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.

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.

Liberal Party (UK)

LiberalLiberal PartyLiberals
Harcourt's resignation briefly muted the turmoil in the party, but the beginning of the Second Boer War soon nearly broke the party apart, with Rosebery and a circle of supporters including important future Liberal figures H. H. Asquith, Edward Grey and Richard Burdon Haldane forming a clique dubbed the Liberal Imperialists that supported the government in the prosecution of the war. On the other side, more radical members of the party formed a Pro-Boer faction that denounced the conflict and called for an immediate end to hostilities.

First Boer War

FirstBoer WarFirst Anglo-Boer War
By 1899, when tensions erupted into the Second Boer War, the lure of gold made it worth committing the vast resources of the British Empire and incurring the huge costs required to win that war. However, the sharp lessons the British had learned during the First Boer War—which included Boer marksmanship, tactical flexibility and good use of ground—had largely been forgotten when the second war broke out 18 years later.

Edward VII

King Edward VIIPrince of WalesAlbert Edward
As king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet and the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War. He reinstituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised. He fostered good relations between Britain and other European countries, especially France, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was poor.

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.

Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Sir Henry Campbell-BannermanCampbell-BannermanC.-Bannerman
The Boer War of 1899 split the Liberal Party into Imperialist and Pro-Boer camps, leaving Campbell-Bannerman with a difficult task of holding together the strongly divided party, which was subsequently and unsurprisingly defeated in the "khaki election" of 1900. Campbell-Bannerman caused particular friction within his own party when in a speech to the National Reform Union in June 1901 and shortly after meeting Emily Hobhouse, he described the concentration camps set up by the British in the Boer War as "methods of barbarism".

Arthur Balfour

BalfourLord BalfourA.J. Balfour
By 1905 few Unionist MPs were still free traders (Winston Churchill crossed to the Liberals in 1904 when threatened with deselection at Oldham), but Balfour's act had drained his authority within the government. Balfour resigned as Prime Minister in December 1905, hoping the Liberal leader Campbell-Bannerman would be unable to form a strong government. This was dashed when Campbell-Bannerman faced down an attempt ("The Relugas Compact") to "kick him upstairs" to the House of Lords.

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.

Ramsay MacDonald

MacDonaldJames Ramsay MacDonaldRt Hon. Ramsay MacDonald
His pacifism, which had been widely admired in the 1920s, led Winston Churchill and others to accuse him of failure to stand up to the threat of Adolf Hitler. His government began the negotiations for the Anglo-German Naval Agreement. MacDonald was aware of his fading powers, and in 1935 he agreed to a timetable with Baldwin to stand down as Prime Minister after George V's Silver Jubilee celebrations in May 1935. He resigned on 7 June in favour of Baldwin, and remained in the cabinet, taking the largely honorary post of Lord President vacated by Baldwin.

Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby

Lord Derby17th Earl of DerbyEarl of Derby
Lord Stanley served on the staff in the Second Boer War, and was appointed Chief Press Censor at Cape Town, graded as assistant adjutant-general, on 18 January 1900. He accompanied Lord Roberts' headquarters as Press Censor when he left Cape Town, and was mentioned in despatches of 31 March 1900 by Roberts for his "tact and discretion" in that role. He was subsequently appointed Roberts' private secretary on 25 July 1900. and was again mentioned in despatches of 2 April 1901 for his "thorough knowledge of men and affairs".

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.

Bechuanaland Protectorate

Bechuanalandprotectorate British Protectorate of Bechuanaland
The Bechuanaland Protectorate was a protectorate established on 31 March 1885, by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in southern Africa. It became the Republic of Botswana on 30 September 1966.

John French, 1st Earl of Ypres

John FrenchSir John FrenchFrench
That night White ordered all British forces to fall back on Ladysmith, where it was soon clear that they were about to be besieged by the combined Transvaal and Orange Free State forces. French spent much of the 26 and 27 October patrolling around the advancing Boer forces. On 30 October his cavalry fought dismounted at Lombard's Kop north-east of Ladysmith; this was the right flank of three unsuccessful actions—the others being Nicholson's Nek and an infantry action at Long Hill in the centre which ended in near-rout—fought by White's troops on "Mournful Monday".


Afrikaans-speakingAfrikaans-languageAfrikaans language
Before the Boer Wars (1880–81 and 1899–1902), "and indeed for some time afterwards, Afrikaans was regarded as inappropriate for educated discourse. Rather, Afrikaans was described derogatorily as ‘a kitchen language’ or as ‘a bastard jargon', suitable for communication mainly between the Boers and their servants." 23 years after the Second Boer War ended in 1902, mostly due to the efforts of the Afrikans Language Movement on 8 May 1925, the Official Languages of the Union Act No 8 of 1925 was passed at a joint sitting of the House of Assembly and the Senate, in which 'Dutch' was "declared to include Afrikaans".


Randthe RandReef
Cammack, Diana (1990) "The Rand at War: the Witwatersrand and the Anglo-Boer war 1899–1902''. London: James Currey. Herd, Norman (1966) 1922: the revolt on the Rand. Johannesburg: Blue Crane Books. Relationships between the Vredefort structure and the Witwatersrand basin within the tectonic framework of the Kaapvaal craton as interpreted from regional gravity and aeromagnetic data. Johannesburg Geology.

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.

Bonar Law

Andrew Bonar LawLaw The Right Honourable '''Bonar Law
Replying to anti-Boer War MPs including David Lloyd George, Law used his excellent memory to quote sections of Hansard back to the opposition which contained their previous speeches supporting and commending the policies they now denounced. Although lasting only fifteen minutes and not a crowd- or press-pleaser like the maiden speeches of F.E. Smith or Winston Churchill, it attracted the attention of the Conservative Party leaders. Law's chance to make his mark came with the issue of tariff reform.

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.

Penn Symons

William Penn SymonsBrigadier-General SymonsSymon
He was asked by the War Office to advise on the number of troops required to safely garrison the Natal from the threat of invasion from the Boer Republics of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. His initial estimate was for an extra two thousand troops but he later raised that to five thousand. In the end the Cabinet decided to send ten thousand extra troops but they also appointed Lieutenant General Sir George White to supersede Symons as GOC in Natal. However, before White arrived at Cape Town Penn Symons (who was known as a "fire eater"), had on his own authority deployed one of his brigades seventy miles north of Ladysmith at a town called Dundee.

Company rule in Rhodesia

RhodesiaSouthern RhodesiaCompany rule
A referendum on the colony's future was held on 27 October 1922—at the suggestion of Winston Churchill, then Britain's Colonial Secretary, continuing the initiative of his preprocessor Lord Milner—and responsible government won the day. Just under 60% of voters backed responsible government from a turnout of 18,810; Marandellas was the only district to favour the union option, doing so by 443 votes to 433. Southern Rhodesia was duly annexed by the Empire on 12 September 1923, and granted full self-government on 1 October the same year. The new Southern Rhodesian government immediately purchased the land from the British Treasury for £2 million.

Cape Dutch

Cape-DutchDutch communitiesearly Cape settlers
During the late 1800s smaller numbers found employment in one of the Boer republics, the Orange Free State, where they were in high demand due to their education and technical skills. At one point all the civil servants and teachers residing in the Orange Free State were Dutch expatriates or Cape Dutch. Not all the Boer leaders were receptive to the idea of employing Cape Dutch, whom they regarded as foreigners; for example, Paul Kruger discouraged Cape Dutch immigration to the Transvaal Republic, because he feared they would compete with the Boers for jobs.