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Orange Free State

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The flag of Orange Free State.
Orange Free State in 1899.
Oranje-Vrijstaat (Dutch: Republic of the Orange Free State) was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa, now the province Vrystaat (Afrikaans: Free State) of the Republic of South Africa. Orginally founded as Transoranje on 17 February 1854 by the Voortrekkers, former Dutch collonists of the Cape Colony. J.R.R. Tolkien was born there in 1892—his father Arthur Tolkien headed the Bloemfontein branch of a British bank—but returned to England with his mother at the age of three.


During 1899 and 1902 the Orange Free Country and the South African Republic, a Boer Republic in the current South-African provinces Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, fought the Second Boer War with the British Empire. In the Treaty of Vereeniging it was decided that Orange Free Country would become part of the British Empire as the Orange River Colony. In 1910 it joined the Union of South-Africa under its former name, Orange Free Country.

In 1944, Christopher Tolkien spent time in Free State Province, training for the Royal Air Force. During this stay he corresponded extensively with his father about the elder Tolkien's reminiscences of South Africa, as well as newly written chapters of The Lord of the Rings.

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