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Sir William Thomas Smartt(Ireland, 22 February 1858 - Cape Town, 17 April 1929) was a South African politician, and founder and leader of the Unionist Party.
He graduated in medicine at Trinity College Dublin in 1880 and left for South Africa where he went to Britstown as physician. A keen farmer, he later founded the Smartt Syndicate, one of the largest dams in the then Cape Colony at Houwater near Britstown. He kept good relationships with local farmers and was an enthusiastic member of the Afrikaner Bond.
Smartt was chairman of the commission called Scab in 1892 and his report led to the Organisation nominating him as their candidate for the constituency in Wodehouse in the 1894 general election. He took his place in the Cape Legislative Assembly. In 1897, when Rhodes's government fell, Smartt was interior minister in Sir Gordon Sprigg's cabinet. In 1898 the Sprigg government also collapsed and Smartt was a member of the Legislative Assembly to be elected in Cathcart. With the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899 he was with Rhodes in Kimberley when it was besieged. He went on to become a commissioner in 1900 (Minister) for public works, but withdrew his support of Sprigg when the latter was opposed to the abolition of the Constitution. Smartt increased pressure for his claims to the premiership of Cape Colony in 1904 on Leander Starr Jameson, but was minister of lands and public works in Jameson's cabinet from 1904 to 1908.
As acting prime minister in 1905 he supported the expansion of the colony for white settlements in Kakamas and set up a select committee for the allocation of vacant Crown land to eligible applicants. From 1908 to 1909 Smartt member of the National Convention, paving the way for the Union in 1910. In 1911 he founded the British Unionist wing, the Official Opposition in Parliament to the South African Party. He followed Jameson as party leader in 1912. Meanwhile, as his first election after unification, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Fort Beaufort. He was removed in 1915 and again in 192. In 1920, he signed a coalition agreement with Gen.Jan Smuts and was minister of agriculture.When Gen. Jan Smuts was defeated in 1924, Smartt became as second in command of the Official Opposition.
He retired from politics before the 1929 election and died on 17 April that same year.
The Second Anglo-Boer War had no sooner commenced with the ultimatum of the Transvaal Republic on 9 October 1899, than Mr Schreiner found himself called upon to deal with the conduct of Cape rebels. The rebels joined the invading forces of President Steyn, whose false assurances Mr Schreiner had offered to an indignant House of Assembly only a few weeks before. The war on the part of the Republics was evidently not to be merely one of self-defence. It was one of aggression and aggrandisement. Mr Schreiner ultimately addressed, as prime minister, a sharp remonstrance to President Steyn for allowing his burghers to invade the colony. He also co-operated with Sir Alfred Milner, and used his influence to restrain the Bond.
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Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts, OM, CH, ED, KC, FRS was a prominent South African and Commonwealth statesman, military leader, and philosopher. He served as a Boer General during the Boer War, a British General during the First World War and was appointed Field Marshal by King George VI during the Second World War. In addition to various cabinet appointments, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. From 1917 to 1919 he was one of five members of the British War Cabinet, helping to create the Royal Air Force. He played a leading part in the post-war settlements at the end of both world wars, making significant contributions towards the creation of the League of Nations and the United Nations. He did much to redefine the relationship between Britain and the Dominions and Colonies, leading to the formation of the British Commonwealth.
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