This site is a mirror of the original site, made in 2022 by Heraldry of the World. The original site is unaltered. This mirror functions as an archive to keep the material available on-line.
All rights remain with the late Hubert de Vries, the original site owner.








Bechuanaland Protectorate







In the late nineteenth century, hostilities broke out between the Tswana inhabitants of today’s Botswana and Ndebele tribes who were migrating into the territory from the Kalahari Desert. Tensions also escalated with the Boer settlers from the Transvaal. After appeals by the Batswana leaders Khama III, Bathoen and Sebele for assistance, the British Government on March 31, 1885 put “Bechuanaland” under its protection. The northern territory remained under direct administration as the Bechuanaland Protectorate and is today's Botswana [1], while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwest province of South Africa


In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved from Mafeking in South Africa, to newly established Gaborone in 1965. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and to independence on September 30, 1966.






No coat of arms or badge are known for Bechuanaland Protectorate. [2]



The seal showed the royal achievement of the United Kingdom with the legend BECHUANALAND PROTECTORATE. [3]




A coat of arms for the future independent Botswana was adopted at the end of January 1966 and published in the Bedcuanaland Daily News of 27th of January of the same year.


The blazoning of the achievement is as follows:


Arms: Argent, three barrulets wavy Azure, in chief three cogwheels one and two ind in base a bull’s head affronté proper.

Supporters: Two zebra (Equus quagga chapmani - Equidæ) the dexter supporting an elephants’s tusk and the sinister a stalk of sorghum (sorghum vulgare) proper.

Motto: PULA (rain) in black lettering on a ribbon Azure.


In the achievement the white of the shield symbolizes the sand of the Kalahari Desert, the blue barrulets the rivers, the cogwheels the beginning of industrialization and the bull’s head the cattle-breeding.

Sorghum  and elephant’s tusk represent the flora and fauna of the country.

The zebra were chosen because they are politically neutral as no tribe claims them to be its totem.


The wish “rain” is a common salutation in Bechuanaland.


In a rare variant the shield is supported by two elephant’s tusks in saltire below the shield and two stalks of sorghum in saltire behind the shield. [4]


ð See illustration in the head of this essay.


Presidential Flag


Presidential Flag, adopted 1966







The republic was formally created on 26 July 1882 by David Massouw and 400 followers, under the leadership of Gerrit Jacobus van Niekerk (1849-1896). The town of Vryburg was founded and declared its capital. On 7 August 1883 it united with the state of Goshen to form the "United States of Stellaland".

However, in 1885 the British sent in a force under Sir Charles Warren, who subsequently abolished the republic on 30 September and re-incorporated its territory into British Bechuanaland.



The achievement of Stellaland is well known by philatelists as it was printed on stamps issued in 1884. The achievement is:


Arms: Quarterly: 1. Or a male black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix - Tetraonidae) proper, wings addorsed, held by the dexter leg by a human hand, the arm vested proper; 2. Azure, a mullet in bend sinister argent; 3 Gules, a pair of scales or; 4. Gules, a pair of fish in fess, the upper one facing the dexter side, the lower facing the sinister, both impaled on a sabre in pale, all proper.

Crest: A mullet or.

Supporters: Two lions guardant proper.



The grouse in the first quarter is for Mankaroane, the chief of the Bataplin tribe. The two fish impaled are the emblem of the Bataplin tribe itself. The star is for the republic and the balance symbolizes justice and hope.






© Hubert de Vries 2008.10.01

Updated 2009.03.11; 2011.06.14

[1]  Botswana in fact is a modern or different spellling of Bechuana.

[2]  Pama, C.: Lions and Virgins. Heraldic state symbols, coats of arms, flags, seals and other symbols of authority in South Africa, 1487-1962. Human & Rousseau. Cape Town,

 1965,  p. 117.

[3]  Wikipedia Bechuanaland seal (modern reconstruction).

[4]  Neubecker, O.: Wappen von Botswana. In: Archivum Heraldicum 1967, pp 46-47.

Flag Counter In cooperation with Heraldry of the World