Independence of Botswana
Commonwealth & World

Botswana—50 Years of Stamps: Part 1

This extract is taken from the April issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly

Bechuanaland to Botswana: a stroll through history 1800—1966

By the 1800s the Kwena people, one of the main Sotho-Tswana clans, had established permanent settlements in the region. During the 1840s, David Livingstone arrived to begin his missionary work. During the 1860s the Tswana people appealed to the British for protection against their enemies and in 1867 European gold prospectors arrived and mining began. Botswana - 50 Years of Stamps

In 1882 The Boer Republic of Stellaland was proclaimed with Vryburg as its capital. In 1884 five stamps, 1d., 3d., 4d., 6d. and 1s., were issued. The Warren expedition terminated the Boer Republics of Goshen and Stellaland on 30 September 1885. Stellaland and the territory south of the Molopo River were proclaimed British Bechuanaland and a Protectorate was declared north of the Molopo. Stellaland stamps continued in use until 2 December 1885 and Cape of Good Hope stamps
overprinted ‘British Bechuanaland’ were placed on sale at the Vryburg post office.

On 9 August 1888 a postal service using runners was established in the Protectorate region.

Initially British Bechuanaland stamps were overprinted for use in the Protectorate. In 1890 the British Protectorate was extended north to the Chobe River. In that year the Bechuanaland Protectorate and British Bechuanaland came under the same postal administration and the stamps of British Bechuanaland were used in the Protectorate until 1897.

Botswana - 50 Years of independence


In 1900 the Administration of the region was transferred to the High Commissioner for Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland. In 1909 the people of the Bechuanaland Protectorate requested and received British assurance that they will not be included in a proposed Union of South Africa. In 1920 two European councils were established consisting of advisory councils representing Africans and Europeans.

In 1930 the Botswana Chiefs commenced demands for national symbols and self-government. The British Government rejected such demands, claiming the Protectorate was not ready for independence. This was followed by new proclamations to regularise tribal rule and powers in 1934. During the 1940s independent churches and schools were established.

In 1950 the Chief of the Ngwato, Seretse Khama, was deposed and exiled by the British because of South African protests that the chief had returned home from Britain with an English wife. In 1952 rioters protested at Seretse Khama’s exile. Seretse was finally allowed home in 1956. In 1959 copper mines were established in the country and political change started in 1960 by the formation of the Bechuanaland People’s Party (BPP).

Independence stamps

In September 1966 Bechuanaland was granted independence and became the Republic of Botswana with Seretse Khama as President. A set of four commemoratives was issued 30 September 1966 to mark independence.

Botswana independence                              Botswana independence                                   Botswana independenceIndependence of Botswana

Discover more about the history of Botswana and Botswana stamps, including the 1967 bird definitives series in the April issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly


You can download the online issue of Gibbons Stamp Monthly here or download the app from Stanley Gibbons here.

Share this Post: