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The High Commission Territories, I: The Failure of Botha and Smuts, 1910–24

  • Ronald Hyam

Abstract

The attractiveness of the High Commission Territories to land-hungry white South Africans was obvious. Selborne forecast that many of them would deliberately and as a matter of policy seek to break them up and distribute African lands among European farmers: ‘It will become a point of honour to every South African, Briton or Boer, to get control over them’. Already in 1907 they were calling the Territories a menace.1 With only a few exceptions, even the best-disposed whites could not bear the idea of Africans’ owning land. Every year some 200,000 sheep were sent to and fro between the Transvaal and Swaziland, across some of the most breathtaking hill country in the world, where line is piled upon line, ridge upon ridge, to take advantage of the winter grazing of Swaziland’s green and pleasant, well watered pastures. The Union coveted the possibility of placing Afrikaner farmers, largely poor whites, permanently on Swazi Crown land. To forestall this, Buxton in 1917 urged the desirability of selling land to British farmers.2 The Union government thought it needed more land to cope with the patently serious bywoner problem. It had already enacted the Natives Land Act, one of the first results of which was to direct attention to ‘unoccupied’ land not designated as native reserves.

Keywords

Advisory Council British Government High Commissioner South African Government High Commission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Ronald Hyam 1972

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  • Ronald Hyam

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