B A S U T GLAND Reolus, E. Universal Geography, new issue, “Africa,” vol iii. Basutoland, a British protectorate in South Africa London, 1901. (a. H. K.) occupying the upland region enclosed by the DrakenRecent History.—The Basutos belong to the mountain berg range on the south, and northwards by the Caledon tribes of the great Bantu race. • They appear to combine affluent of the Orange river. It is thus coterminous towards the south with Cape Colony, north-eastwards with in a remarkable manner the fighting qualities of the Natal, and on the north and south-west with Orange River coast tribes, such as the Zulus, with the higher inColony, and has an area of about 10,300 square miles, telligence and cunning of the interior tribes, such as the with a population which increased from over 218,000 in Bechuanas. They are hardy and industriousMoshesh, 1891 to 250,000 in 1895, and in 1900 was estimated at the founder of the Basuto tribe, and for a long lifetime the nearly 300,000. The “ Switzerland of South Africa,” as it leader of his people, was a striking example of the strongest has been called, forms a continuous rugged and broken qualities to be found in a Bantu chief. The Basuto tribe plateau at a mean altitude of about 6000 feet, and is tra- formed itself under the leadership of Moshesh, out of versed in its entire length by the Maluti (“Blue”) range, remnants of various other Bantu tribes, which had been running north of and parallel with the Drakenbeig. broken up by the Zulu chief Chaka. There is no people Towards Natal the two systems converge in the huge table- among whom personal kudos counts for more than it does shaped Potong (Antelope), to which the French mission- amongst the Bantu, and the rising reputation of Moshesh aries have given the name of Mont aux Sources, because on as a hunter and warrior brought him, while quite young, followers from the surrounding tribes. The Basutos its slopes have their rise the head-streams of the Tugela many flowing to the Indian Ocean, and of the Orange flowing to at the outset acquired an unenviable notoriety as a race of bold cattle lifters and raiders, and in their early settlethe Atlantic. Above Potong, itself over 10,000 feet high, ments the emigrant Boers found them extremely troubletower other mountains, such as Cathkin or Champagne Castle (10,520), and Hamilton (10,700?), culminating some neighbours. At the same time, if the Basutos were point of Africa south of the Zambesi. Besides the Caledon, eager for cattle, it is equally certain that the Boers weie Basutoland is watered by the Senku (“ Black A atei ) and eager for land ; and their encroachments on the territories the Basutos led to a proclamation in 1842 from Sir the Kornet-spruit, which descend from Potong, and after of George Napier, the then Governor of Cape Colony, fortraversing the plateau between the Drakenberg and Malnti bidding further encroachments on Basutoland. In 1843 a ranges, converge in a single channel to form the Orange treaty was signed with Moshesh on the lines of that already above Herschel. Owing to the abundance of running arranged with Waterboer, the Griqua chief, creating waters and a sufficiently copious rainfall, the uplands form Basutoland a native state under British protection. Notexcellent grazing grounds for vast numbers of cattle and withstanding this treaty, the cattle-stealing propensities horses (the hardy and sure-footed “ Basuto ponies ”), while the Basutos continued to manifest themselves; and the finest crops of cereals hi South Africa are raised on the of a commando, consisting of British troops, farmers, and fertile banks of the Caledon. The country takes its name natives, was sent against Moshesh in 1849. This commando from its Basuto inhabitants, a brave and highly intelligent did not prove strong enough to accomplish its end, and was branch of the Bechuana nation, who have been evangelized repulsed by Moshesh. by French Protestant missionaries, and now form perhaps The ambition of Moshesh led him to endeavour to regain the most orderly and most flourishing Christian ^ com- if possible the territories south of the Yaal and west of the munity in Africa. The Basutos were not originally Drakensberg, which had been at one time occupied by those confined to their present highland territory, but ranged Bantu tribes from whom many of his retainers were over both banks of the Caledon, and beyond them _ in very drawn. In 1852 General Cathcart, who succeeded Sir the direction of the Vaal. In fact, the whole region Harry Smith as governor of Cape Colony, decided to corresponding to the present Orange River Colony formed take strong measures with the tribe, and proceeded with part of the Basuto domain until they were dispossessed three small divisions of troops against Moshesh. The and driven to the uplands by the early Boer settlers. expedition was by no means a success, but Moshesh, with For fiscal and judicial purposes the country is ^ divided that peculiar statecraft for which he was so famous, saw into the seven districts of Maseru, Leribe, Mohale’s Hock, that he could not hope permanently to hold out . against Berea, Mafeking, Quthing, and Qacha’s Nek, and each district is subdivided into wards ruled by hereditary chiefs, the British troops, and followed up his successful skirmishes with General Cathcart by writing him a letter, in which all members of the Moshesh family. Maseru, the capital he said : “As the object for which you have come is to and largest town, lies on the left bank of the Caledon, a have a compensation for Boers, I beg you will be satisfied little below Ladybrand on the opposite side, and has an with what you have taken. You have shown your power, estimated population of about 1000 (Europeans, 120). There are indications of iron and copper, while coal of a you have chastised; I will try all I can to keep my people order in the future.” In this instance Moshesh displayed fair quality occurs in several parts, and is worked for the in similar cunning strategy to that which he had used so local supply. But agriculture is the chief resouice of the successfully against the Matabele warrior, Moselekatze, people, the yield of grain, cattle, and wool being sufficient twenty years before, when he followed up his victory by to support a brisk export trade, valued in 1898 at sending a letter after the retreating enemy couched in the £138,500. In the same year the imports (saddlery, following terms: “Moshesh salutes you. He sends you clothes, groceries, iron and tin ware) exceeded £100,000, these cattle as a recognition of your bravery. ... . He and in 1899 the revenue (£46,847) more than balanced desires to live at peace with you.” This diplomatic lettei the expenditure (£46,417). The hut tax yielded was so successful in its object that Moselekatze never £23,678, although, owing to the scarcity of food during attacked him again. In reference to this letter and to the 1899 only ten shillings a hut was levied instead^ of the other diplomatic correspondence of this astute chief, it. is one pound that is chargeable. There is no public debt. only fair to state that he owed a good deal to the assistThe 144 schools (chiefly missionary) are regularly attended ance of two missionaries attached to the French Proby about 9000 pupils, and supported by a grant in aid. of testant Mission in Basutoland, Mr Dyke, an Englishman, £4440. Many of the Basutos speak and write English and M. Cassalis, a Frenchman. At the same time revelafluently, and dress in the European manner. tions of recent date show that while these gentlemen Widdicombe, J. Fourteen Years in Basutoland. London 1892. believed themselves to be guiding Moshesh, they were Bakkley, Mrs. Among Boers and Basutos. London, 1894. 166
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