Why did the Second Boer War break out?

  • Created by: alannah
  • Created on: 17-04-11 21:18

South Africa had been colonized by the Dutch in the seventeenth century. The Dutch set up two Boer republics: The Orange Free State and the South African Republic, together known as the Transvaal. The British also colonized South Africa creating states known as: Cape Colony and Natal, due to a series of conflicts involving slavery The British and Boer’s became embroiled into conflict, which led to the first Boer War.

The First Boer War was fought between 1880 and 1881. The war was fought by the British and the Dutch shortly after the success of the Zulu wars during the 1870’s. With further Zulu threat irradiated, the Boers of the Transvaal now demanded for their independence from the British back. The British, led by a new liberal government under William Gladstone were reluctant to resist the Boer demands. But due to fighting in Afghanistan, were too stretched to resist and resisted to Boer demands, unfortunately only after a humiliating defeat on 400 troops at Majuba Hill in February 1881. The defeated British Empire withdrew from the Transvaal, it’s tale between its legs, defeated by Paul Kruger (the leader of the Boer militants and President of the Transvaal Republic, from 1883).

For a time Britain aimed its imperial dreams elsewhere however new tension arose between the Anglo-Boer situation when vast amounts of gold was discovered in the Witwatersrand of the Transvaal in 1886. This led to the Transvaal producing 27 percent of the world’s gold by 1897. This created huge tension between the Anglo-Boer’s as a large amount of British Capital had been invested in the Witwatersrand, so Britain demanded for some share of the profits.

The discovery of Gold in the Transvaal effected the Anglo-Boer situation in two ways. Firstly an influx of mainly British immigrants known as Uitlanders migrated to areas such as Johannesburg attracted by the high wages. However the Uitlanders were not prepared to integrate into the strict religious society, which dominated the Transvaal and instead established their own cultures, which often included; drinking, gambling etc. This counter-culture began to dominate the Transvaal, and as…


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