Portugal: Boer War Refugees Red-Brown Terracotta

Portugal: Boer War Refugees Red-Brown TerracottaPortugal: Boer War Refugees Red-Brown Terracotta
Form: Circular, cast in red-brown terracotta with hole at 12 o'clock
By: Avelino António Soares Belo, Portugal
Date: 1901-2
Ref:  Hern: 426; Laidlaw: 0829b;
63 mmRed-Brown Terracotta$950

Edge: Plain.

Obverse: Bust of Kruger, left, as on ZAR coinage. Signed: “A.A.S. BELLO” below the truncation. Spelling of Belo has two Ls.

Reverse: Blank except for the maker’s stamp. This is a globe inscribed: “AVELINO ANTONIO SOARES BELLO / CALDAS DA RAINHA / PORTUGAL”.

Notes: A medal produced to raise funds for Boer refugees in Portugal.

When it became apparent that the British were gaining the upper hand in the war a number of Boer soldiers and their families took refuge in neighbouring Mozambique to avoid further fighting or to escape capture and incarceration. It is recorded that 670 refugees came from the Transvaal or the Orange Free State and 150 from the Cape Colony. Under international agreements for the treatment of war refugees they had to be disarmed and placed in internment camps until the end of hostilities. Because facilities were insufficient in Mozambique and also because of diplomatic pressure from Great Britain, the Portuguese authorities decided to transport the refugees to Portugal. This they did in three ships, the Benguela, the Zaire and the Alphonso de Albuquerque. On arrival in Portugal the refugees were placed in five camps, Caldas da Rainha, Peniche, Alcobaca, Fort de S. Gutias de Bara and Tomar where they were well treated.

At the end of the war most refugees were repatriated to South Africa after taking the oath of allegiance to King Edward VII. Those who refused were offered new homes in Patagonia in Southern Argentina. Between 1902 and 1906 other displaced Boers joined them. It is reported that their descendants number about 500 some of whom still can speak Afrikaans and retain something of the Boer culture.

Avelino António Soares Belo (1872-1927) was a Portuguese artist/potter who worked in Caldas da Rainha.