The Stamps of 2000
Boer War Part 1 – 10 April 2000
1881 – The First South African War
In 1881 the descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, known as Boers, rose against the British in an attempt to regain the independance that they had previously given up in return for protection against the warlike Zulus. The British were defeated at Majuba, and at the Convention of Pretoria, pioneer Paulus Kruger became president in 1883.
1889 -The Second South African War
The struggle between British and Dutch settlers (or Boers) in South Africa continued. Following the unofficial and unsuccesful raid in 1885, led by L.S. Jameson of the British South African Company; Jameson cleared the way for a major war which broke out in earnest in 1889. In the first months the Boears had the the upper hand, besieging the British garrisons at ÖLadysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley. Later these garrisons were relieved, when Lord Roberts (1832-1914) and Lord Kitchener (1850-1916) launched the counter-attack. Kruger fled and in June 1900, the British took Pretoria.
It was in 10 April 1900 that St Helena saw the first shipment of Boer prisoners (514) including General Cronje and his wife, who arrived on the steamship the “Milwaukee”.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival og the Boer prisoners, the Post Office released a new set of four postagae satmps entitled “Boer War Part 1”
Each of the four attractive stamps incorporates an interesting part of the history of the Boer war on St Helena. denominations and designs are as follows: 15p – Distillation at Ruperts; 25p – Boer War Camp at Broadbottom; 30p Committee of Boer Prisoners and 80 p – General Cronje at his home at Kent Cottage.
The first day cover design is an artist impression of Boers going aboard ship for the journey to St Helena whilst the cancellation cachet illustrates the “Protea” – South Africa’s national flower.
20p – Withdrawal of the East India Company
The Honourable East India Company ruled over St Helena for one hundred and eighty two years; the expenditure the company made amounting to £80.000 – 90.000 per annum. In return, they received back £3.000-4.000. In 1833 an Act of parliament dereed rule of the sialnd was to be transferred to His majesty’s Government. From 22 April 1834 St helena became a Crown Colony. The new Governor, Major-General George Middlemore arrived 24 February 1836 bringning with him a new garrison composed of His Majesty’s 91st Regiment. The Old garrison had already been dispersed, some taking jobs under the new government and others being pensioned off. Many were reduced to penury (the company had treated their servants generously) and it was not uncommon to see former officers engaged in manual work alongside their own servants. For nine years the Government and Company were petitioned about the parlous state of the island with so little success that in 1838 many families and around one hundred and ten others emigrated to the Cape of Good Hope. The 20p design depicts the Company flag and crest and the Union flag and St Helena badge.
25p – Abolition of Slavery 1832
During the time Sir Hudson Lowe served as Governor of St Helena he was well thought of by the inhabitants and Sir George Bingham, commander of the island’s troops,was well known for his kindness. In August 1818, Sir George Bingham had left the Magistrate’s Court when he saw a slave girl of fourteen limping with blood dripping from wounds on her arm and back. These wounds had been caused by a whip and Sir Georrge soon found the perpetrator, the girl’s owner Mr Charles De Fountain. Returning immediatley to the court, Sir George had de Fountain brought before him and imposed a fine of £2. So upset was Sir George by the whle incident that he addressed the court, wishing he could fine de Fountain £40 and order that he be subject to the same brutal treatment he had inflicted on the girl. despite De Fountain complaining to the Council regarding the way he had been addressed in public. Sir Geirge refused to withdraw one word. The affair made such an impact on St Helena that Sir George Hudson Lowe brought up the question of slavery at the next Council Meeting, followed by a a public meeting. In under ten minutes discussion the slave owners carried by acclamation, the general priciple put by the Governor that, in future, they should free all all the babies born to slaves. This law pavead the way for total abolition in 1832. The background of the 25p stamp shows the Liberated African Depot at Rupert’s Valley where the slaves were kept before being transferred to the British West Indies.
30p – Napoleon – Arrival 1815/Departure 1820
On 15 September 1815 a ship arrived at St Helena from England. The news she brought occasioned celebrations at the Garrison and an extra allowance of wine for every soldier. The Duke of Wellington had defeated Napoleon Bonaparte! No more was heard about Napoleon until 11 October when news reached Jamestown that the famous man in the world was to become resident on the island. On 15 October, Napoleon arrived on board HMS Northumberland. Until he could occupy Longwood, Napoleon lodged at the house of Mr Henry Porteus in Jamestown. This building no longher exists, having been demolished in 1937, but Old Longwood remains a place of pilgrimage for many a modern day visitor. Another Napoleonic place of interest is the tomb where he was interred after his death on 5 May 1821 (although his body was removed in 1840 to Les Invalides in Paris).
80p – Chief Dinizulu 1890
From discovery, St Helena was used as a place of confinement for prisoners, both famous and obscure. One of the most interesting people to be held on the island was Zulu chief Dinizulu (son of Cetewayo) with two uncles and several wives and servants. The year was 1890 and the chief immediately settled into the local community, making friends with the local Bishop and clergy amongst many others. To enable the chief to convert to christianity, only one of his several wives was officially recognised. In 1896 a visit from the Bishop of Zululand inspired the chief to write to his mother and followers in Zululand urging them to assist the Bishop in establishing a missionary station. During his stay on St Helena the chief always wore European clothes and was very particular over the cut of a new suit as well as the colour and quality of the material. In December 1897 the chief and his retinue were returned home on the steamer Umbilo, the departure causing a further financial strain on the island. During the seven years he lived on St Helena, the chief spent about £1.000 per annum.
The Post Office realesed on October 10, 2000 stamps for Overseas mail.
Artist G Vasarhelyi has beatifully designed the se-tenant strip to portray an imaginative representation of an opened stage. The beautiful red curtain enhanced with orange tassels is arranged across the top of each stamp. The end stamps of the strips show a draped curtain held back to reveal an opened stage decorated with flowers which bloom at Christmas accompanied with the text ‘Christmas 2000’. The text ‘St Helena’ together with the panto captions is also printed on each stamp.