Boer War Transvaal ZARP Horse Martingale Badge

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Original, Scarce; First Boer War era 1880’s - 1890’s brass martingale Insignia for horses used by the mounted police of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek Politie (ZARP) which was the police force in the Transvaal at the time. These insignias were used as a decorative piece on the leather straps or reins of the horses. This model badge was used until 1901, in 1902 another design was introduced which featured thicker lettering and did not have the accent on the bottom assumingely in an effort to save on materials for the War. 

This badge is missing its lower lug with shows some oxidation and wear on the reverse, the obverse is in quite good condition and features a South African Republic Eagle clutching a band with the inscription “Eendragt Maakt Magt” which is High Dutch (not Afrikaans) for “Unity Makes Strength” and “ZAR” in the center for “Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek” or South African Republic. The badge measures 94 x 51.5mm.

The South African Republic Police or Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek Politie; ZARP) was the police force of the former country, South African Republic, one of two Internationally recognized Boer countries of the mid 19th to early 20th century. The Boers often called the South African Republic by its acronym ZAR (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek) while in the English-speaking world the republic was generally known as the Transvaal (after the region and territories it encompassed across the Vaal River). Members of the police force were known as ZARPs. After the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, the force was incorporated into the South African Police Force.

The ZARP was the mounted and foot police of the ZAR, a nation that was mainly rural with a strong frontier spirit as the Boers had only arrived in the Transvaal less than 50 years before during the Great Trek. The ZARP were established as a para-military police force whose primary function was to uphold the authority of the state, rather than upholding justice. The Boers were only a minority in the ZAR, and greatly feared the black majority, hence the emphasis on the ZARP as a para-military force intended more to inspire fear than respect. From 1881 to 1896 the ZARPS were part of the Artillery and then began a separate existence as an independent entity. The basis of the ZAR's military was the kommando system, under which all able-bodied white men could be called up for military service in the event of an emergency. The professional military of the Transvaal consisted of the Staatsartillerie (State Artillery), who in 1899 numbered 314 men. The para-military ZARPs comprised the closest the ZAR had to a professional infantry and cavalry. The ZARPs were divided into three sections; the Foot, Mounted and Native sections. Through the ZARPs were known to the burghers as the "disciplined force of the Transvaal", the ZARPs like the Staatsartilleriehad serious disciplinary problems.

Collections: All Items, Anglo-Boer War, Badges & Insignia, South Africa Tags: Badges & Insignia, Boer War, South Africa