Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Boer Wars

Boer Commandos at Spion Kop
The Boer Wars — known in Afrikaans as Vryheidsoorloë (literally "freedom wars") — were two wars fought during 1880-1881 and 1899-1902 by the British Empire against the two independent Boer republics, the Oranje Vrijstaat (Orange Free State) and the Republiek van Transvaal (Transvaal Republic). They are increasingly referred to as "the South African War" since the black population of South Africa was also involved in the conflicts.
The First Anglo-Boer War (1880–1881), was a rebellion of Boers (farmers) against British rule in the Transvaal that re-established their independence. The conflict occurred against the backdrop of the Pretoria government becoming increasingly ineffective at dealing with growing claims on South African land from rival interests within the country.
The Second War (1899–1902), by contrast, was a lengthy war—involving large numbers of troops from many British possessions, which ended with the conversion of the Boer republics into British colonies (with a promise of limited zelf-bestuur). These colonies later formed part of the Union of South Africa. The British fought directly against the Transvaal and the Oranje Vrijstaat, defeating their forces first in open warfare and then in a long and bitter guerrilla campaign. British losses were high due to both disease and combat. The policies of "scorched earth" and civilian internment in concentration camps (adopted by the British to prevent support for the farmers/Boer commando campaign) ravaged the civilian populations in the Transvaal and the Oranje Vrijstaat.

“Finished husking what corn was in the barn this forenoon.  Picked it up after dinner and then put away the tools.  Pleasant this afternoon.”

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