Boerstrekboerswhite farmers
They contend that the Boers of the South African Republic (ZAR) and Orange Free State republics were recognised as a separate people or cultural group under international law by the Sand River Convention (which created the South African Republic in 1852), the Bloemfontein Convention (which created the Orange Free State Republic in 1854), the Pretoria Convention (which re-established the independence of the South African Republic 1881), the London Convention (which granted the full independence to the South African Republic in 1884), and the Vereeniging Peace Treaty, which formally ended the Second Anglo-Boer War on 31 May 1902.

Colony of Natal

NatalGovernor of the Colony of NatalLieutenant-governor of the Colony of Natal
In 1898, Natal entered the Customs Union already existing between Cape Colony and the Orange Free State. The Second Boer War broke out on 11 October 1899 with the Boer seizure of a Natal train on the Orange Free State border. Boer forces quickly occupied Newcastle. In the Battle of Talana Hill on 20 October 1899, outside Dundee, British forces under William Penn Symons defeated the Boer columns at high cost, and withdrew to Ladysmith. Boer forces proceeded to Ladysmith and surrounded the town, cutting off its communications from the south. The Siege of Ladysmith lasted until 28 February 1900, when the town was relieved by forces under Redvers Buller.

Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener

Lord KitchenerKitchenerHerbert Kitchener
He even entertained a peace treaty proposed by Louis Botha and the other Boer leaders, although he knew the British government would reject the offer; this would have maintained the sovereignty of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State while requiring them to sign a perpetual treaty of alliance with the UK and grant major concessions to the British, such as equal rights for English with Dutch in their countries, voting rights for Uitlanders, and a customs and railway union with the Cape Colony and Natal.

Colenso, KwaZulu-Natal

ColensoColenzoHart's Hill
When the Anglo-Boer War broke out on 10 October 1899, the boer forces had 21,000 men ready to invade the Colony of Natal. Ranged against them, the British had 13,000 men. The Boers, under the command of General Petrus Joubert, crossed the border into the Natal Colony and rapidly advanced to the Tugela river, laying siege to Ladysmith, some 20 km north of the river and entrapping some 8,000 British regulars. On 15 November a raiding party ambushed an armoured train at Frere, 11 km south of Colenso taking 70 prisoners including Winston Churchill.

Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts

Lord RobertsFrederick RobertsRoberts
Roberts launched a two-pronged offensive, personally leading the advance across the open veldt into the Orange Free State, while Buller sought to eject the Boers from the hills of Natal - during which, Lord Roberts's son was killed, earning a posthumous V.C. Having raised the Siege of Kimberley, at the Battle of Paardeberg on 27 February 1900 Roberts forced the Boer General Piet Cronjé to surrender with some 4,000 men. After another victory at Poplar Grove, Roberts captured the Free State capital Bloemfontein on 13 March. His further advance was delayed by his disastrous attempt to reorganise his army's logistic system on the Indian Army model in the midst of the war.


Pretoria, GautengPretoria, South AfricaSilverton
Republic of the Transvaal; 1852-1881 and 1884-1902) the principal battleground for the First and Second Boer War, the latter which brought both the Transvaal and the Orange Free State republic under British rule. "Marching to Pretoria" was one of the songs that British soldiers sang as they marched from the Cape Colony, under British Rule since 1814, to the capital of the Southern African Republic (or in Dutch, Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek). As the song's refrain puts it: "We are marching to Pretoria, Pretoria, Pretoria/We are marching to Pretoria, Pretoria, Hurrah."

Cape Town

Cape Town, South AfricaCapeCape Town, Western Cape
Conflicts between the Boer republics in the interior and the British colonial government resulted in the Second Boer War of 1899–1902, which Britain won. In 1910, Britain established the Union of South Africa, which unified the Cape Colony with the two defeated Boer Republics and the British colony of Natal. Cape Town became the legislative capital of the Union, and later of the Republic of South Africa. In the 1948 national elections, the National Party won on a platform of apartheid (racial segregation) under the slogan of "swart gevaar".

Boer Republics

Boer RepublicrepublicBoer
The Transvaal and the Orange Free State developed into successful independent countries which were recognized by the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, the United States, and Britain. These two countries continued to exist for several decades, despite the First Boer War with Britain. However, later developments, including the discovery of diamonds and gold in these states, led to the Second Boer War. In this war, the Transvaal and Orange Free State were defeated and annexed by the overwhelmingly larger British forces, ceasing to exist on 31 May 1902, with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging.

Imperial Yeomanry

17th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry17th Imperial Yeomanry2nd Battalion Imperial Yeomanry
Unhappy with the subsequent British governance, the Dutch settlers, known now as the Boers, established their own territories, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. The two states were recognised by the British in 1881, following Boer victory in the First Boer War. The discovery of gold in the Transvaal in 1886 led to a gold rush, and the treatment of the prospectors by the Boers resulted in greater British government involvement, a revival of friction between the British and Boers and, in October 1899, the outbreak of the Second Boer War.

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury

Lord SalisburyThe Marquess of SalisburyMarquess of Salisbury
Transvaal and its sister republic the Orange Free State were small, rural, independent nations founded by Afrikaners, who descended from Dutch immigrants to the area before 1800. The newly arrived miners were needed for their labor and business operations but were distrusted by the Afrikaners, who called them "uitlanders." The uitlanders heavily outnumbered the Boers in cities and mining districts; they had to pay heavy taxes, and had limited civil rights and no right to vote. The British, jealous of the gold and diamond mines and highly protective of its people, demanded reforms, which were rejected.

Louis Botha

BothaGeneral BothaGeneral Louis Botha
A Boer war hero during the Second Boer War, he would eventually fight to have South Africa become a British Dominion. In 1905, as prime minister, he called for the newly discovered Cullinan Diamond to be presented to King Edward VII. Louis Botha was born in Greytown, Natal, South Africa one of 13 children born to Louis Botha Senior (26 March 1827 – 5 July 1883) and Salomina Adriana van Rooyen (31 March 1829 – 9 January 1886). He briefly attended the school at Hermannsburg before his family relocated to the Orange Free State. The name Louis runs throughout the family, with every generation since General Louis Botha having the eldest son named Louis.

Battle of Spion Kop

Spion KopSpioenkopa local regiment had suffered heavy losses
Second Boer War. Spion Kop Battlefield Memorials. The 7 volume "The Times History of the War in South Africa", ed L.S. Amery,(pub 1900-1909). An Illustrated History of South Africa, Cameron & Spies, Human & Rousseau publishers, 1986 (ISBN: 1-86812-190-9). Military Heritage did a feature about the bloody Spion Kop battle for a hill of the Boer War (Herman T. Voelkner, Military Heritage, October 2005, Volume 7, No. 2, pp 28 to 35, and p. 71), ISSN 1524-8666. Winston, Churchill, My Early Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1930. Byron Farwell, The Great Anglo-Boer War. New York; Harper & Row, 1976. Denis Judd, The Boer War. New York: MacMillan, 2003. William Manchester, The Last Lion.

Battle of Elands River (1901)

Battle of Elands Riveranother battleElands River Poort
The Battle of Elands River took place near the Elands River Poort mountain pass on 17 September 1901 during the Second Boer War. During the battle a Boer raiding force under Jan Smuts destroyed a British cavalry squadron led by Captain Sandeman, a cousin of Winston Churchill, on the Modderfontein farm. This battle is therefore also known as the Battle of Modderfontein. After a year of guerrilla war, the Boer leaders decided to send significant raiding forces into the Cape Colony and Natal. About 1000 Boers in six commandos already operated in the Cape Colony.

Wilhelmina of the Netherlands

Queen WilhelminaWilhelminaQueen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Wilhelmina had a stern dislike of the United Kingdom partly as a result of the annexation of the republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State in the Boer War. The Boers were descendants of early Dutch colonists, to whom Wilhelmina and the people of the Netherlands felt very closely linked. In conversation with her former governess Elisabeth Saxton Winter, she once teasingly referred to the Boer soldiers as "excellent shots". She was not amused to hear that a Dutch medical relief team was planning to accommodate the needs of both Boer and British wounded soldiers.

Relief of Ladysmith

Ladysmith Relief ForceLadysmithrelieve Ladysmith
On 13 March Roberts captured Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State Republic and of 5 July 1900 he took Pretoria, the capital of the South African Republic. Meanwhile, in Natal, Buller had yet to secure the mountain passes between the colony and the Orange Free State – an objective that he achieved on 11 June 1900, effectively ending the Natal phase of the war.

History of South Africa

South AfricaSouth African historyBritish rule in South Africa
The name Orange Free State was again changed to the Orange River Colony, created by Britain after the latter occupied it in 1900 and then annexed it in 1902 during the Second Boer War. The colony, with an estimated population of less than 400,000 in 1904 ceased to exist in 1910, when it was absorbed into the Union of South Africa as the Orange Free State Province. Natalia was a short-lived Boer republic established in 1839 by Boer Voortrekkers emigrating from the Cape Colony.


Dominionsdominion statusBritish Dominion
Following the Second Boer War (1899–1902), the British Empire assumed direct control of the Boer Republics, but transferred limited self-government to Transvaal in 1906, and the Orange River Colony in 1907. The Commonwealth of Australia was recognised as a Dominion in 1901, and the Dominion of New Zealand and the Dominion of Newfoundland were officially given Dominion status in 1907, followed by the Union of South Africa in 1910.


HuguenotFrench HuguenotFrench Huguenots
Winston Churchill was probably one of the most prominent people of Huguenot descent, deriving from his American grandfather Leonard Jerome. Following the French crown's revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many Huguenots settled in Ireland in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, encouraged by an act of parliament for Protestants' settling in Ireland. Huguenot regiments fought for William of Orange in the Williamite war in Ireland, for which they were rewarded with land grants and titles, many settling in Dublin. Significant Huguenot settlements were in Dublin, Cork, Portarlington, Lisburn, Waterford and Youghal.

Transvaal Colony

TransvaalWestern TransvaalColony of Transvaal
The Transvaal Colony was the name used to refer to the Transvaal region during the period of direct British rule and military occupation between the end of the Anglo-Boer War in 1902 when the South African Republic was dissolved, and the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910. The physical borders of the Transvaal Colony were not identical to the defeated South African Republic (which had existed from 1856 to 1902), but was larger. In 1910 the entire territory became the Transvaal Province of the Union of South Africa. Both the Boer republics, the South African Republic (ZAR) and the Orange Free State were defeated in the Anglo-Boer War and surrendered to Britain.