The Relief of Mafeking was a key event in the second Boer War.
The town was one of the major British garrisons besieged in late 1899 (October 13), at the start of the war. The 1200 man garrison withstood assault for 217 days before the siege was broken by the British forces commanded by Colonel B.T. Mahon of the army of Lord Frederick Roberts on 12-16 May 1900, the relief dated on the 17th. There were immense celebrations in Britain at the news (briefly creating the verb maffick, meaning to celebrate both extravagantly and publicly) and then-Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, who had headed the defence of the town, was treated as a hero on his return to Britain in 1903.