By Eamon O Buadhacháin
Many Irishmen have travelled away from the Emerald Isle to be part of democracies around the world, but one Irishman went one step further and had a country named after him.
Die Republiek van Upingtonia or the Republic of Upingtonia was a Boer republic from 20th October 1885 until 1886, when it was placed under the protection of the Germans in what was then called Damaraland.
What is now part of Namibia, the Republic of Upingtonia was named after Thomas Upington.
Upington was born in Rathnee, near Mallow in Cork on 28th October, 1844. He was educated at Cloyne Diocesan School, Mallow, and at Trinity College, Dublin.
In 1874, he emigrated to the Cape Colony in South Africa where four years later he was elected to the State legislature. He was immediately appointed Attorney General of the Cape Province, a position he held until 1881.
He became the fourth Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in 1884, after the growing Afrikaner Bond Party compelled the government of Premier Thomas Scanlen, the son of Irish parents to retire.
He was appointed to form a government but held office for only two turbulent and strife-torn years, in what subsequently became known as the ‘Warming-pan’ Ministry.