1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Commando

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COMMANDO, a Portuguese word meaning “command,” adopted by the Boers in South Africa through whom it has come into English use, for military and semi-military expeditions against the natives. More particularly a “commando” was the administrative and tactical unit of the forces of the former Boer republics, “commandeered” under the law of the constitutions which made military service obligatory on all males between the ages of sixteen and sixty. Each “commando” was formed from the burghers of military age of an electoral district.