Flag of the Orange Free State (Boer Republic)

A 18 inch by 20.5 inch cotton flag taken from Bloemfontein on April 1900 by Pte Tom H. Banton and presented to his son Major D.M. Banton who served with the 1st Battalion, 48th Highlanders in WWII.  On top right hand written with “Bloemfontein Apr 28, 1900”. Tom Banton became a Quartermaster in WWI and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Orange Free State flag (1856-1902)

When the Republic of Orange Free State came into being on 23 February 1854 it possessed neither arms nor a flag.  On 15 May 1854 the Orange Free State Government Secretary wrote to the Republic’s Consul in the Netherlands and asked whether King William III would be willing to grant the OFS arms and a flag.  This was followed by a personal letter to the King from President Hoffman on 15 October 1854.  In February 1855, Hoffman’s presidency came to an end and there followed an inter-regnum of 6 months when JN Boshoff was President.  He knew nothing of the approach to the Dutch monarch.

The request for arms and a flag was eventually granted and on 12 January 1856 the King’s special envoy, Cornelis Hattingh, arrived in Bloemfontein with the royal gifts.  The flag consisted of seven equal alternating horizontal stripes of white and orange with the Dutch flag in the canton. Both the arms and flag remained in use until the OFS came to an end following the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging marking the end of the Anglo-Boer War on 31 May 1902.   The Republic of the Orange Free State then became the British controlled Orange River Colony until it was incorporated into the Union of South Africa on 31 May 1910.

The flag of the Orange Free State (OFS) was designed in 1856 by King William III of the Netherlands, on request of the OFS Volksraad (parliament). It is said to represent the bonds between the OFS and the Netherlands, and it’s royal house (of Orange).  Some claim the three orange stripes were a reference to William the Third of Orange being the designer.

This flag was registered with the South African Bureau of Heraldry as the flag of the Republic of Orange Free State for the Office of the Prime Minister, together with the flag of the South African Republic, on 30 April 1983 (application 08 January 1982, amendment 05 March 1982). Certificates were issued for both in Afrikaans on 14 October 1983.

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