Mafeking was originally the headquarters of the Barolong tribe of Bechuana and is still their largest station, the native location (pop. 2860) being about a mile distant from the town.
The great bulk of the people are Basuto, but there are some thousands of Barolong and other Kaffirs.
The Barolong, Bakwena and other Bechuana tribes, through whose lands the " lower road " ran, claimed however to be independent, among them Sechele (otherwise Setyeli), at whose chief kraalKolobeng - Livingstone was then stationed.
This territory was claimed by the South African Republic, by Barolong and Batlapin Bechuanas, by Koranas, and also by David Arnot, on behalf of the Griqua captain, Nicholas Waterboer.
The Barolong, one of the oldest Bechuana tribes, are believed to have entered the country subsequently to the Bakuena, the particular tribe from which the general name of the race is derived(seeBECxnANA; andTRANSVAAL: Inhabitants).
Barolong numbered 37,998 and other Bechuana 5115.
In Thaba'nchu a petty Barolong state enjoyed autonomy up to 1884, and the majority of the Barolong are found in that district and the adjoining district of Bloemfontein.
The emigrants were treated with great kindness by Moroko, the chief of that tribe, and with the Barolong the Boers maintained uniformly friendly relations.
It is the headquarters of the Barolong tribe, and although within the Cape border is the seat of the administration of the protectorate.
Although under strong British influence the country was nevertheless ruled by its own chiefs, among whom the best-known in the middle of the 19th century were Montsioa, chief of the Barolong, and Sechele, chief of the Bakwena and the friend of Livingstone.
At a later date (1865) the Boers tried to raise taxes from the Barolong, but without success, a commando sent against them in 1868 being driven off by Montsioa's brother Molema.
The Boers then resorted to cajolery, and at a meeting held in August 1870, at which President Pretorius and Paul Kruger represented the Transvaal, invited the Barolong to join their territories with that of the republic, in order to save them from becoming British.
In the following year the claims of the Boers, the Barolong, and other tribes were submitted to the arbitration of R.
Burgers, the president of the Transvaal in 187 2, endeavoured to replace Montsioa as chief of the Barolong by Moshette, whom he declared to be the rightful ruler and paramount chief of that people.
These representations on the part of the Barolong, and the Bamangwato under Khama, supported by the representations of Cape politicians, led in 1878 to the military occupation of southern Bechuanaland by a British force under Colonel (afterwards General Sir Charles) Warren.