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Transvaal Former province of South Africa. In 1994–95, Transvaal divided into Northern Province, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and North-West Province (now Limpopo). The indigenous population are the Bantu-speaking Venda and Sotho peoples. In the Great Trek (1836), the Boers crossed the River Vaal and began to settle the region. In 1857, the South African Republic was formed. In 1877, the British annexed the republic. In 1881, after a Boer revolt, the Transvaal again gained self-government under Paul Kruger. The 1886 discovery of gold in Witwatersrand attracted vast numbers of Britons and Germans. The Boers imposed heavy taxation and denied political rights to the newcomers. In 1895, Leander Starr Jameson launched an incursion into the Transvaal. The ‘Jameson Raid’ failed to ignite a full-scale rebellion, but the resultant tension between the Boers and the British led to the South African Wars. By the Treaty of Vereeniging (1902), the Transvaal became a British Crown Colony. In 1907, the region was again allowed self-government, and in 1910 it became a founding province in the Union of South Africa. During the 1960s, the apartheid government created separate tribal ‘homelands’ (Bantustans). In 1995, Transvaal ceased to exist as a political entity and was split into four of South Africa's nine new provinces.


views updated May 18 2018

Transvaal. Former British colony in South Africa. Founded as an independent republic by Boers (Afrikaners) fleeing British rule in the mid-19th cent., the Transvaal was annexed by Britain in 1877 but regained its internal autonomy in 1881. The discovery of immense reserves of gold in the years which followed led to an influx of foreign, predominantly British, miners whose treatment by the Boer government was used by the British government as the pretext for demands which the Boers rejected, and which culminated in war in 1899. The Transvaal was again annexed by Britain and became part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

Kenneth Ingham

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