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The Boers

xRxExFoyxJan 9, 2018, 7:53:55 AM

Have you ever heard of the Boers? Their history is a large inspiration to my blogging as it pertains to rebels fighting against a superpower for independence.

Cape Colony of South Africa was established in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company and the British gained control of it during the Napoleonic Wars. Resenting British rule, the Boers were Dutch and Germanic pioneers from this colony who decided to migrate eastward to become farmers and establish independent self-governed states known as the “Boer Republics”.

British pioneers and investors had a strong interest in the wealth of South Africa and were scheming to annex the Boer Republics through a variety of methods. They finally got their chance in the 1870’s during the Anglo-Zulu war, when the Boer Republics were annexed under the guise to secure them against the Zulus. After the Zulu threat was defeated, the British started to violate earlier treaties they made with Boers. In 1880 the Boers started to violently resist taxes placed on them by the British government. Taking the initiative, the Boers organized a militia of irregular commandos and within 4 months defeated the few British garrisons in the area. Choosing not to have a distant foreign war, Britain agreed to peace terms in which the Boers had full control of their internal affairs but accepted the Queen's nominal rule and British control over external relations, African affairs, and native districts.

Over the next 15 years many foreigners migrated to the Boer Republics following the discovery of the largest gold and diamond mines in the world. The Boers called these migrants “uitlanders” and were concerned they would start to threaten Boer sovereignty within their republics. Special interests schemed again to have the British annex Boer territory and used expanding the uitlander’s voting franchise as justification for British intervention. British interests instigated a poorly planned uprising known as Jameson’s Raid to stir up the large uitlander populations against the Boer states. The Boers easily suppressed this uprising and started to prepare for war.

After negotiations failed, the Boers took the initiative again overwhelming the small British military presence and placing the major settlements under siege. Unlike the first war, the British chose to commit to a drawn out overseas campaign to settle the dispute permanently. The British sent a professional military force of over 400,000 men to fight the Boer's irregular militia of 40,000 men.

The Boer's were armed with state of the art 5-round bolt-action Mauser rifles and about 100 modern artillery pieces. The first attempts to relieve the sieges were disasters for the British and they quickly realized that the war wasn’t going to be easy. Eventually the British regained control of their territory and the Boer capitals, but still struggled to deal with the large numbers of commando guerrillas. A scorched earth policy was implemented to destroy all the farms. They also rounded up all the women and children into in concentration camps where 20,000 of them died. The war sparked domestic and international outrage for the British and remains blemish on their history. The Boers became admired for their military prowess and struggle for independence.

(This is an image showing 3 generations of Boer Commandos)

[Online References]

*** Early history of Boer Republics:

(http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/dutch-settlement ) (http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=osh )

(https://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/crane/great.htm )


(https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sand-River-and-Bloemfontein-conventions )

***First Boer War:

*A President of a Boer Republic, Paul Kruger explains in his memoirs the first war for independence against the British in detail: (http://www.politicsweb.co.za/news-and-analysis/the-first-war-of-independence--paul-kruger )

*Detailed Summary (http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/first-anglo-boer-war )


*Pretoria Convention & Peace:


***Second Boer War

*Review of the causes:

(http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/second-anglo-boer-war-1899-1902) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/513944.stm )

*Uitlander history:

(http://www.litnet.co.za/paul-kruger-uitlander-franchise-english-language-newspapers-south-african-republic-1895/ )

Boer & Uitlander Book: (https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/12761/005_p150-199.pdf?sequence=2)

*Jameson Raid:


(http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/jameson-raid )

*Overview and Timeline of the War:

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/boer_wars_01.shtml )

(http://www.bwm.org.au/site/Timeline.php )

(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3719664/Fascinating-rare-photographs-showing-brave-British-soldiers-Boer-War.html )

*Boer Concentration Camps:

(http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/women-children-white-concentration-camps-during-anglo-boer-war-1900-1902 )

(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/dec/09/paulharris.theobserver )

(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4850592/Photos-reveal-plight-Afrikaners-concentration-camps.html )

(https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/from-the-archive-blog/2011/may/19/guardian190-south-africa-concentration-camps )

*International and domestic opposition to the conflict:

(http://www.historytoday.com/david-nash/boer-war-and-its-humanitarian-critics )

(http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/781/4/propaganda-public-opinion-and-the-second-south-african-boer-war )

(https://mulpress.mcmaster.ca/russelljournal/article/view/1957/1983 )

*Casualties and numbers of the Boer Wars: