What were the causes of the Boer War?

Outlines the causes of the Boer War

  • Created by: Rachel
  • Created on: 10-04-09 08:31


  • During the Napoleonic Wars, Britain seized the southern tip of South Africa from the Dutch, and British settlers joined the Dutch as farmers and traders
  • In 1833, the British abolished slavery across the empire. The Dutch farmers (or Boers) disliked this reform and British control, and began to move north.
  • British power followed them, and in the 1840's Natal was annexed
  • The Voortrekkers established 2 dutch states beyond the GB empire: The Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic
  • The British acknowledged these states, provided they abolish slavery
  • The dutch were dependant on communication through British territory
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The Zulu Wars, 1879-80

  • In the 1870's, Britain simed to tidy up their control of South Africa by weakednin gthe dominant native power (the Zulus) and federating the 4 white states (Natal, Transvaal Republic, Orange Free State and cape province)
  • The Boer states were annexed the face of Zulu Power
  • Transvaal very poor
  • War began with disaster at Islandhlwana- most of one GB regiment wiped out (shortage in screwdrivers led to a delay in opening ammunitions)
  • days later a comapny of the same regiment used the Martini Henry Rifle to win at "Rhorke's Drift"
  • 4th 1879- Zulu Power destroyed at Ulandi
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The First Boer War

  • The "first Boer War" took place as after the Zulu threat had been removed, the Boers of the Transvaal demanded their independance back
  • Boers defeated the British at the battle of Majuba Hill (the first boer was, feb 1881)
  • The British conceded to the Boer demands- but were going to even before the battle took place, as Gladston (PM) and the liberal government had decided Britain was overstretched due to troops in Afghanistan
  • Boers thought that their show of strength had paid off when really they were going to be granted independance anyway
  • Kruger: had this opinion, thought that any future demands could be gained by swift military victory. His standing within the TR rose.
  • He was leader of the Boer militants and from 1883 President of the TR
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  • In 1886, vas gold deposits were found in the Transvaal republic
  • It became very rich and therefore a threat to the British Empire
  • Produced 27% of the world's gold by 1898- suddenly independant, could be the centre of a new, rich Boer Empire
  • The TR bought in weapons from the German Empire and also sought diplomatic help and protection from them
  • Many "uitlanders"- British immigrants- went to the TR to find jobs and money
  • But were not treated very well and were unhappy about high taxes, corruption in the TR and the fact that they were denied political rights
  • Uitlanders and mine owners preferred British rule to the old fashioned, protestant rule of the Boer Farmers.
  • GB pressed for better rights for uitlanders and the High Commissioner, Milner, used this as an excuse to take over
  • BOER ULTIMATUM, 9th October 1899
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Marxist Historians often see the war as capitalist, fought for gold and the profits of mine owners

Other historians say it was a struggle for British power dominance in South Africa- they sought establish their superiority over the Transvaal Republic on a firmer basis

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