Orange Free State

   A Boer republic of South Africa established when Boer settlers migrated north from the Cape Colony during the Great Trek to escape British rule. Britain annexed the territory in 1848 but in 1854 returned it to the Boers in the Bloemfontein Convention, at which time it acquired its name. From the 1860s to the 1890s, the Orange Free State prospered because of the discovery of diamonds and gold in the Transvaal to the north. Railroads were built from the Cape Colony across its territory even as demand for its agricultural products increased.
   The Free State established a customs union with the Cape Colony, but it was not from this economic connection that its political autonomy was imperiled. Rather, it formed an alliance with the Transvaal following the Jameson Raid in 1895 and was thus drawn directly into the Second Boer War in 1899. After the war, the Orange Free State was again joined to the British Empire as the Orange River Colony. The colony was given responsible government in 1907 and in 1910 became a province of the Union of South Africa as the Orange Free State.
   FURTHER READING:
    Pakenham, Thomas. The Boer War. New York: Random House, 1979;
    Were, Gideon. A History of South Africa. New York: Africana Publishing Company, 1974.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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