London Convention

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London Convention  (1884) 
Governments of the United Kingdom and the South African Republic
The London Convention of 27 February 1884 was an agreement between the United Kingdom, as the paramount power in South Africa, and the South African Republic (the Transvaal). The London Convention superseded the 1881 Pretoria Convention and constituted the basis of the Transvaal's independence until its defeat in the 1899-1902 Boer War, after which it became a British Crown Colony, eventually forming part of the Union of South Africa in 1910.


Convention of London, February 27, 1884.[edit]

A Convention Between Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the South African Republic.

Whereas the Government of the Transvaal State, through its Delegates, consisting of Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, President of the said State, Stephanus Jacobus Du Toit, Superintendent of Education, and Nicholas Jacobus Smit, a member of the Volksraad, have represented that the Convention signed at Pretoria on the 3rd day of August 1881, and ratified by the Volksraad of the said State on the 25th October 1881, contains certain provisions which are inconvenient, and imposes burdens and obligations from which the said State is desirous to be relieved, and that the south-western boundaries fixed by the said Convention should be amended, with a view to promote the peace and good order of the said State, and of the countries adjacent thereto ; and whereas, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, has been pleased to take the said representations into consideration : Now, therefore, Her Majesty has been pleased to direct, and it is hereby declared, that the following articles of a new Convention, signed on behalf of Her Majesty by Her Majesty's High Commissioner in South Africa, the Right Honourable Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Governor of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, and on behalf of the Transvaal State (which shall hereinafter be called the South African Republic) by the above named Delegates, Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, Stephanus Jacobus Du Toit, and Nicholas Jacobus Smit, shall, when ratified by the Volksraad of the South African Republic, be substituted for the articles embodied in the Convention of 3rd August 1881 ; which latter, pending such ratification, shall continue in full force and effect.


Article I.[edit]

The Territory of the South African Republic will embrace the land lying between the following boundaries, to wit:

Beginning from the point where the north-eastern boundary line of Griqualand West meets the Vaal River, up the course of the Vaal River to the point of junction with it of the Klip River ; thence up the course of the Klip River to the point of junction with it of the stream called Gansvlei ; thence up the Gansvlei stream to its source in the Drakensberg ; thence to a beacon in the boundary of Natal, situated immediately opposite and close to the source of the Gansvlei stream ; thence in a north-easterly direction along the ridge of the Drakensberg, dividing the waters flowing into the Gansvlei stream from the waters flowing into the sources of the Buffalo, to a beacon on a point where this mountain ceases to be a continuous chain ; thence to a beacon on a plain to the north-east of the last described beacon ; thence to the nearest source of a small stream called ‘Division Stream’ ; thence down this division stream, which forms the southern boundary of the farm Sandfontein, the property of Messrs. Meek, to its junction with the Coldstream ; thence down the Coldstream to its junction with the Buffalo or Umzinyati River ; thence down the course of the Buffalo River to the junction with it of the Blood River ; thence up the course of the Blood River to the junction with it of Lyn Spruit or Dudusi ; thence up the Dudusi to its source ; thence 80 yards to Bea. I., situated on a spur of the N’Qaba-Ka-hawana Mountains ; thence 80 yards to the N’Sonto River ; thence down the N’Sonto River to its junction with the White Umvulozi River ; thence up the White Umvulozi River to a white rock where it rises ; thence 800 yards to Kambula Hill (Bea. II.) ; thence to the source of the Pemvana River, where the road from Kambula Camp to Burgers’ Lager crosses ; thence down the Pemvana River to its junction with the Bivana River ; thence down the Bivana River to its junction with the Pongolo River ; thence down the Pongolo River to where it passes through the Libombo Range ; thence along the summits of the Libombo Range to the northern point of the N’Yawos Hill in that range (Bea. XVI.) ; thence to the northern peak of the Inkwakweni Hills (Bea. XV.) ; thence to Sefunda, a rocky knoll detached from and to the north-east end of the White Koppies, and to the south of the Musana River (Bea. XIX.) ; thence to a point on the slope near the crest of Matanjeni, which is the name given to the south-eastern portion of the Mahamba Hills (Bea. XIII.) ; thence to the N’gwangwana, a double-pointed hill (one point is bare, the other wooded, the beacon being on the former) on the left bank of the Assegai River and upstream of the Dadusa Spruit (Bea. XII.) ; thence to the southern point of Bendita, a rocky knoll in a plain between the Little Hlozane and Assegai Rivers (Bea. XI.) ; thence to the highest point of Suluka Hill, round the eastern slopes of which flows the Little Hlozane, also called Ludaka or Mudspruit (Bea. X.) ; thence to the beacon known as ‘Viljoens,’ or N’Duko Hill ; thence to a point north-east of Derby House, known as Magwazidili’s Beacon ; thence to the Igaba, a small knoll on the Ungwempisi River, also called ‘Joubert’s Beacon,’ and known to the natives as ‘ Piets Beacon’ (Bea. IX.) ; thence to the highest point of the X’Dhlovudiwalili or Houtbosch, a hill on the northern bank of the Umqwempisi River (Bea. VIII.) ; thence to a beacon on the only flat-topped rock, about 10 feet high and about 30 yards in circumference at its base, situated on the south side of the Lamsamane range of hills, and overlooking the valley of the great Usuto River ; this rock being 45 yards north of the road from Camden and Lake Banagher to the forests of the Usuto River (sometimes called Sandhlanas Beacon) (Bea. VII.) ; thence to the Gulungwana or Ibubulundi, four smooth bare hills, the highest in that neighbourhood, situated to the south of the Umtuli River (Bea. VI.) ; thence to a flat-topped rock, 8 feet high, on the crest of the Busuku, a low rocky range south-west of the Impulazi River (Bea. V.) ; thence to a low bare hill on the north-east of and overlooking the Impulazi River, to the south of it being a tributary of the Impulazi, with a considerable waterfall, and the road from the river passing 200 yards to the north-west of the beacon (Bea. IV.) ; thence to the highest point of the Mapumula range, the watershed of the Little Usuto River on the north, and the Umpulazi River on the south, the hill, the top of which is a bare rock, falling abruptly towards the Little Usuto (Bea. III.) ; thence to the western point of a double-pointed rocky hill, precipitous on all sides, called Makwana, its top being a bare rock (Bea. II.) ; thence to the top of a rugged hill of considerable height falling abruptly to the Komati River, this hill being the northern extremity of the Isilotwani range, and separated from the highest peak of the range Inkomokazi (a sharp cone) by a deep neck (Bea. I.). (On a ridge in the straight line between Beacons I. and II. is an intermediate beacon). From Beacon I. the boundary runs to a hill across the Komati River, and thence along the crest of the range of hills known as the Makongwa, which runs north-east and south-west, to Kamhlubano Peak thence in a straight line to Mananga, a point in the Lihombo Range, and thence to the nearest point in the Portuguese frontier on the Libombo Range thence along the summits of the Libombo Range to the middle of the poort where the Komati River passes through it, called the lowest Komati Poort ; thence in a north by easterly direction to Pokioens Kop, situated on the north side of the Olifant’s River, where it passes through the ridges ; thence about north north-west to the nearest point of Serra di Chicundo ; and thence to the junction of the Pafori River with the Limpopo or Crocodile River ; thence up the course of the Limpopo River to the point where the Marique River falls into it. Thence up the course of the Marique River to ‘Derde Poort,’ where it passes through a low range of hills, called Sikwane, a beacon (No. 10) being erected on the spur of said range near to and westward of the banks of the river ; thence in a straight line through this beacon to a beacon (No. 9) erected on the top of the same range, about 1,700 yards distant from beacon No.10 ; thence in a straight line to a beacon (No. 8) erected on the highest point of an isolated hill called Dikgagong, or ‘Wildebeest Mop,’ situated south-eastward of and about 3 1/2 miles distant from a high hill called Moripe ; thence in a straight line to a beacon (No. 7) erected on the summit of an isolated hill or ‘koppie’ forming the eastern extremity of the range of hills called Moshweu, situated to the northward of and about two miles distant from a large isolated hill called Chukudu-Chochwa ; thence in a straight line to a beacon (No. 6) erected on the summit of a hill forming part of the same range, Moshweu; thence in a straight line to a beacon (No. 5) erected on the summit of a pointed hill in the same range ; thence in a straight line to a beacon (No. 4) erected on the summit of the western extremity of the same range ; thence in a straight line to a beacon (No. 3) erected on the summit of the northern extremity of a low, bushy hill, or ‘koppie,’ near to and eastward of the Notwane River ; thence in a straight line to the junction of the stream called Metsi-Mashwane with the Notwane River (No. 2) ; thence up the course of the Notwane River to Sengoma, being the Poort where the river passes through the Dwarsberg Range ; thence, as described in the Award given by Lieutenant-Governor Keate, dated October 17, 1871, by Pitlanganyane (narrow place), Deboaganka or Schaapkuil, Sibatoul (bare place), and Maclase to Ramatlabama, a pool on a spruit north of the Molopo River. From Ramatlabama the boundary shall run to the summit of an isolated hill, called Leganka ; thence in a straight line, passing north-east of a Native Station, near ‘Buurman’s Drift,’ on the Molopo River, to that point on the road from Mosiega to the old drift, where a road turns out through the Native Station to the new drift below ; thence to ‘Buurman’s Old Drift’ ; thence in a straight line to a marked and isolated clump of trees near to and north-west of the dwelling-house of C. Austin, a tenant on the farm ‘Vleifontein,’ No. 117 ; thence in a straight line to the north-western corner beacon of the farm ‘Mooimeisjesfontein,’ No. 30 ; thence along the western line of the said farm ‘Mooimeisjesfontein,’ and in prolongation thereof, as far as the road leading from ‘Ludik’s Drift,’ on the Molopo River, past the homestead of ‘Mooimeisjesfontein’ towards the Salt Pans near Harts River ; thence along the said road, crossing the direct road from Polfontein to Sehuba, and until the direct road from Polfontein to Lotlakane or Pietfontein is reached ; thence along the southern edge of the last-named road towards Lotlakane until the first garden grounds of that station is reached ; thence in a south-westerly direction, skirting Lotlakane, so as to leave it and all its garden ground in native territory, until the road from Lotlakane to Kunana is reached ; thence along the east side, and clear of that road towards Kunana, until the garden grounds of that station are reached ; thence, skirting Kunana, so as to include it and all its garden ground, but no more, in the Transvaal, until the road from Kunana to Mamusa is reached ; thence along the eastern side and clear of the road towards Mamusa, until a road turns out towards Taungs ; thence along the eastern side and clear of the road towards Taungs, till the line of the district known as ‘Stellaland’ is reached, about 11 miles from Taungs ; thence along the line of the district Stellaland to the Harts River, about 24 miles below Mamusa ; thence across Harts River to the junction of the roads from Monthe and Phokwane ; thence along the western side and clear of the nearest road towards ‘Koppie Enkel,’ an isolated hill about 36 miles from Mamusa, and about 18 miles north of Christiana, and to the summit of the said hill ; thence in a straight line to that point on the north-east boundary of Griqualand West as beaconed by Mr. Surveyor Ford, where two farms, registered as Nos. 72 and 75, do meet, about midway between the Vaal and Harts Rivers, measured along the said boundary of Griqualand West ; thence to the first point where the north-east boundary of Griqualand West meets the Vaal River.

Article II.[edit]

The Government of the South African Republic will strictly adhere to the boundaries defined in the first Article of this Convention, and will do its utmost to prevent any of its inhabitants from making any encroachments upon lands beyond the said boundaries. The Government of the South African Republic will appoint Commissioners upon the eastern and western borders whose duty it will be strictly to guard against irregularities and all trespassing over the boundaries. Her Majesty’s Government will, if necessary, appoint Commissioners in the native territories outside the eastern and western borders of the South African Republic to maintain order and prevent encroachments.

Her Majesty’s Government and the Government of the South African Republic will each appoint a person to proceed together to beacon off the amended south-west boundary as described in in Article I of this Convention ; and the President of the Orange Free State shall be requested to appoint a referee to whom the said persons shall refer any questions of which they may disagree respecting the interpretation of the said Article, and the decision of such referee thereon shall be final. The arrangement already made, under the terms of Article 19 of the Convention of Pretoria of the 3 August, i88i, between the owners of the farms Grootfontein and Valleifontein on the one hand, and the Barolong authorities on the other, by which a fair share of the water supply of the said farms shall be allowed to flow undisturbed to the said Barolongs, shall continue in force.

Article III.[edit]

If a British officer is appointed to reside at Pretoria or elsewhere within the South African Republic to discharge functions analogous to those of a Consular officer, he will receive the protection and assistance of the Republic.

Article IV.[edit]

The South African Republic will conclude no treaty or engagement with any State or nation other than the Orange Free State, nor with any native tribe to the eastward or westward of the Republic, until the same has been approved by Her Majesty the Queen.

Such approval shall be considered to have been granted if Her Majesty's Government shall not, within six months after receiving a copy of such treaty (which shall be delivered to them immediately upon its completion), have notified that the conclusion of such treaty is in conflict with the interests of Great Britain or any of Her Majesty's possessions in South Africa.

Article V.[edit]

The South African Republic will be liable for any balance which may still remain due of the debts for which it was liable at the date of Annexation, to wit, the Cape Commercial Bank Loan, the Railway Loan, and the Orphan Chamber Debt, which debts shall be a first charge upon the revenues of the Republic. The South African Republic will moreover be liable to Her Majesty's Government for £250,000, which will be a second charge upon the revenues of the Republic.

Article VI.[edit]

The debt due as aforesaid by the South African Republic to Her Majesty's Government will bear interest at the rate of three and a half per cent. from the date of the ratification of this Convention, and shall be repayable by a payment for interest and Sinking Fund of six pounds and nine pence per £100 per annum, which will extinguish the debt in twenty-five years. The said payment of six pounds and nine pence per £100 shall be payable half yearly, in British currency, at the close of each half year from the date of such ratification: Provided always, That the South African Republic shall be at liberty at the close of any half-year to pay off the whole or any portion of the outstanding debt.

Interest at the rate of three and a half per cent. on the debt as standing under the Convention of Pretoria shall as heretofore be paid to the date of the ratification of this Convention.

Article VII.[edit]

All persons who held property in the Transvaal on the 8th day of August 1881, and still hold the same, will continue to enjoy the rights of property which they have enjoyed since the 12th April 1877. No person who has remained loyal to Her Majesty during the late hostilities shall suffer any molestation by reason of his loyalty; or be liable to any criminal prosecution or civil action for any part taken in connection with such hostilities; and all such persons will have full liberty to reside in the country, with enjoyment of all civil rights, and protection for their persons and property.

Article VIII.[edit]

The South African Republic renews the declaration made in the Sand River Convention, and in the Convention of Pretoria, that no slavery or apprenticeship partaking of slavery will be tolerated by the Government of the said Republic.

Article IX.[edit]

There will continue to be complete freedom of religion and protection from molestation for all denominations, provided the same be not inconsistent with morality and good order; and no disability shall attach to any person in regard to rights of property by reason of the religious opinions which he holds.

Article X.[edit]

The British Officer appointed to reside in the South African Republic will receive every assistance from the Government of the said Republic in making due provision for the proper care and preservation of the graves of such of Her Majesty's Forces as have died in the Transvaal; and if need be, for the appropriation of land for the purpose.

Article XI.[edit]

All grants or titles issued at any time by the Transvaal Government in respect of land outside the boundary of the South African Republic, as defined in Article I, shall be considered invalid and of no effect, except in so far as any such grant or title relates to land that falls within the boundary of the South African Republic; and all persons holding any such grant so considered invalid and of no effect will receive from the Government of the South African Republic such compensation, either in land or in money, as the Volksraad shall determine. In all cases in which any Native Chiefs or other authorities outside the said boundaries have received any adequate consideration from the Government of the South African Republic for land excluded from the Transvaal by the first Article of this Convention, or where permanent improvements have been made on the land, the High Commissioner will recover from the native authorities fair compensation for the loss of the land thus excluded, or of the permanent improvements thereon.

Article XII.[edit]

The independence of the Swazis, within the boundary line of Swaziland, as indicated in the first Article of this Convention, will be fully recognized.

Article XIII.[edit]

Except in pursuance of any treaty or engagement made as provided in Article IV of this Convention, no other or higher duties shall be imposed on the importation into the South African Republic of any article coming from any part of Her Majesty's dominions than are or may be imposed on the like article coming from any other place or country; nor will any prohibition be maintained or imposed on the importation into the South African Republic of any article coming from any part of Her Majesty's dominions which shall not equally extend to the like article coming from any other place or country. And in like manner the same treatment shall be given to any article coming to Great Britain from the South African Republic as to the like article coming from any other place or country.

These provisions do not preclude the consideration of special arrangements as to import duties and commercial relations between the South African Republic and any of Her Majesty's colonies or possessions.

Article XIV.[edit]

All persons, other than natives, conforming themselves to the laws of the South African Republic (a) will have full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the South African Republic; (b) they will be entitled to hire or possess houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops and premises; (c) they may carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ; (d) they will not be subject, in respect of their persons or property, or in respect of their commerce or industry, to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are or may be imposed upon citizens of the said Republic.

Article XV.[edit]

All persons, other than natives, who establish their domicile in the Transvaal between the 12th day of April 1877, and the 8th August 1881, and who within twelve months after such last mentioned date have had their names registered by the British Resident, shall be exempt from all compulsory military service whatever.

Article XVI.[edit]

Provision shall hereafter be made by a separate instrument for the mutual extradition of criminals, and also for the surrender of deserters from Her Majesty's Forces.

Article XVII.[edit]

All debts contracted between the 12th April 1877 and the 8th August 1881 will be payable in the same currency in which they may have been contracted.

Article XVIII.[edit]

No grants of land which may have been made, and no transfers or mortgages which may have been passed between the 12th April 1877 and the 8th August 1881, will be invalidated by reason merely of their having been made or passed between such dates.

All transfers to the British Secretary for Native Affairs in trust for Natives will remain in force, an officer of the South African Republic taking the place of such Secretary for Native Affairs.

Article XIX.[edit]

The Government of the South African Republic will engage faithfully to fulfil the assurances given, in accordance with the laws of the South African Republic, to the natives at the Pretoria Pitso by the Royal Commission in the presence of the Triumvirate and with their entire assent, (1) as to the freedom of the natives to buy or otherwise acquire land under certain conditions, (2) as to the appointment of a commission to mark out native locations, (3) as to the access of the natives to the courts of law, and (4) as to their being allowed to move freely within the country, or to leave it for any legal purpose, under a pass system.

Article XX.[edit]

This Convention will be ratified by a Volksraad of the South African Republic within the period of six months after its execution, and in default of such ratification this Convention shall be null and void.


Signed in duplicate in London this 27th day of February 1884.

[Signed] Hercules Robinson,
[Signed] S.J.P. Kruger,
[Signed] S.J. Du Toit,
[Signed] N.J. Smit.