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Number: 3984
Continent: Africa
Region: South
Place Names: Swaziland, Eswatini, Transvaal, South Africa
Year of Origin: 1910 (estimated)
Title: Sketch Map of Swaziland: Minerals & Metal Concessions. Compiled from Official Records and Local Information by Sydney T. Ryan, Late Managing Director of the Swaziland Tin Mines.
Language: English
Publish Origin: Johannesburg
Height: 74.5
Width: 102.0
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Large
Scale: 1 : 264,286
Color Type: Full Color
Images of this map are not yet available.
Cartographer: Sydney T. Ryan
Engraver: Rand Litho Co.
Publisher: Rand Litho Co.
Other Contributors:
Northernmost Latitude: -25.7
Southernmost Latitude: -27.3
Westernmost Longitude: 30.8
Easternmost Longitude: 32.2
Measurement Notes: on map
Notes: [Dasa Pahor and Alex Johnson source] Sydney Turner RYAN (1860 - 1943). Lithograph with original stenciled colour, dissected into 32 sections and mounted upon original linen, folding into original brown cloth covers with gilt debossed title to front cover, a contemporary manuscript correction to a mining concession name (Good, overall clean, some light toning and few very slight stains, however, there is a conspicuous ember burn in the upper centre (perhaps from a miner?s campfire or pipe!), covers worn and stained with some tattering to spine), 74.5 x 102 cm (29.5 x 40 inches). Extremely rare ? an impressive and brightly coloured large format map of Swaziland (Eswatini) depicting mineral concessions along with a wealth of details, including the locations of towns, ?kraals? (Swazi villages), ?camps?, country general stores, mines, plantations, Christian missionary stations, and infrastructure; drafted by Sydney Turner Ryan, the irrepressible pioneer of the tin industry in Swaziland, during the ?boom? that proceeded and ran through World War I, published in Johannesburg. Swaziland (today known as Eswatini) is a small landlocked country, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 miles) east to west, mostly surrounded by today?s South Africa, save for its border with Mozambique, to its northeast. The nation was founded by the Swazi people in the early 19th century, who immigrated from a nearby region along the Natal-Mozambique border. The Swazis were a warrior-cattle herder society, ruled by an absolute monarchy, which amazingly managed to preserve their independence in the face of both Afrikaner and British encroachment. Britain recognized Swaziland?s independence in 1881, and while the country became a protectorate of the Transvaal in 1894, it managed to largely preserve its autonomy. In 1903, following the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), which left Britain with total masterly over southern Africa, Swaziland was made a British protectorate. While the Swazi king still maintained day-to-day control over his people and their cultural customs, the British set about managing many social services, infrastructure and, importantly, taking control of Swaziland?s natural resource wealth. As only very little tax revenue could be raised from Swazi society, the British hoped that mining profits could help fund the country?s civil administration (in addition to making some British subjects rich!). Swaziland was known to have sizeable deposits of cassiterite (tin bearing ore), which ran in a diagonal line southeast to northwest, in the northwest of the country, while a vein of gold lay to the north, with the eastern areas home to coal deposits. However, there were ?caveats? that made exploiting Swaziland?s mineral wealth prohibitive. The extremely rugged country was distant from ports and railway lines, meaning that ore had to be transported by oxcart many miles over rough roads. Moreover, all supplies had to be brought in, usually from Johannesburg, by the same arduous methods. Additionally, there was a labour shortage, as the Swazi people were a proud, independent lot, who had little interest in backbreaking labour at the hands of foreign masters. Moreover, while viable under certain market conditions, the tin and gold veins in Swaziland were not all that rich, in terms of their yield per ton. T he present map was made by Sydney Turner Ryan, a native of the Eastern Cape, who was the irrepressible pioneer of the tin industry in Swaziland. The former police off icer spent almost two decades tirelessly attempting various tin mining ventures, which all ended in financial failure, before he managed to make a great success of it during the ?tin boom? that occurred in the run up to and during World War I. Around 1910, at the heigh of the heyday of tin mining in Swaziland, Ryan drafted the present map, which was published in Johannesburg. It has the distinction of being one of the very few large format pre-World War I maps of the country, and one of the most technically impressive maps published in Johannesburg during its era. T he main map shows Swaziland divided into dozens of brightly coloured mining concessions, all with European names. These concessions were awarded by the British protectorate regime, and while other landowners maintained their general property rights, the minerals below the surface were open to exploitation by the concession holders. To the left-hand side of the map, is a detailed list of the concessions and the names of their holders (whether individuals or companies), providing a valuable source for academic research into Swaziland history. Swaziland?s prime tin mining areas extended in a diagonal line from Bremersdorp up the Carlton on the Transvaal border. This area contained to the densest concentration of tin concessions and was also the most populated and developed part of the country, home to the capital ?Embabaan? (Mbabane), with the easiest access to transportation and communications networks. While the map has a clean, uncluttered appearance, it features a vast wealth of information, labelling the locations of dozens of ?kraals? (Swazi villages), and named towns, ?camps?, country general stores, mines, farms / plantations and Christian missionary stations, while the various roads and ox cart trails that traverse the country are delineated, including the vital ?Main Transport Road from Bremersdorp to Delgoa? (the link to the port of Louren? Marques, Mozambique). Importantly, the map marks the two telegraph lines that enter Swaziland from the northwest, the country?s only real-time connection to the outside world. T he inset map, in the bottom centre, contextualizes Swaziland?s location, and notes the general placement of the country?s tin, gold and deposits. The map charts the proposed line of a projected railway which was to run from Johannesburg to the port of Louren? Marques (today Maputo), in Mozambique, a project that was agreed by an Anglo-Portuguese treaty in 1902. This line, which would run through Swaziland, promised to liberate the country?s economy, however, the project was not realized in its era (the railway was only built from Louren? Marques as far as Goba, near the Swazi border, in 1905). It would not be until the 1960s that railway lines were built on Swazi territory. In the upper left, is a complex and colourful geological cross-section of Swaziland, entitled and ?Ideal Section from Steynsdorp to Lebombo?, with its route marked as the line ?A to B? on the large map. A Note on Rarity T he map is extremely rare. It would have been made in only a small print run, while the survival rate of large African maps meant to be used by miners on the field is extremely low. We can trace only a single institutional example of the map, held by the Rhodes University Library (Grahamstown, South Africa). Moreover, we are aware of only a single other example as having appeared on the market in the last generation. Sydney T. Ryan: Irrepressible Pioneer of Tin Mining in Swaziland Sydney Turner Ryan (1860 -1943) was the driving force behind the early tin mining industry in Swaziland, and a leading figure in the country in general. A native of Somerset East, Eastern Cape, he initially pursued career in law enforcement, being appointed as the Police Chief of Swaziland in 1888. Around 1890, during a trip to a farm in the Transvaal which was home to confirmed cassiterite (tin ore) deposits, he noticed that the soil there was remarkably like that found along the Malotja (aka Malotsha) River near Mbabane, the Swazi capital, where he lived. In 1892, Ryan, who had helpfully been appointed as the Justice of the Peace for northwestern Swaziland, duly formed the the Ryan Company Swaziland, Ltd. to exploit the Malotja tin deposits, purchasing pieces of the Forbes mining concessions in the northwest of the country. Ryan?s party promptly dug up two to three tons of ore to be sent off for analysis. In league with Offy Shepstone, the British Resident Advisor in Mbabane, he formed the Ryan Tin Syndicate, which managed to attract seed capital from Johannesburg investors. It acquired 50,000 acres of mining concessions the Mbabane and Ezulwini areas, with his mines becoming operational in 1896. Meanwhile, several smaller mining endeavors sprang up, seeking the same bonanza. However, Swaziland?s remoteness from markets, labour shortages and inefficient mining practices ensured that virtually all the early tin mining operations were unprofitable. The Ryan Tin Syndicate went into liquidation in 1898. Over the next few years, Ryan made a living in the wool industry, whole he bided his time to resume his dream of making a fortune from tin. As an aside, Ryan is also known in archaeological circles, for through his mining operations he uncovered several great artifacts, the most important of which were a series prehistoric stone tools which he sent to London, which were received with great interest. In March 1905, Ryan became the head of the Swaziland Tin, Ltd., just in time to take advantage of the rapid and extreme rise in tin prices that by 1906 soared to over ?200 a ton. This made Swaziland?s tin endeavours profitable, despite their operational shortcomings. Ryan made the present sent map around 1910, when the tin operations in Swaziland were booming, buoyed by industrial growth in Europe and America. Tin process remained high right though World War I (the metal was immensely important for munitions production). Between 1905 and 1920, tin accounted for 50% of Swaziland's exports by value, and greatly improved the economic standard of the country. Tin prices decreased in the 1920s, such that the industry fell into decline, leading to the abandonment of most mines. However, Ryan?s persistence paid off, as he made a f ine fortune that allowed him to retire in comfort. References: Rhodes University Library (Grahamstown, South Africa): Gold Fields Collection: F(12) j 1; ?RYAN, Mr Sydney Turner (archaeology)?, in S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science (online): f inal.php?serial=3370; Huw M. JONES, A Biographical Register of Swaziland to 1902 (Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1993), pp. 508, 652; J??e VIALATTE, Swaziland, un royaume en Afrique australe: Bibliographie th?atique comment?, 1886-2000 (Bordeaux: CEAN, Institut d'Etude Politique de Bordeaux, 2001), p. 74; Charles Stewart WALLACE, Swaziland; a Bibliography (Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand, 1967), p. 11. Cf. [Tin mining in Swaziland:] Jonathan CROUCH, Tin Mining in the Valley of Heaven, African Studies Seminar Paper (Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand, African Studies Institute, March 1987).
Last updated: Mar 10, 2022