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eSwatini - pre-independence flags

Last modified: 2018-05-05 by bruce berry
Keywords: swaziland | protectorate |
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Background

Prior to independence on 06 October 1968 eSwatini was the British Protectorate of Swaziland.

The Protectorate was administered through the Office of the High Commissioner in South Africa which was created by Letters Patent in 1878. The High Commissioner was charged with the conduct of British relations with the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State, as well as with "those native states and tribes outside the colonies of the Cape and Natal, including Swaziland" (which was administered by the Government of the South African Republic under the Convention of 1894). The High Commissioner was also Governor of Basutoland (now Lesotho) and supervised the affairs of the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana) and Swaziland.

The High Commissioner in and for South Africa was divided into the posts of Governor-General (of South Africa) and the High Commissioner of Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland in 1931 and both posts had distinctive flags of their own.
Bruce Berry, 19 Feb 1998


Colonial Swaziland

image by Martin Grieve, 07 Mar 2008

This image is based on an illustration of a flag which is on display in the National Museum in Mbabane and which was photographed by FIAV President Michel Lupant during a recent visit to the country.  Next to the illustration is the following explanation:

"This flag was flown in 1894 when Swaziland had a Triumvirate Government made up of Swazi, Boer and British People. Theophilus Shepstone represented Swaziland. The flag is a rough illustration based on general descriptions, as there are no photographs or drawings of the original".

The flag has eleven alternating equal dark and light blue stripes with a Swazi shield, also placed vertically, in the centre. Other than the above explanation, there is no indication of the symbolism of this flag
or for how long it was used. The indication from the above explanation, however, would suggest that the flag was flown prior to the proclamation of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek protectorate over the territory.
Bruce Berry, 07 Mar 2008

image by Antonio Martins, 02 Mar 1999

The Swazis were able to retain their independence despite pressures from British and Boer settlers during the late 19th century.  However, through negotiation in 1894 the Swazis accepted a Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) protectorate and accordingly flew the Transvaal vierkleur until 1902.

image by Clay Moss, 19 Dec 2006

Following the defeat of the ZAR (Transvaal) by the British in the Anglo-Boer War, Swaziland became a British protectorate in 1903. The protectorate did not have a distinctive flag of its own and the Union Jack was flown until independence in October 1968.
Bruce Berry, 19 Feb 1998


High Commissioner in and for South Africa (1878-1931)

image by Martin Grieve, 11 May 2003

The High Commissioner flew a British Union Flag charged in the centre, on a white roundel, with the letters S.A.H.C. in black above which was a Tudor Crown, all within a green garland of laurel. This flag, which was taken into use in 1907, is similar in design to that of the Western Pacific High Commissioner.

This flag was used until 1931 after which the posts of Governor-General (of South Africa) and High Commissioner were separated.
Bruce Berry,
19 Feb 1998


High Commissioner of Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland (1931-1968)

image by Martin Grieve, 15 Nov 2005

In 1931, the posts of High Commissioner of Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland and Governor-General of South Africa were created, the former being responsible for the administration of the British Protectorates in southern Africa. 

The High Commissioner, based in South Africa, was represented by a Resident Commissioner in each of the High Commission Territories (Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland). Of these, only the Resident Commissioner for Basutoland, which was a Crown Colony, had a personal flag. The other two territories were British Protectorates and thus their inhabitants were merely "protected persons".

The High Commissioner flew a British Union Flag charged in the centre, on a white roundel, with the letters H.C. in black, ensigned of the Imperial State Crown proper, within a garland of green laurel.

Swaziland was the last of the High Commission territories to gain independence, after which the flag of the High Commissioner fell into abeyance.
Bruce Berry, 13 Feb 1998



 
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