South African Orange Province, where he was born, was at that time an autonomous Boer State (Boers are descendants of Dutch immigrants in the southern part of Africa).
On this day the anniversary of the birth of writer J. R. R. Tolkien is celebrated. He was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa under the full name of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Orange Province where he was born was at that time an autonomous Boer State, and Tolkien’s father was a manager of the local English bank, who moved there with his wife from the UK before Tolkien’s birth.
Tolkien spent his early childhood in South Africa and moved to England with his mother at a time his father died. In England, his mother converted to Catholicism, despite strong protests by her Baptist family. She died of diabetes when Tolkien was only 12 years old (at that time there was still no insulin). Before her death, she assigned the guardianship and upbringing of her children to a priest named Francis Xavier Morgan, because she wanted the children to be brought up as Catholics. Indeed, Tolkien remained a devout Catholic to the end of his life.
He studied at Oxford. At one occasion during his youth he was hiking in Switzerland, in a group of 12 people, crossing the alpine peaks. He later admitted that these memories inspired him to write the scenes where the Fellowship of the Ring journeys across the Misty Mountains in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien became a professor at Oxford. At first he was the professor of Anglo-Saxon and then of English Language and Literature. The study of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf inspired him in many ways when writing The Lord of the Rings, as well as his strong Catholic faith. He died at the age of 81.