Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1204

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848

ORANGE FREE STATE.

(Oranje-Vrijstaat.) Constitution and Government.

The Republic known as the Orange Free State, founded originally by Boers who quitted Cape Colony in 1836 and following years, is separated from the Cape Colony by the Orange River, has British Basutoland and Natal on the east, the Transvaal on the north, and Transvaal and Griqualand West on the west. Its independence was declared on February 23, 185-1, and a Constitu- tion was proclaimed April 10, 1854, and revised February 9, 1866, May 8, 1879, and May 11, 1898. The legislative authority is vested in a popular Assembly, the Volksraad, of 60 members, elected by suffrage of the burghers (adult white males) for four years from every district-town, and ward, or field-cornetcy. Every two years one-half of the members vacate their seats and an election takes place. The members of the Volksraad receive pay at the rate of 21. per day. Eligible are burghers 25 years of age, owners of real property to the value of 500Z. Voters must be white burghers by birth or naturalisation, be owners of real property of not less than 150Z., or lessees of real property of an annual rental of 36Z., or have a yearly income of not less than 200/., or be owners of personal property of the value of 300?., and have been in the State for not less than five years. The executive is vested in a President chosen for five years by the registered voters, who is assisted by an Executive Council. The Executive Council consists of the Government Secre- tary, the Landdrost of the capital, and three unofficial members appointed by the Volksraad, one every year for three years.

President of the Eepublic.—M. T. Steyn, elected February 19, 1896.

There is a Landdrost or Magistrate appointed to each of the districts (IS) of the Republic by the President, the appointment requiring the confirmation of the Volksraad. At some of the smaller towns Assistant Landdrosts, or Resident Justices of Peace are stationed. In every ward there are commissioners for various purposes, the members of which are elected by the burghers.

Area and Population.

The area of the Free State is estimated at 48,326 square miles ; it is divided into 18 districts. At a census taken in 1890 the white population Avas found to be 77,716 — 40,571 males and 37,145 females. Of the population 51,910 were born in the Free State and 21,116 in the Cape Colony. There were besides 129,787 natives in the State — 67,791 males and 61,996 females — making a total population of 207,503. The capital, Bloemfontein, had 2,077 white inhabitants in 1890 and 1,302 natives. Of the white population 10,761 were returned in 1890 as directly engaged in agriculture, while there were 41,81^

  • coloured servants. '

Immigration is on the increase, mainly from Germany and England.