraph, and it acts as a disambiguation page, but still it is the only page on Wikipedia which describes the correct entity, namely the 1910-1994 province of South Africa. KwaZulu-Natal is the wrong entity - it is a post-1994 province that never coexisted with Transvaal so a link to it doesn't belong in the Transvaal entry.
But if I'm wrong, please help me understand why.
Nyh 12:01, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
In many situations (such as cities with different names in Roman times), we redirect to from the ancient name to modern, so the city's history is a continuous narrative. This works because the location is the same, the population is continuous usually, etc. For states and provinces with fluctuating borders and definitions, it works better to have multiple articles, and for each article to describe relationships both to modern units and to contemporaneous ones - consider articles like Gaul and Lusitania for instance. Stan 13:16, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I agree with both of you. Maybe we should have seperate pages. Eg Pre-Whites, Natal Colony, Natal and KwaZulu-Natal. But in which one do we place the early history before whites arrived in South Africa and named the provinces. As for Transvaal there is Pre-Whites, Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, Transvaal, (now divided up into smaller pieces).
So which way to go? --Jcw69 10:44, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I still don't understand the question. Please read the current page (I wrote most of it), and there is no question on what it discusses: the Transvaal Province of South Africa, the one that existed in 1910-1994. Like any page about a country or province, it begins its history section by mentioning how the region become a province, but the first paragraph makes it clear the focus of the article is the province, and not the Boor state or anything that preceded it - or the current (post-1994) provinces. So, in the Geography section, we must mention entities that existed at the time. Some of them had their name changed in the middle (which is why I mentioned both), but some names are clearly anachronistic and shouldn't be used - "KwaZulu-Natal" is an entity that never existed together with the Transvaal province, so it should not be mentioned (except perhaps as some sort of clarification, perhaps something like "... Natal (today's KwaZulu-Natal)."). Similarly, as I understand (and I didn't hear that disputed).

Consider for example the article on the Maya civilization. It makes sense to mention they lived in areas which noadays are in Mexico. But it does not make sense to say something like "The Maya empire bordered on the United States on the north". Since the United States did not exist at the time, it's an anachronism and it doesn't make any sense. I claim that it's just as strange to say that Transvaal bordered on KwaZulu-Natal - these entities never co-existed.

Nyh 10:57, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Early history of an area usually starts from either general history of a country (History of South Africa) or continent (History of Africa). If there's a general principle, it's to use contemporary political and geographical divisions as starting points for history, with articles on historical divisions as specialized items restricting themselves to the period of their existence. It's not universally followed, but seems clear enough to use for decisionmaking about content. Stan 16:12, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Transvaal (The Hague)[edit]

There is also a 'wijk' in The Hague called Transvaal —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:32, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

This is interesting. I'm presuming that 'wijk' is the same as Afrikaans 'wyk' meaning something like 'district'. Booshank 20:13, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
I added a mention at the top of the article. - Regards, Ev 01:03, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism or misguided additions - removed[edit]

Anonymous user has changed the infobox beyond recognition and fiddled with dates etc. This is either vandalism or a completely misguided change. I undid the change. Michel Doortmont (talk) 20:22, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

colony vs. province[edit]

Some clarification/agreement is needed as to what this article is about. Someone has added 1994 as the disestablishment again (e.g. the dissolution of Transvaal Province); the result is that this article now states two years as disestablishment (see categories). That is at best confusing and at worst doesn't make sense. Either we need to clarify that this article is about both the Colony and the Province, or we need to spin out an article Transvaal (Province). Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 18:01, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

It is (or should be) about both. The problem is that we have never said about the 1910-1994 province apart from "In 1910, the Boer republics joined with the Cape Colony to form the Union of South Africa. Half a century later, in 1961, the union ceased to be part of the Commonwealth of Nations and became the Republic of South Africa. The PWV (Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging) area in the Transvaal became South Africa's economic powerhouse, a position it still holds today." What is needed is something more about these 84 years. Only then is it worth discussing where such information should be put.--Rumping (talk) 10:39, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to split[edit]

In the hatnote this article is described as covering the 1902-1910 British Colony but most of the actual content of the article lies outside of that period. There is no other article covering the 1910 - 1994 province. If this article really should be restricted to the Colony only then its name should not be the single word "Transvaal", it should rather be "Transvaal Colony" or "Colony of Transvaal" (use the official form, whatever it was). The single word title would be understood by most readers who have any knowlege of the place (such as basically all South Africans older than 20) to refer to the 1910 - 1994 Province. It is simply "unbalanced" that the article about the least significant period (a mere 8 years) of the territory's entire history should appropriate the single word name "Transvaal" that in fact was the official name of the province. The pre-1902 Republic's name was "Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek" in Dutch or "South African Republic" in English. Not to be confused with the 1961 - present "Republic of South Africa". I feel very strongly that all four 1910 - 1994 provinces should each have a proper separate article without confusing the issue with other periods.

Therefor I Propose that this article be split into two separate articles: Transvaal Colony for the period 1902 - 1910 and Transvaal for the 1910 - 1994 province. Roger (talk) 12:33, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

There really is not enough for 1902-1910 or 1910-1994 to be worth splitting.--Rumping (talk) 23:40, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
If the split is done the individual articles could easily be expanded. There is a truly massive ammount of material avalailable on the Province but I for one am not willing to add it to this mess of an article as it is now precisely because its scope is poorly defined and confused. A further consideration is that there is no article about the province on en.WP at all while the other 3 1910-1994 provinces do have substantial articles. Roger (talk) 11:25, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
I strongly concur that there are several potential articles, a good structure may be a page for Colony of Transvaal; which would cover all three incarnations of pre-union British rule in separate sections. Then a Transvaal Province article which covers the 1910-1994 province, and a Transvaal article which covers the geographic region. Aricci526 17:00, 20 March 2010 (UTC)


The links to other languages are almost all incorrect. They link to articles about the Transvaal in the generic territorial or provincial sense and not to pages specifically about the Colony. I don't know if there is a specific procedure for fixing this problem. Roger (talk) 12:01, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

this is often done when the precise article does not exist; people pick "the next best thing". If any of the other wikipedias has an article specifically about the British colony (I suspect there won't be too many, then just link to there. Meanwhile, I'll just remove them all; it's seems they all link back the generic one in most cases. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:38, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Looks like only Polish is a match. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:41, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Anachronistic content[edit]

I have just (quite ruthlessly) stripped out content that was irrelevant to the period covered by this article. If it didn't happen or exist between the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902 and the establishment of the Union of South Africa exactly eight years later on 31 May 1910, it does not belong here. Roger (talk) 14:11, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

I have added a citation to where the name Transvaal came from... The Cape Afrikaners and the British called it that, see Eybers citation with the actual signed 1881 and 1884 documents by Roberts et al. 12:34, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

I have also change the sentence order, like other editors above I have serious issues with all the fiction, non facts and unrelated facts that are all over this article. It is an article about the Transvaal Colony after all... Please discuss my edits before just undoing them? I also make mistakes but I am fact checking everything I am changing in multiple sources..., thank you :) Zarpboer (talk) 12:34, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi Zarpboer - I have edited the lead section to properly comply with the Manual of style. Explaining the meaning of the word "Transvaal" does not belong in the lead - if it even belongs in this article at all it should be somewhere in the main body, not the lead. There is a disambiguation page at Transvaal which briefly mentions the etymology - perhaps the information you had here should go there. The current History section is a mess - it contains a load of stuff relevant to the ZAR, which is properly covered in a separate article South African Republic. The section needs to be stripped down to cover only the 1902-1910 period. BTW, welcome to Wikipedia - sorry your initial contact seems to have been a bit rough. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 13:02, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Roger (Dodger67) :) Zarpboer (talk) 13:42, 1 September 2014 (UTC)


The "History" section seems to be quite unsatisfactory.

The "Transvaal Colony" supposedly existed between 1902 and 1910. And yet, there is not one single word about anything that happened during that time. The political process of transitioning from a state of war to a quasi-independent dominion in just 8 years must have been quite interesting, but there is not a word about it. Perhaps needs some attention from a knowledgeable person.Lathamibird (talk) 13:04, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Indeed, the eight years (1902-1910) could probably be characterized as a period of military occupation, I don't think much actual colonisation occurred in this period. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 13:12, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
seconded :) Lathamibird and Roger (Dodger67) when these pages were created there was a lot of disinformation as history has been re-written. fortunately there are many books from the period that remained preserved, as well as original documents. - i think it is important that we add enough citations and references for some of these pages as there are many people that become confused with the facts and the true history. the good and the bad, it is what it is... i grew up listening to stories of my country - my great grandfather was a zarp (cop in zar) :) Zarpboer (talk) 13:19, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
There is actually nothing at all in the current History section that is worth keeping so I'm deleting it all and replacing it with a brief explanation. I'd like to suggest that we work together on a Draft History section here on the Talk page - wich we can move into the article once it has some decent relevant content. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 13:31, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
I've put down a few key points as a skeleton to build on. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 13:50, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
Dude, in this edit you rock! Roger (Dodger67) - all factual and all correct sofar imho , and so cool that we build a draft history section in talk Zarpboer (talk) 13:53, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
What do we know about the economy, was there an organised post-war reconstruction effort? The agricultural sector was severely affected by the war as were the rural towns outside the Pretoria/Witwatersrand area. I have no idea how much gold mining was affected by the war - keeping up production would obviously have been a priority for the ZAR government but the sector's dependence on uitlanders would surely have been a problem during the war. What about transport infrastructure such as bridges and railways? Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:01, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
Louis Botha#Role after the Boer War has some useful material (with sources) that we can use. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:16, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
Roger (Dodger67) looks good... what we have now is factual and correct and you should publish it? - it is a lot better than what was there :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zarpboer (talkcontribs) 14:20, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
Not yet, it needs a little more meat on the bones before we move it. I have no actual sources to reference, the bits and pieces I put down below so far are just what I gleaned from the article's infobox and a quick look at the Louis Botha article. Please take a look at the questions I pose above - do your sources offer some answers? Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:35, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
There's some more useful material at Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner#The peace and William Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne#1882 - 1910 that we can use to fill out the draft a bit more. The Milner article shows there was indeed an organised economic reconstruction effort. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:44, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Draft History section[edit]

When the Boer republics, the South African Republic ZAR and the Orange Free State, were defeated in the Anglo Boer War the Treaty of Vereeniging provided for direct British rule pending the eventual establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

Alfred Milner was the first governor from 1902 to 1905, he was succeeded by William Palmer until the establishment of the new Union of South Africa, in 1910.

In 1907 the colony was granted responsible government, a form of limited self rule, led by the former Boer general, Louis Botha as Prime Minister.


Any objections if I add Sotho to the languages? bias is as bias does (talk) 08:39, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Ping User:htonl - Is there any census data available for the 1902-1910 period that we can use when writing about the territory's demographics? Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:46, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
No, but the Dutch language laws of the ZAR were among the laws repealed in the 1902 treaty, English was the only single official language. So, for npov, we should probably remove all the languages and/or have a multi cultural section? But if we do leave the languages for now, there were (and even today in the same area) many Sotho speakers and to remain neutral we should reflect that? Zarpboer (talk) 14:52, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Just for clarity- the voters, tax etc are available (1907) but the records, references, etc, 'estimate' the 'natives', orientals, etc. there are citations for Sotho speakers, i think the question is more whether we have a demographics section and/or what we reflect as 'official' language? It should probably just be English... anyway, not pushing any POV, just giving 2c Zarpboer (talk) 14:58, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
If the 1907 official records are sufficiently detailed that we can compile a decent paragraph or two on demographics we should do so. Even estimates are better than nothing. I have appended "(official)" to English in the infobox. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 06:38, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
cool, there were also 'coolies' (indians i think?) etc. anyway, I have also linked from the South African Republic to this page, can you have a look if you have 2secs pls? Zarpboer (talk) 07:51, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
The "coolies" would be the Chinese mine workers, not Indians. At that time Indians were still limited to the Natal Colony. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 08:49, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, personally I am learning a lot about this period, if someone else has not added the demographics, then I will do it next week, I also want to add about the gold production, massive amounts of capital invested and employment, growth etc. in the period between 1902 and 1910 - so it will also go here, there are two figures which are not the same however, so am also waiting for the correct figures and citation to add - next week though... Zarpboer (talk) 10:05, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

History, Politics etc[edit]

imho ver good quality additions by @Conlinp, concerned with only the use of 1 Readers Digest Ref, we need to double check for npov, but it really looks great sofar, also will help when i get some time, want to look for good citations for the racial issues, to prevent any later reverts of this good work by conlinp stating pov or something. IsAre there other sections you are still going to add Conlinp ? Zarpboer (talk) 13:16, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

While the RD Illustrated History is well regarded as a popular history text, it is obviously not up to professional academic standards - though it's far better than the junk they used to feed us in school in the 1980s and before. It's a good start, but obviously will need verification through other sources. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:51, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, Dodger67 but it is a good neutral start, I am only working on two major pages atm (zar & another) and as soon as i am done i will also add additional citations (in the next week or so) Zarpboer (talk) 15:03, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for all your comments. Its a template to expand the article. Only have a bit more to add in the politics section concerning the Milner's attempts at anglicizing the Boer population and its failure and the attempt to stop the introduction of the South Africa Act through the English parliament. But give me a few more days to find the time to do that.Conlinp (talk) 08:30, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
@Conlinp - Propose to add to History the Vereeniging peace treaty items:
  • To eventually give the ZAR and the Orange Free State self-government again (eventually granted in 1906 and 1907, respectively).
  • To avoid discussing the enfranchisement issue until self-government had been given
  • To pay the AfrikanersBoers £3,000,000 in reconstruction aid.
  • To imprison only Cape Afrikaners and their leaders
  • To allow the use of high or proper Dutch in the schools and law courts.

Any of the additional minor terms we should be adding? Zarpboer (talk) 07:11, 13 September 2014 (UTC) Soz, dudes, I swear not pov pushing, just a human error :) I know the Cape Afrikaners were not getting any bucks, if you look at no4 I am correctly mentioning their leader imprisonment, again sorry :( Zarpboer (talk) 07:14, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

We should have something about Milner's Kindergarten - a group of young people Milner recruited to manage various aspects of post-war reconstruction of the Transvaal and Free State. Many of them later rose to prominence in British and Imperial politics and business. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:35, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
ok, but we must just be careful to remain within the generally accepted academic view of history or supply acceptable academic and historical citations, as this could open the door to WP:FRINGE and the british secret societies - for which there are acceptable academic research citations, i am just commenting that this is difficult territory and the initial wording should be as neutral as possible - maybe simply state the facts and then build on it slowly? Zarpboer (talk) 07:58, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean by "secret societies", there is no hint of that kind of thing anywhere. Suggest you read Milner's Kindergarten first before further discussion. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 11:13, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Should modify some of your Vereeniging peace treaty items in line with the original document: - OFS should be Orange River Colony and add black or native in front of the "enfranchisement issue". Not sure about the "To imprison only Cape Afrikaners and their leaders" - I see imprisonment for those Boers guilty of acts contrary to "normal" acts of war ie. war crimes.Conlinp (talk) 10:46, 14 September 2014 (UTC)