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British South Africa Company Medal (Matabeleland 1893): CM.1319-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: Birmingham
Issuer: British South Africa Company
Artist: Caton Woodville, R.
Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901)
Ruler: Victoria regina (With the title of)




The British South Africa Company was established by Cecil Rhodes in an attempt to match the successes of the British East India Company from the base of the British Cape Colony (now South Africa) into the briefly-Portuguese territories to the north, an area soon known as Rhodesia. The Company, given a royal charter in 1889, recruited its own forces and from 1890 onwards significant engagements resulted in the award of this medal to those troops.
One of their opponents was Lobengula Kumalo, King of the Matabele, a Zulu people who had established a separate nation in the early nineteenth century. This nation became one of the BSAC's target territories and fear of the imminent colonisation led to attacks on Company territories in Bechuanaland (in the Cape Colony, now South Africa) in 1893. The attacks were met with Maxim guns and slaughter by the far better-equipped Company troops, although this did not prevent the Matabele from rising again in 1896.
The bar on this medal, which was awarded to Trooper M. E. Burns of the Bechuanaland Border Police, indicates participation in the 1893 campaign. Lester Watson purchased the medal at some point before 1928.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt before 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.7 mm
Weight: 37.75 g

Place(s) associated

  • Birmingham

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


Production date: AD 1894

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left with veil

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Lion with spear in chest leaping over African native wargear, brush behind

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1319-2009
Primary reference Number: 141413
Watson Catalogue: 224
Ordering: M-0202
Previous object number: LW.0202
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 22 January 2022 Last processed: Tuesday 13 June 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "British South Africa Company Medal (Matabeleland 1893)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-09-23 16:51:46

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{{cite web|url= |title=British South Africa Company Medal (Matabeleland 1893) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-09-23 16:51:46|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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