burgher, noun

Also burgar, burger, and with initial capital.
Dutch, English, Show more Dutch. Cf. English burger borrowed during the 16th century from Dutch burger.
1. In historical contexts.
a. A Dutch colonist at the Cape, especially under the Dutch East India Company; a townsman, with all the rights and duties of a citizen. Also attributive. See also Boer sense 2, free burgher.
Also used by the Dutch in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. I. 45The Directors put a Stop to all Commerce with the Hottentots on the Company’s Account; and ordered that all Supplies of Provisions for them should be bought up among their own Burgers at the Cape.
1798 S.H. Wilcocke tr. of J.S. Stavorinus’s Voy. to E. Indies II. 56Reviews, both of horse and foot, are held every year, in the town (sc. Cape Town) for the burghers, and at Stellenbosch and Zwellendam for the farmers belonging to the colony.
1804 R. Percival Acct of Cape of G.H. 102A number of excellent horses belonging to the wealthy burghers and principal people of Cape Town are thickly scattered on each side.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 120He went escorted by a cavalry party of twenty-two Burghers (or Citizens; as the Dutch colonists are frequently termed) and their attendant Hottentots.
1833 Graham’s Town Jrnl 28 Feb. 3When the Hottentots complain that white people have taken all their lands from them, they say it is not the Hottentots’ country it is the country of the Burghers.
1925 H.J. Mandelbrote tr. of O.F. Mentzel’s Descr. of Cape of G.H. II. 100The burgher population of the Town is made up of Europeans of South African birth and of immigrants from Holland or Germany.
1926 P.W. Laidler Tavern of Ocean 23Children of the Company’s servants and those of burghers, born in lawful wedlock, were considered native burghers.
1944 J. Mockford Here Are S. Africans 78The bulk of the Dutch population was still in the Cape — the burghers of the towns and the farmers whose life was among the immovable orchards and vineyards planted by their fathers.
1971 Personality 14 May 27Since only burghers were liable to military duty, illegitimate children were free of that burden...Filled with the stern Puritan spirit the authorities had laid down the condition that only those born in lawful wedlock could be burghers.
1981 Grocott’s Mail 7 Aug. 1Piet Retief was a greatly respected and influential community leader, Commandant of the local burger commando.
1988 D. Hughes et al. Complete Bk of S. Afr. Wine 190Louis Michel Thibault..abandoned a career as a designer of military fortifications to devote himself to the graceful embellishment of the local Burgher architecture.
b. combinations
burgher councillor, burgher senator (see burgher senate) .
1952 G.M. Mills First Ladies of Cape 24There had been an official welcome attended by the burgher councillors, officials and members of the burgher militia.
1976 G. & G. Fagan in Optima Vol.26 No.2, 70He was by now prominent in the community; serving as burgher councillor, captain in the burgher cavalry and as a member of the church council.
2. A citizen; in mod. usage, often ironic.
1819 H. Ellis in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1902) XII. 350Our English Burghers would no doubt equal their Dutch fellow Colonists in courage, and would have stronger motives for loyalty to the paramount, which to them would be the mother country.
1844 E.L. Kift Letter. 5 Sept.From what I know of Grahamstown folk, there is nothing but Martial Law...Nothing short of Martial law will do any thing with my fellow Burghers.
1856 R.E.E. Wilmot Diary (1984) 37The Totties were utterly routed and the place dismantled and granted to a young English burgher who keeps a shop near and treated us to an account of the affair.
1861 P.B. Borcherds Auto-Biog. Mem. 223The lad has now closed his fifteenth year..and the following morning would entitle him to be a burgher (citizen) of his native country, and to be inscribed as such on the rolls of the colony.
1888 Cape Punch 29 Feb. 117‘Would you deign to favour your humble Burgher with a few minutes’ conversation?’ ‘Not now, mynheer,’ he replied.
1939 R.F.A. Hoernlé S. Afr. Native Policy 127An Indian..who has no ambition but to be a citizen, a burger, of South Africa, in the same sense as a White South African.
1970 News/Check 29 May 8While solid burghers heaped disapprobation on them, the student protests with their imprint of ‘made in Europe’, had a curious air of irrelevancy.
1987 Personality 21 Oct. 30The burghers of South Africa’s ostrich capital.
1991 R. Minogue in Frontline May 20A lot of people smoke dope, including otherwise law-abiding, tax-paying burghers.
3. In historical contexts.
a. A civilian member of a local militia unit, mounted, armed, and usually without formal uniform; (influenced by sense 4) a Boer soldier, see quotation 1900. See also commando sense 1 a and 4. Also attributive.
1828 W. Shaw Diary. 5 JulyArrived safely at Mount Coke last night, and heard that Major Dundas with fifty Burghers had left this place for the interior on Friday.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 13 Apr. 62Early the next morning the cattle were sent to the Deba flat, under the protection of the Hottentot Burghers, whilst the troops and boers went eastward towards the spruits of the Buffalo.
1837 J.E. Alexander Narr. of Voy. I. 346I sat as a member of two or three courts-martial at Port Elizabeth on burghers who were insolent to their officers, or refused to mount guard.
1859 Cape Town Weekly Mag. 28 Jan. 27A large commando will again go out against Mahura and the other minor Bechuana tribes, on the 1st February next. The burghers have already been commandeered, and are preparing to turn out.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 20We had no pursuing enemy after us; the road was full for miles behind us with levies, burghers, and cattle.
1884 B. Adams Narr. (1941) 155The C.M. Rifles did considerable execution with their double-barrelled carbines; and the Burghers, I believe, did not waste a single round of their ammunition.
1893 Harley in Cape Illust. Mag. Vol.4 No.10, 376The farmers were called on to volunteer for service..to form a burgher corps. Burghers were to bring their own horses, and, if they preferred, their own arms.
1900 A.W. Carter Informant, Ladybrand 8 Feb.The house..was surrounded by burghers watering their horses, trying to buy fruit, vegetables, bread, meat & anything that was to be had.
1911 D.B. Hook ’Tis but Yesterday 18The settlers were constantly ordered out as burghers to repel the Kaffirs.
1929 D. Reitz Commando 19I was seventeen years old and thus too young to be enrolled as a burgher.
a1930 G. Baumann in Baumann & Bright Lost Republic 170I found the British Tommies and their Burgher guards sitting on the ground together, hobnobbing.
a1930 G. Baumann in Baumann & Bright Lost Republic 183There was no discrimination, when commandeering Free State Burghers, as to whether their origin was English, German or any other nationality.
a1951 H.C. Bosman Willemsdorp (1977) 95That was how the men of his people had ridden to war half-a-century ago — Transvaal Boers and Free State Boers and Cape rebels — a handful of burghers ranging in age from schoolboys to octogenarians, with no uniform but their farm clothes.
b. comb.
burgher camp, concentration camp; also attributive;
burgher duty, military service demanded of citizens;
burgher force, a militia or citizen army whose members could be called on to act together in their own region for purposes of mutual defence (see quotation 1846).
1902 Postmark, MiddelburgBurgher Camp 24 Feb. 1902 Middelburg.
1913 J. Brandt Petticoat Commando 151In the Burgher Camps Department, as the headquarters of the Concentration Camps in Pretoria were called, there were men at work for us too, men who by smuggling through statistics of the high mortality and other facts connected with the Camps, strengthened the hands of the pro-Boers in England.
1934 N. Devitt Mem. of Magistrate 44A mile or so out of town was the large burgher camp.
1934 N. Devitt Mem. of Magistrate 45One day Lord Kitchener rode unexpectedly up to the gate of the burgher camp hospital accompanied by two of his staff.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 31 Aug. 140The Path maker, an officer never above the rank of a farmer, and whose services are gratuitously exacted, under the head of Burgher duty.
a1858 J. Goldswain Chron. (1949) II. 9When we are caled out to do burger dutey we have to find our hone Horses & guns etc. etc. and we are paid when caled out on burger dutey by the hour at one shilling and three pence pur houer for the first day and one fifth less for every day that we might be out at the same time.
1881 Encycl. Brit. XII. 313They complained that while doing burgher duty he had not received the same treatment as others who were serving in defence of the colony.
1846 J.W. Appleyard War of Axe (1971) 40I received a letter from Mr. Shaw stating that war was decided upon in Cape Town, and that an express had gone out to the Country districts to call out the Burgher force.
1846 J. Hare in Imp. Blue Bks Command Paper 786–1847, 108The question of calling out the Burgher force to act in their own wards for the mutual defence of their neighbours I did not hesitate a moment about.
1850 J.E. Methley New Col. of Port Natal 36At Pietermaritzburg many of the respectable inhabitants are formed into a burgher force, on the same principle, and similar in equipment to the English yeomanry.
1851 T. Shone Diary. 5 Mar.The news in the paper is that the army and the Burgher force beats all they come nigh.
1877 R.M. Ballantyne Settler & Savage 347Soon after the arrival of Colonel Smith, burgher forces were collected.
1877 C. Andrews Reminiscences of Kafir War 1834–5. 7Grahamstown was thronged with Hottentot battalions, Burgher forces from Graaf Reinet and other districts, and troops of the line.
1976 D.M.B. Preston Story of Frontier Town 10In 1828 the Fetcani were defeated and dispersed by a Burgher force under Colonel Somerset at Umtata.
4. In historical contexts. An (Afrikaans) citizen of a Boer Republic. Cf. uitlander noun sense b.
1882 C.L. Norris-Newman With Boers in Tvl 48He had never been able to check the constant warfare going on between the Basutos on the one hand, and the Baralong and the Burghers on the other.
1897 F.R. Statham S. Afr. as It Is 19During the thirty-five years of Panda’s chieftainship, from 1838 to 1873, the Zulus and the burghers of the South African Republic lived on reasonably good terms.
1900 H.C. Hillegas Oom Paul’s People 148The difficulty with the Englishmen here is that they want to be burghers and at the same time retain their English citizenship.
1920 R.Y. Stormberg Mrs Pieter de Bruyn 51I wonder how it is that, his father being a Republican burgher and his mother a Dutchwoman, he can carry so much of an Imperial air.
1936 Cambridge Hist. of Brit. Empire VIII. 573As 1896 wore on into 1897, bad times frayed the nerves of all, burghers, Uitlander rank and file, and magnates alike.
1970 Cape Times 19 MayJack Hindon, a Scotsman, came to South Africa..and became a fully fledged and enfranchised burger of the Transvaal Republic in 1895.
1971 H. Zeederberg Veld Express 138Vague rumours of unrest among the natives in Mashonaland had reached the Republic, but the burghers were not particularly interested.
1982 Sunday Times 4 Apr. 23Plans are afoot to commemorate these and other Anglo-Boer War heroes. At an unveiling ceremony last week, maquettes of the ‘banneling’, the ‘burgher’, the ‘bittereinder’, and the ‘agterryer’, were shown.
A Dutch colonist at the Cape, especially under the Dutch East India Company; a townsman, with all the rights and duties of a citizen. Also attributive.
, burgher senatorburgher senate
A citizen; in mod. usage, often ironic.
A civilian member of a local militia unit, mounted, armed, and usually without formal uniform; (influenced by 4) a Boer soldier, see quotation 1900.
An (Afrikaans) citizen of a Boer Republic.
Hence (sense 4) burgheress noun  historical, a female burgher; (sense 1 a and 2) burghership noun, the status or condition, rights, and privileges of citizenship; (sense 1 a and 3) burghery noun  historical, burghers collectively.
1807 Earl of Caledon in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1900) VI. 244Letters of Burghership.
1815 Afr. Court CalendarLetters of burghership R100,00.
1858 F. in Cape Monthly Mag. III. Mar. 148Redress sometimes came for the complaints..of the Burghery, or of the subordinate servants.
1861 P.B. Borcherds Auto-Biog. Mem. 25The next day the signal guns were fired..to call upon the militia (burgery) to proceed with all speed to Cape Town, in order to assist the garrison in the defence of the colony.
1861 E. Prov. Yr Bk & Annual Register 41By Act 8, 1856, of the Colonial Parliament, the privilege of buying landed property has been conceded to foreigners without the possession of a deed of Burghership.
1865 E. Prov. Herald 27 July 3These Fingoes were required to take out certificates of burghership which would effectually protect them from the stringent application of the pass-system.
1901 C.G. Dennison Fight to Finish (1904) 90Dear burgheresses, pray for your husbands, encourage them to go to the front.

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