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Swaziland: Pre-independence flags

Last modified: 2006-01-07 by bruce berry
Keywords: swaziland | protectorate |
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image by Martin Grieve, 15 Nov 2005

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Pre-independence flags

Prior to independence on 06 October 1968 Swaziland was a British Protectorate and as such flew the British Union Jack.
The Protectorate was administered through the Office of the High Commissioner in South Africa which was created by Letters Patent in 1878. The High Commissioner was charged with the conduct of British relations with the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State, as well as with "those native states and tribes outside the colonies of the Cape and Natal, including Swaziland" (which was administered by the Government of the South African Republic under the Convention of 1894). The High Commissioner was also Governor of Basutoland (now Lesotho) and supervised the affairs of the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana) and Swaziland.

The High Commissioner flew a British Union Flag charged in the centre, on a white roundel, with the letters S.A.H.C. in black above which was a Tudor Crown, all within a green garland of laurel. This flag which was taken into use in 1907, is similar in design to that of the Western Pacific High Commissioner.

This flag was used until 1931 after which the posts of Governor-General and High Commissioner were separated. The Governor-General of South Africa would henceforth fly a royal blue flag bearing the Royal Crest with two scrolls inscribed "Union of South Africa" and "Unie van Suid-Afrika" respectively. The High Commissioner, based in South Africa, was represented by a Resident Commissioner in each of the High Commission Territorities (Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland). Of these, only the Resident Commissioner for Basutoland, which was a Crown Colony, had a personal flag. The other two territories were British Protectorates and thus their inhabitants were merely "protected persons".

The flag of the High Commissoner for Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland was a similar design to that used previously by the South African High Commissioner, being a British Union Flag charged in the centre, on a white roundel, with the letters H.C. in black, above which was an Imperial Crown, all within a green garland of laurel.

Swaziland was the last of the High Commission territories to gain independence, after which the flag of the High Commissioner fell into abeyance.
Bruce Berry, 13 Feb 1998