Portugal: Boer War Refugees Off-White Terracotta “Verkoopspenning”

Portugal: Boer War Refugees Off-White Terracotta “Verkoopspenning”Portugal: Boer War Refugees Off-White Terracotta “Verkoopspenning”
Form: Ornate oblong cast in off-white terracotta with an attached loop.
By: Avelino António Soares Belo, Portugal
Date: 1901-2
Ref:  Hern: 420; ME: Portugal 2; Laidlaw: 0829c;
65.2 mm x 69.3 mmOff-White Terracotta26.2 gmRare

Edge: Plain. Thickness 6.0 mm.

Obverse: Bust of Kruger, left, as on ZAR coinage. Coats of arms on each corner: Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (top left), Orange Free State (top right), Caldas da Rainha (bottom left), Portugal (bottom right).

Reverse: Within an ornamented border, clasp hands across, five-pointed radiant star above with rays extending behind hands to the bottom of the design.

Notes: There are two versions of this medal. This medal, made in off-white terracotta, is the prototype for a similar medal (Hern 422) produced in red-brown terracotta. According to Hern this medal is a “museum piece” and 52 medals of the second type were produced.

There are no inscriptions on this medal. Inscriptions have been added on the second type. On the obverse: “KRUGER” above the bust and a large, "B." below the truncation. On the reverse: “1899 (top left) 1902 (top right) TRANSVAAL (left diagonally between rays) ORANGE (right diagonally between rays) AMIZADE ETERNA (bottom - everlasting friendship)”.

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.