Union of South Africa

South AfricaUnionSouth African
These conflicts eventually fed into the first and second Anglo-Boer Wars, with far-reaching consequences for the subcontinent. After gold was discovered in the 1880s, thousands of British men flocked to the gold mines of the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State. The newly arrived miners were needed for the mines but were distrusted by the politically dominant Afrikaners, who called them "uitlanders" and imposed heavy taxes and very limited civil rights, with no right to vote. The British, jealous of the gold and diamond mines and highly protective of its people, demanded reforms, which were rejected.

Kimberley, Northern Cape

KimberleyKimberlyKimberley, South Africa
The Cape Colony, Transvaal, Orange Free State and the Griqua leader Nicolaas Waterboer all laid claim to the diamond fields. The Free State Boers in particular wanted the area as it lay inside the natural borders created by Orange and Vaal Rivers. Following the mediation that was overseen by the governor of Natal, the Keate Award went in favour of Waterboer, who placed himself under British protection. Consequently, the territory known as Griqualand West was proclaimed on 27 October 1871. Colonial Commissioners arrived in New Rush on 17 November 1871 to exercise authority over the territory on behalf of the Cape Governor.

London to Ladysmith via Pretoria

London to Ladysmith via Pretoria is a book written by Winston Churchill. It is a personal record of Churchill's impressions during the first five months of the Second Boer War. It includes an account of the Relief of Ladysmith, and also the story of Churchill's capture and dramatic escape from the Boers. The book was first published in 1900, and dedicated to the staff of the Natal Government railway. In 1899 Winston Churchill, though he had left his Regiment, the 4th Hussars, in the previous March, was eager as ever to be within the sound of the guns and wasted no time in getting himself accredited to The Morning Post as war correspondent.

1900 United Kingdom general election

19001900 general electiongeneral election of 1900
Also referred to as the Khaki Election (the first of several elections to bear this sobriquet), it was held at a time when it was widely believed that the Second Boer War had effectively been won (though in fact it was to continue for another two years). The Conservative Party, led by Lord Salisbury with their Liberal Unionist allies, secured a large majority of 130 seats, despite securing only 5.6% more votes than Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Liberals. This was largely owing to the Conservatives winning 163 seats that were uncontested by others. The Labour Representation Committee, later to become the Labour Party, participated in a general election for the first time.

Battle of Paardeberg

PaardebergPaardeberg DayBattle of Paardeberg Drift
Bombardment in the Second Boer War. Military history of South Africa. Battle of Poplar Grove. Douglas Monypenny.

Milner's Kindergarten

Milner's Kindergarten is an informal reference to a group of Britons who served in the South African Civil Service under High Commissioner Alfred, Lord Milner, between the Second Boer War and the founding of the Union of South Africa. They were in favour of the South African union and, ultimately, an imperial federation of the British Empire itself. On Milner's retirement, most continued in the service under William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne, who was Milner's successor. Many of these men themselves attained public prominence after their South African experience, hence the 'kindergarten' tag.

South African Light Horse

The future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill served as a lieutenant in the SALH from January to July 1900. The regiment was formed in November 1899, just one month after the start of the Second Boer War, and by December of that year 8 squadrons had been raised from Uitlanders. They were largely financed by Wernher-Beit & co. and together with the Imperial Light Horse they effectively formed a Uitlander army.

War cabinet

British War CabinetWar Cabinet OfficeAustralian War Cabinet
First Lord of the Admiralty: Winston Churchill (Cons). Minister for the Coordination of Defence: Lord Chatfield (Nat.). Minister without Portfolio: Lord Hankey (Nat. ). Prime Minister & Minister of Defence: Winston Churchill (Conservative). Lord President of the Council: Neville Chamberlain (Conservative). Lord Privy Seal: Clement Attlee (Labour). Foreign Secretary: Lord Halifax (Conservative). Minister without Portfolio: Arthur Greenwood (Labour). Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Winston Churchill (Conservative). Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Dominions Affairs: Clement Attlee (Labour).

Christiaan de Wet

De WetGeneral Christiaan de WetGeneral de Wet
He was born on the Leeuwkop farm, in the district of Smithfield in the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State. He later resided at Dewetsdorp, named after his father, Jacobus Ignatius de Wet. De Wet is mentioned in Rudyard Kipling's poem Ubique. He was a close personal friend of Helene Kröller-Müller who commissioned a statue of him in the Hoge Veluwe National Park in the Netherlands. De Wet served in the first Anglo-Boer War of 1880–81 as a Field Cornet, taking part in the Battle of Majuba Mountain, in which the Boers achieved a victory over the British forces under Major General Sir George Pomeroy Colley.

Secretary of State for War

War SecretarySecretaries of State for WarWar Minister
The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position, first held by Henry Dundas (appointed in 1794). In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The position was re-instated in 1854.


During the Second Boer War, from 13 March to 11 May 1900, the town became the capital of the Orange Free State, and subsequently the site of a British concentration camp to accommodate Boer women and children. The main industry of Kroonstad is agriculture. It is the centre of a rich agricultural district, producing maize, wheat, dairy and meat products and wool. The Bloemhoek Dam lies just east of the town and supplies much of its water needs. A caravan park and many more camp sites on the banks of the willow-lined Vals River (Valsrivier) are frequented by anglers and watersport enthusiasts.

Martinus Theunis Steyn

SteynPresident SteynM.T. Steyn
"I would rather lose the independence of the Free State with honour than retain it with dishonour". Stated before he dispatched the ultimatum (starting the Anglo-boer War) to the United Kingdom.

Mahatma Gandhi

GandhiMohandas GandhiMohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Winston Churchill caricatured Gandhi as a "cunning huckster" seeking selfish gain, an "aspiring dictator", and an "atavistic spokesman of a pagan Hinduism". Churchill stated that the civil disobedience movement spectacle of Gandhi only increased "the danger to which white people there [British India] are exposed". Although Gandhi was not the originator of the principle of nonviolence, he was the first to apply it in the political field on a large scale.

Military history of South Africa

Boer WarSecond Boer WarAnglo-Boer War
The Second Boer War, also known as the Second Anglo-Boer War, the Second Freedom War (Afrikaans) and referred to as the South African War in modern times took place from 11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902. The war was fought between Great Britain and the two independent Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (referred to as the Transvaal by the British). After a protracted hard-fought war, the two independent republics lost and were absorbed into the British Empire.

Piet Cronjé

CronjeGeneral CronjeGeneral Cronjé
Boer morale sank after his defeat, with the capital of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, being taken without a shot being fired. He was a South African Freemason. He was humiliated and shunned by the other Boer generals, ridiculed in the press, and was not asked to the peace talks at Vereeniging. He took part in the World Fair reenactments of the Anglo-Boer war at St Louis in 1904. Dubbed a 'circus general' by the South African press, he failed to return home, instead joining a show on Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York. Encyclopædia Britannica article. .

South Africa

🇿🇦South AfricanRepublic of South Africa
Eight years after the end of the Second Boer War and after four years of negotiation, an act of the British Parliament (South Africa Act 1909) granted nominal independence, while creating the Union of South Africa on 31 May 1910. The Union was a dominion that included the former territories of the Cape, Transvaal and Natal colonies, as well as the Orange Free State republic. The Natives' Land Act of 1913 severely restricted the ownership of land by blacks; at that stage natives controlled only 7% of the country. The amount of land reserved for indigenous peoples was later marginally increased.

George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston

Lord CurzonGeorge CurzonCurzon
This sense of opportunities missed was summed up by Winston Churchill in his book Great Contemporaries (1937): The morning had been golden; the noontide was bronze; and the evening lead. But all were polished till it shone after its fashion. Churchill also wrote there was certainly something lacking in Curzon: it was certainly not information nor application, nor power of speech nor attractiveness of manner and appearance. Everything was in his equipment. You could unpack his knapsack and take an inventory item by item. Nothing on the list was missing, yet somehow or other the total was incomplete.

British Army

ArmyBritishBritish troops
In addition to battling the armies of other European empires (and its former colonies, the United States, in the War of 1812), the British Army fought the Chinese in the first and second Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion, Māori tribes in the first of the New Zealand Wars, Nawab Shiraj-ud-Daula's forces and British East India Company mutineers in the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the Boers in the first and second Boer Wars, Irish Fenians in Canada during the Fenian raids and Irish separatists in the Anglo-Irish War.

Chancellor of the Exchequer

ChancellorChancellors of the ExchequerSpokesperson for the Treasury
According to George Osborne, the robe (dating from Gladstone's time in office, and worn by the likes of Lloyd George and Churchill) 'went missing' during Gordon Brown's time as chancellor. Although the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland had been united by the Acts of Union 1800 (39 & 40 Geo. III c. 67), the Exchequers of the two Kingdoms were not consolidated until 1817 under 56 Geo. III c. 98. For the holders of the Irish office before this date, see Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland. Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. List of Lord High Treasurers of England and Great Britain. Barber, Stephen. "‘Westminster’s wingman’? Shadow chancellor as a strategic and coveted political role."

Conservative Party (UK)

ConservativeConservative PartyConservatives
Winston Churchill during his 1951–1955 post-war premiership built up a strong relationship with the Eisenhower Administration in the United States. Harold Macmillan demonstrated a similarly close relationship with the Democratic administration of John F. Kennedy. Though the US–British relationship in foreign affairs has often been termed a 'Special Relationship', a term coined by Sir Winston Churchill, this has often been observed most clearly where leaders in each country are of a similar political stripe.


Johannesburg, South AfricaJohannesburg, GautengJohannesburg WCT
In the Second Boer War (1899–1902) saw British forces under Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, occupy the city on 30 May 1900 after a series of battles to the south-west of its then-limits, near present-day Krugersdorp. Fighting took place at the Gatsrand Pass (near Zakariyya Park) on 27 May, north of Vanwyksrust – today's Nancefield, Eldorado Park and Naturena – the next day, culminating in a mass infantry attack on what is now the waterworks ridge in Chiawelo and Senaoane on 29 May. During the war, many African mineworkers left Johannesburg creating a labour shortage, which the mines ameliorated by bringing in labourers from China, especially southern China.

Redvers Buller

Sir Redvers BullerBullerGeneral Sir Redvers Buller
He served as Commander-in-Chief of British forces in South Africa during the early months of the Second Boer War and subsequently commanded the army in Natal until his return to England in November 1900. Buller was the second son and eventual heir of James Wentworth Buller (1798–1865), MP for Exeter, by his wife Charlotte Juliana Jane Howard-Molyneux-Howard (d.1855), third daughter of Lord Henry Thomas Howard-Molyneux-Howard, Deputy Earl Marshal and younger brother of Bernard Howard, 12th Duke of Norfolk.

Liberal government, 1905–1915

Liberal governmentLiberal administrationCampbell-Bannerman
February 1910 – Winston Churchill succeeds Herbert Gladstone as Home Secretary. Sydney Buxton succeeds Churchill at the Board of Trade. Herbert Samuel succeeds Buxton as Postmaster-General. Joseph Pease succeeds Samuel as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. June 1910 – Lord Beauchamp succeeds Lord Wolverhampton as Lord President. November 1910 – Lord Beauchamp succeeds Lewis Vernon Harcourt as First Commissioner of Public Works. Lord Morley of Blackburn succeeds Beauchamp as Lord President. Lord Crewe succeeds Morley as India Secretary, remaining also Lord Privy Seal. Lewis Harcourt succeeds Crewe as Colonial Secretary.

Stanley Baldwin

BaldwinStanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of BewdleyPrime Minister
Two of Beaverbrook's friends after the war claimed that this was Beaverbrook's decision despite Churchill saying, "Lay off Baldwin's gates". At Question Time in the House of Commons the Conservative MP Captain Alan Graham said: "Is the honourable Member aware that it is very necessary to leave Lord Baldwin his gates in order to protect him from the just indignation of the mob?" During the war, Winston Churchill consulted him only once, in February 1943, on the advisability of his speaking out strongly against the continued neutrality of Éamon de Valera's Ireland. Baldwin saw the draft of Churchill's speech and advised against it, which advice Churchill followed.

Cecil Rhodes

RhodesCecil John RhodesCecil
During the Second Boer War Rhodes went to Kimberley at the onset of the siege, in a calculated move to raise the political stakes on the government to dedicate resources to the defence of the city. The military felt he was more of a liability than an asset and found him intolerable.