The establishment of the protectorate (Part 3) – The Warren expedition

In our last instalment we noted that after 1882 commercial imperialists in the Cape Colony, led by the mining tycoon Cecil Rhodes, joined hands with LMS missionary John Mackenzie and interior traders in calling for British intervention in ‘Bechuanaland’ following the outbreak of hostilities between the still independent Batlhaping and western Barolong living south of the Molopo river and white, predominately but not exclusively Boer, mercenaries.

Having only evacuated the same lands during the previous year, as part of its general imperial pullback in the region, the Liberal Party government of Prime Minister William Gladstone was initially unwilling to re-impose its authority. But, London’s attitude changed in the early months of 1884 as a result of the unexpected German military occupation of Namibia.

With good reason London now feared that further German expansion in the region, supported by pro-German elements among the Transvaal Boers, might close the “missionary road” linking the Cape Colony with central Africa through Botswana. For his part the new President of the South African (Transvaal) Republic, Paul Kruger, favoured cooperation with Germany as a counterweight to British hegemony.

Editor's Comment
Happy Independence!

We are 56 years old and what do we have to show for it? Looking at where Botswana started and where it is today, there are a lot of developments, but whether the developments match the number of years we have enjoyed as a country is a topic for another day.The fact that cannot be denied is we have seen major developments, but we are still lacking in several pertinent areas.Our beautiful country imports almost everything. We import fuel, food,...

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