Causes of the War
After finding diamonds in South Africa, the British tried to unite their colonies in South Africa with that of the Boers. The Boers refused as they realised it was just so the British could take advantage of the new riches in the lands. The British sent in troops to force this, but the Boers fought back and won. This was considered the first Boer War in 1867-1881.
Events of the War
The Second Boer War 1899-1902 started after gold was also found in the South African Boer region. Cecil Rhodes opened many gold mines to farm the gold for the British, and used an influx of British workers to do the mining. When Rhodes backed an attempt to overthrow the Boer leader, tensions came to a climax and the second war broke out. Although the Boer army was small, the British underestimated their military skill and the Boers defeated the British in a number of small battles. The British responded in 1900 by sending 500,000 troops in to fight the 5,000 Boers, and the Boers still managed small defeats. The British were then instructed to set fire to all land belonging to the Boers, and to put all Boers in concentration camps where many died.
Outcomes of the War
Peace came in 1902, when the Boers were forced to surrender. Although there was popular support from the British for the war, it didn’t last long. Although the British only lost 6,000 men in battle, they lost 16,000 from injuries and illnesses, and the Boers lost 7,000 soldiers and around 28,000 civilians.
Significance of the War
The Boer states became British colonies but were told that they could make their own decisions so became the first dominion. Many British volunteers for the army that were deemed unfit for work. This led to the introduction of Free School Meals in 1906, the dole, sickness pay, and pensions.
- Why were the British interested in the Boer colonies?
- Your answer should include: diamonds / gold
- Why did war break out in South Africa in 1899?
- Your answer should include: British / overthrow / Boer / leader / taking / gold
- What were the outcomes of the Boer War?
- Your answer should include: British / won / South Africa / dominion / free / school meals / pensions / benefits / help / health / Britain