Last updated 2011-03-29. Following this, between 8 000 and 10 000 Boers gathered at Paardekraal, near Krugersdorp on 8 December 1880.  © Civilians suffered terribly. The British were not the first in the modern age to use the concentration camp system. The Times History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902 by Amery, L.S., ed. The Spanish General Valeriano 'Butcher Weyler had enforced a similar system on a far larger scale to crush a rebellion in Cuba in 1896, leaving more than 100,000 dead.  © The Boers saw this as a way for the British government to interfere in Transvaal affairs and this led to tension between Britain and SAR. In 1880 the Boers revolted, and the Transvaal declared its independence from Great Britain. The ultimatum had demanded that all disputes between the two states be settled by arbitration; that British troops on the borders be withdrawn; and that troops bound for South Africa by ship should not disembark. The Boer War Genocide: Inside History’s First Concentration Camps View Gallery While the matter remains one of debate, many contend that history's first concentration camps were built in South Africa, 41 years before the Holocaust began. The Transvaal public was disappointed with their leadership and although Sekhukhune agreed to peace in February 1877, and was willing to pay a fine to the Republic, it was too late. (7 Vols. In the diplomatic tussle that followed, Kruger refused to budge, despite a meeting with Milner in Bloemfontein in May - June 1899. Sir Owen Lanyon replaced Shepstone as administrator in 1879. Things went horribly wrong because of the poor administration of the camps by the British and their callous lack of care.). In the last six months of the war, 5,400 of them joined the British Army as collaborators ('joiners'), with General Piet de Wet becoming one of the leaders of the Orange River Colony Volunteers. At the time the British government wanted to expand the British Empire. The Volksraad decided in May 1877 to send a delegation to England to make sure that the British government knew that most of the residents of the Transvaal Republic did not agree with the annexation but this delegation failed.. Moreover, black communities drove Boer commandos and families from large areas of the Transvaal, thus further curtailing Boer operations and contributing to the Boer acceptance of the peace terms. On 13 March 1900, Lord Roberts, the British commander in chief, occupied Bloemfontein and on 5 June 1900 he took Pretoria. Colley was among the dead. In the first half of the 20th century Afrikaaner leaders effectively used the suffering and deaths in the Boer camps to promote Afrikaaner nationalism. They had assumed that the Boers were no match for the superior might of the British military force. Once the enemy was located by efficient scouting, the commando would approach in a solid column under cover of dead ground in order to get within effective rifle range. Meanwhile, the main force under Piet Joubert was bent on preventing the British relieving force under Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley, the governor of Natal and high commissioner for South East Africa, from entering the Transvaal from Natal. After the First Boer War, the South African Republic and Orange Free State were recognised by Britain but eventually re-annexed after the Second Boer War. Herbert sent Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the former Secretary for Native Affairs in Natal, to the Transvaal as special commissioner. They failed and in 1878 they took a petition with more than 6 500 signatures from Boers to London, but the British government insisted that the Transvaal remain a British possession. Although the commandos had had mixed success against the indigenous black societies within their borders, they were to prove their mettle in the wars against the British. First Boer War The following battles of the First Boer War are described and illustrated under this title: Battle of Majuba Hill on 27th February 1881 in the First Boer War: General Colley is shown on the left: picture by Richard Caton Woodville: buy a black and white version of this picture The republicans acquired the name 'Boers' - the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmers. At first, the Boer republican fighters were successful in three major offensives. There were two Boer wars, one ran from 16 December 1880 - 23 March 1881 and the second from 9 October 1899 - 31 May 1902 both between the British and the settlers of Dutch origin (called Boere, Afrikaners or Voortrekkers) who lived in South Africa. They reinstated the republic, led by a triumvirate consisting of Vice President Paul Kruger, Commandant-General Piet Joubert and MW Pretorius. In 1880, there was little up-to-date British artillery available, compared with the recent Zulu War. The new state was also not allowed to expand towards the West. became a rallying cry of the British during Second Anglo-Boer War. On 5 March 1881 Sir Evelyn Wood and Piet Joubert agreed on an armistice in order to start peace negotiations at O’Neill’s cottage, which lay between the British and Boer lines. Burgers did very little tried to stop Britain from taking over the Transvaal. The Afrikaans edition won three major awards. Prior to the war the British had been building a fort in Potchefstroom. Milner, a self-acknowledged race patriot, resolved that if the Transvaal would not reform, war would be the only way to eliminate a Boer oligarchy threatening British supremacy and to facilitate the development of the gold mining industry. The commando formation for driving home an attack was a loose swarm intent on outflanking the opponents. After peace had been negotiated a British royal commission was appointed to draw up the Transvaal’s status and new borders. The relief of Mafeking on 17 May 1900 caused tumultuous joy in Britain, making the commander of the relieved garrison, Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, an instant hero throughout the British empire. However, it is worth noting that there is very little similarity between the Nazi camps and the concentration camps established by the British army in the second Boer War. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Shepstone arrived in the Transvaal on 22 January 1877 with 25 men as support. In the British army the officers were from the gentry and the professional middle classes, and the recruits from the poorest sections of society. The burghers elected these officers, including the commandant-general of the Transvaal. The latter were not set up with the express intention of exterminating a section of the human race, but to deprive the Boer commandos of supplies and to induce the burghers to surrender. In the first Boer War the British uniform consisted of the serge frock, which was scarlet for the infantry and engineers, dark green for the rifles and blue for all others. Many Afrikaaners today refer to them as the Anglo-Boer Wars to denote the official warring parties. [1] Firing from medium to long range – 300 to 1,400 yards – was delivered in volleys. Settler Colonialism and Afrikaner Nationalism, Fort Beaufort, Amatola District, Eastern Cape, Tugela River in the Drakensberg- KwaZulu Natal. en It covers the War of 1812, Rebellions of 1837 and 1838, North West Campaign, South African War (Boer War), First World War and Second World War. With both republican capitals in British hands, he annexed the Free State as the Orange River Colony on 24 May 1900 and the Transvaal on 1 September 1900. In the aftermath of the war the South African Republic (Tranvaal) regained its independence. 1851.—First Basuto war. The Boer experience therefore came as a total surprise. Alarmed by the Jameson Raid, the governments of the Transvaal and the Free State started arming themselves. The colony remained nearly bankrupt and British plans to build a railroad to Delagoa Bay had to be put on hold. In 1877 the British annexed the Transvaal, claiming the territory as their own. There were three distinct phases to the War: Stage 1 - Boer offensive. Although the word suzerainty did not appear in the London Convention, the SAR still had to get permission from the British government for any treaty entered into with any other country other than the Orange Free State. A turning point in the death rate in the Boer camps came about by November 1901, after the Fawcett Ladies Commission had made some recommendations for improvement. Alarmed by the Jameson Raid, the governments of the Transvaal and the Free State had started arming themselves. People often call this first Boer War as the Transvaal War or First Anglo-Boer War. The first shots were fired in Potchefstroom. In December 1880 the Boers of the Transvaal in southern Africa rebelled against their British rulers. British Native commissioners were trying to control the black people in the area, but they could not get Sekhukhune and the Pedi to pay the fine he owed to the Transvaal Republic because they did not have enough soldiers to force him to do so. Soon afterwards the Boers started firing on the fort from three directions. Here are other interesting facts about Boer War below: Facts about Boer War 1: Sir Theophilus Shepstone At the first battle at Bronkhorstspruit, Lieutenant-Colonel Anstruther and 120 men of the 94th Foot (Connaught Rangers) were dead or wounded by Boer fire within minutes of the first shots. This war was fought from December 16, 1880, until March 23 the following year. They had a greater magazine capacity than the Mauser – ten rounds – but had to be loaded one round at a time, while the Mauser could be loaded quickly from clips. The Boer force is the classic example of a citizen army, because virtually the entire white male population of the republics between the ages of sixteen and 60 was conscriptable for unpaid military service. The magnitude of their defencelessness may be appraised from the fact that they had over 200 casualties killed and wounded, whereas the Boers lost only one man killed and one who died later of his wounds. Moreover, their occupation of Boer land during the second Boer War was not recognised, and they did not receive an extension of the qualified franchise (practiced in the Cape Colony and Natal) to the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony. There are two simple monuments on the battlefield: an obelisk erected by the Boers, and a rectangular column commemorating the British fatalities. Captain Brook was told about the armistice on 22 March 1881, but decided to keep on defending the fort. Initially, the Transvaal Boers adopted a policy of passive resistance. In January 1878 a large group of Boers gathered in Pretoria to protest against the annexation. On 26 February 1881 Colley decided to march on Majuba with 554 men, where the Boers had an outpost. The Boer Republics declared war on 11th October 1899 and the conflict ended on 31st May 1902, a duration of 2 years and 8 months. The Transvaal was given a new Western border and adopted the name of the South African Republic (SAR). In this way the resistance of about 20,000 Boer bitter-enders was to continue for almost two more years, in what is known as the guerrilla phase of the war. Although the leaders of both the Boers and the British believed that this should be a 'white man’s war', black people played an important part, and also suffered severely. The Boers had some help from their neighbours in the Orange Free State. The First Boer War lasted only a few short months, from December 1880 until March 1881. Between 1835 and 1845, about 15,000 Voortrekkers (people of Dutch extract) moved out of the (British) Cape Colony across the Gariep (Orange) River into the interior of South Africa. When Lord Roberts occupied Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State, he invited Boers … Another Boer delegation had gone to London in 1877, but they also returned unsuccessful in 1879, even though they spoke to Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Carnarvon's successor, who was far less committed to confederation. On 11 October 1899, the second Boer War broke out after Britain rejected the Transvaal ultimatum. It was about 165 miles or 265 km north of Pretoria.Two companies of the 94th regiment that had been positioned in Lydenburg arrived at Marabastad in February 1880 and on 29 November 1880 they were ordered to march into Pretoria. Former President T. F. Burgers and other people loyal to the former Transvaal Republic objected to the annexation and Paul Kruger and E. J. P. Jorissen went to London, England, in 1877 to present their case to Carnarvon. The Boers had about 7 000 soldiers, and some Free Staters joined their fellow Boers against the British enemy. Colley’s men reached the top of the mountain in the early hours of the morning and were very tired. Secondly, Roberts’ 'concentration camp' system was expanded, wherein civilians were confined in camps, especially women and children whose houses had been burned. The red British uniforms made soldiers easy targets while the Boers who simply wore their civilian clothing, had good enemy cover. Sir Evelyn Wood was appointed as his second-in-command, and Colley wanted him to lead in the extra soldiers from Newcastle. In each of the four battles of this First War of Independence for the Transvaal, the Boers decisively defeated the British Army: at Bronkhorstspruit 20 December 1880, Laing�s Nek 28 January 1881, Ingogo (Skuinshoofte), 8 February 1881 and Majuba 27 February 1881. They were skilled with firearms because they hunted often. His book, 'Life on Commando during the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902', was runner-up for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. At 7 a.m., a force of 150 Boers in three divisions under veld-cornets S J Roos, J Ferreira and D J Malan began to climb from ledge to ledge up the mountain, firing steadily and effectively on the British as they climbed. The southern part of the African continent was dominated in the 19th century by a set of epic struggles to create within it a single unified state. 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