War and Conflict

Boer Wars

What were the Boer Wars?

They were conflicts between the British and the Afrikaners (or Boers, who were Dutch descendants living in South Africa) at the end of the nineteenth century in what is today South Africa. The first war, a Boer rebellion, broke out in 1880 when the British and the Afrikaners fought over the Kimberley area (Griqualand West), where a diamond field had been discovered. The fighting lasted a year, at which time the South African Republic (established in 1856) was restored. But the stability would not last long: In 1886 gold was discovered in the Transvaal, and though the Afrikaner region was too strong for the British to attempt to annex it, they blocked the Afrikaners’ access to the sea. In 1899 the Afrikaner republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal joined forces in a war against Britain. The fighting raged until 1902, when the Afrikaners surrendered. For a time after the Boer War (also called the South African War), the Transvaal became a British crown colony. In 1910 the British government combined its holdings in southern Africa into the Union of South Africa.


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