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Second Boer War



South Africa
 




  The Second Boer War ,Dutch: Tweede Boerenoorlog, Afrikaans: Tweede Vryheidsoorlog or Tweede Boereoorlog, was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free State. It ended with a British victory and the annexation of both republics by the British Empire; both would eventually be incorporated into the Union of South Africa, a dominion of the British Empire, in 1910.   
 

The conflict is commonly referred to as The Boer War but is also known as the South African War outside South Africa, the Anglo-Boer War among most South Africans, and in Afrikaans as the Anglo-Boereoorlog or Tweede Vryheidsoorlog "Second War of Liberation" or lit. "Second Freedom War" or the Engelse oorlog ,English War.

 
 

The Second Boer War and the earlier, much less well known, First Boer War December 1880 to March 1881 are collectively known as the Boer Wars.

 
  Origins  
  The complex origins of the war resulted from more than a century of conflict between the Boers and the British Empire, but particular immediate importance attached to the question as to which white nation would control and benefit most from the very lucrative Witwatersrand gold mines. During the Napoleonic Wars, a British military expedition landed in the Cape Colony and defeated the defending Dutch forces at the Battle of Blaauwberg 1806.  
 

After the war, the British formally acquired the colony 1814, and encouraged immigration by British settlers who were largely at odds with the Dutch settlers. Many Boers who were dissatisfied with aspects of the British administration, in particular with Britain's abolition of slavery on 1 December 1834, elected to migrate away from British rule in what became known as the Great Trek.

The Trekkers initially followed the eastern coast towards Natal and then, after Britain annexed Natal in 1843, journeyed northwards towards the interior. There they established two independent Boer republics: the South African Republic 1852; also known as the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free State 1854. The British recognised the two Boer republics in 1852 and 1854, but British annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 led to the First Boer War in 1880–81. After the British suffered defeats, particularly at the Battle of Majuba Hill 1881, the independence of the two republics was restored subject to certain conditions, however, relations remained uneasy.

 
  In 1866 Erasmus Jacobs discovered diamonds at Kimberley, prompting a diamond rush and a massive influx of foreigners to the borders of the Orange Free State. Then in 1886, an Australian discovered gold in the Witwatersrand area of the South African Republic.  
  Gold made the Transvaal the richest and potentially the most powerful nation in southern Africa; however, the country had neither the manpower nor the industrial base to develop the resource on its own. As a result, the Transvaal reluctantly acquiesced to the immigration of uitlanders (foreigners), mainly from Britain, who came to the Boer region in search of fortune and employment.  

  This resulted in the number of uitlanders in the Transvaal potentially exceeding the number of Boers, and precipitated confrontations between the earlier-arrived Boer settlers and the newer, non-Boer arrivals.   
  British expansionist ideas notably propagated by Cecil Rhodes as well as disputes over uitlander political and economic rights resulted in the failed Jameson Raid of 1895. Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, who led the raid, intended to encourage an uprising of the uitlanders in Johannesburg. However, the uitlanders did not take up arms in support, and Transvaal government forces surrounded the column and captured Jameson's men before they could reach Johannesburg.  
  As tensions escalated, political manoeuvrings and negotiations attempted to reach compromise on the issues of the rights of the uitlanders within the South African Republic, control of the gold mining industry, and the British desire to incorporate the Transvaal and the Orange Free State into a federation under British control.  
  Given the British origins of the majority of uitlanders and the ongoing influx of new uitlanders into Johannesburg, the Boers recognised that granting full voting rights to the uitlanders would eventually result in the loss of ethnic Boer control in the South African Republic.  
 

To Lord Milner's satisfaction, the June 1899 negotiations in Bloemfontein failed, and in September 1899 British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain demanded full voting-rights and representation for the uitlanders residing in the Transvaal.

 
  Paul Kruger, the President of the South African Republic, issued an ultimatum on 9 October 1899, giving the British government 48 hours to withdraw all their troops from the borders of both the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, failing which the Transvaal, allied to the Orange Free State, would declare war on the British government. The British government rejected the South African Republic's ultimatum, resulting in the South African Republic and Orange Free State declaring war on Britain.  
 

Phases

 
  The war had three distinct phases. In the first phase, the Boers mounted pre-emptive strikes into British-held territory in Natal and the Cape Colony, besieging the British garrisons of Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley. The Boers then won a series of tactical victories at Colenso, Magersfontein and Spionkop against a failed British counteroffensive to relieve the sieges.

In the second phase, after the introduction of greatly increased British troop numbers under the command of Lord Roberts, the British launched another offensive in 1900 to relieve the sieges, this time achieving success.
 
  After Natal and the Cape Colony were secure, the British were able to invade the Transvaal, and the republic's capital, Pretoria, was ultimately captured in June 1900.In the third and final phase, beginning in March 1900, the Boers launched a protracted hard-fought guerrilla war against the British forces, lasting a further two years, during which the Boers raided targets such as British troop columns, telegraph sites, railways and storage depots. In an effort to cut off supplies to the raiders, the British, now under the leadership of Lord Kitchener, responded with a scorched earth policy of destroying Boer farms and moving civilians into concentration camps.   
 

Some parts of the British press and British government expected the campaign to be over within months, and the protracted war gradually became less popular, especially after revelations about the conditions in the concentration camps where 26 thousand women and children died of disease and malnutrition. The Boer forces finally surrendered on Saturday, 31 May 1902, with 54 of the 60 delegates from the Transvaal and Orange Free State voting to accept the terms of the peace treaty. This was known as the Treaty of Vereeniging, and under its provisions, the two republics were absorbed into the British Empire, with the promise of self-government in the future. This promise was fulfilled with the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

 
 

The war had a lasting effect on the region and on British domestic politics. For Britain, the Second Boer War was the longest, the most expensive £200 million, and the bloodiest conflict between 1815 and 1914, lasting three months longer and resulting in higher British casualties than the Crimean War (1853–56).

 
  Escalation and war  
  The Jameson Raid alienated many Cape Afrikaners from the British, and united the Transvaal Boers behind President Kruger and his government. It also had the effect of drawing the Transvaal and the Orange Free State (led by President Martinus Theunis Steyn) together in opposition to perceived British imperialism. In 1897, a military pact was concluded between the two republics. President Paul Kruger proceeded to re-equip the Transvaal army, and imported 37,000 of the latest magazine Mauser rifles, and some 40 to 50 million rounds of ammunition.The best modern European artillery was also purchased.  
  By October 1899 the Transvaal State Artillery had 73 guns, of which 59 of them were new, including four 155-mm Creusot fortress guns, and 25 37mm Maxim Nordenfeldt guns. The Transvaal army had been transformed; approximately 25,000 men equipped with modern rifles and artillery could mobilise within two weeks. However, President Kruger's victory in the Jameson Raid incident did nothing to resolve the fundamental problem; the impossible dilemma continued, namely how to make concessions to the uitlanders without surrendering the independence of the Transvaal.  
  The failure to gain improved rights for uitlanders became a pretext for war and a justification for a major military buildup in the Cape Colony. The case for war was developed and espoused as far away as the Australian colonies.Several key British colonial leaders favoured annexation of the independent Boer republics.

These figures included Cape Colony Governor Sir Alfred Milner, Cape Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes, British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, and mining syndicate owners or Randlords (nicknamed the gold bugs), such as Alfred Beit, Barney Barnato, and Lionel Phillips. Confident that the Boers would be quickly defeated, they planned and organised a short war, citing the uitlanders' grievances as the motivation for the conflict.
 
  Their influence with the British government was, however, limited. Lord Salisbury, the Prime Minister, despised jingoism and jingoists. He also distrusted the abilities of the British army.

Yet he led Britain into war for three main reasons: because he believed the British government had an obligation to British South Africans; because he thought that the Transvaal, the Orange Free State, and the Cape Boers aspired to a Dutch South Africa, and that the achievement of such a state would damage Britain's imperial prestige around the world; and because of the Boers' treatment of black South Africans.

Salisbury had referred to the London Convention of 1884, after the British defeat, as an agreement 'really in the interest of slavery'. Salisbury was not alone in this concern over the treatment of black South Africans; Roger Casement, already well on the way to becoming an Irish Nationalist, was nevertheless happy to gather intelligence for the British against the Boers because of their treatment of black Africans.
 
  Given this sense of caution among key members of the British cabinet and of the army, it is even harder to understand why the British government went against the advice of its generals such as Wolsely to send substantial reinforcements to South Africa before war broke out. One strong argument is that Lansdowne, Secretary of State for War, did not believe the Boers were preparing for war, and also believed that if Britain were to send large numbers of troops, it would strike too aggressive a posture and so prevent a negotiated settlement being reached or even encourage a Boer attack.   
  President Steyn of the Orange Free State invited Milner and Kruger to attend a conference in Bloemfontein. The conference started on 30 May 1899, but negotiations quickly broke down, despite Kruger's offer of concessions. In September 1899, Chamberlain sent an ultimatum demanding full equality for British citizens resident in Transvaal. Kruger, seeing that war was inevitable, simultaneously issued his own ultimatum prior to receiving Chamberlain's. This gave the British 48 hours to withdraw all their troops from the border of Transvaal; otherwise the Transvaal, allied with the Orange Free State, would declare war.  
  News of the ultimatum reached London on the day it expired. Outrage and laughter were the main responses. The editor of the Times laughed out loud when he read it, saying 'an official document is seldom amusing and useful yet this was both.' The Times denounced the ultimatum as an 'extravagant farce.' The Globe denounced this 'trumpery little state.' Most editorials were similar to the Daily Telegraph, which declared: 'of course there can only be one answer to this grotesque challenge. Kruger has asked for war and war he must have!'  
 

Such views were far from those of the British government, and from those in the army. To most sensible observers, army reform had been a matter of pressing concern from the 1870s, constantly put off because the British public did not want the expense of a larger, more professional army, and because a large home army was not politically welcome. Lord Salisbury, the Prime Minister, had had to explain to a surprised Queen Victoria that: 'We have no army capable of meeting even a second-class Continental Power

 
  First phase: The Boer offensive October – December 1899  
  War was declared on 11 October 1899 with a Boer offensive into the British-held Natal and Cape Colony areas. The Boers had no problems with mobilisation, since the fiercely independent Boers had no regular army units, apart from the Staatsartillerie Afrikaans for 'States Artillery' of both republics. As with the First Boer War, since the Boers were civilian militia, each man wore what he wished, usually his everyday dark-grey, light-grey, neutral-coloured, or earthtone khaki farming clothes often a jacket, trousers and slouch hat. Only the members of the Staatsartillerie wore light green uniforms.  
  When danger loomed, all the burghers citizens in a district would form a military unit called a commando and would elect officers. A full-time official titled a Veldkornet maintained muster rolls, but had no disciplinary powers. Each man brought his own weapon, usually a hunting rifle, and his own horse. Those who could not afford a gun were given one by the authorities. The Presidents of the Transvaal and Orange Free State simply signed decrees to concentrate within a week and the Commandos could muster between 30,000–40,000 men.  
  The average Boer nevertheless was not thirsty for war. Many did not look forward to fighting against fellow Christians and, by and large, fellow Christian Protestants. Many may have had an overly optimistic sense of what the war would involve, imagining that victory could be won as easily as in the First South African War.Many, including many generals, also had a sense that their cause was holy and just, and blessed by God.  
  Buller attacked Louis Botha again on 5 February at Vaal Krantz and was again defeated. Buller withdrew early when it appeared that the British would be isolated in an exposed bridgehead across the Tugela, and was nicknamed "Sir Reverse" by some of his officers   
 

By taking command in person in Natal, Buller had allowed the overall direction of the war to drift. Because of concerns about his performance and negative reports from the field, he was replaced as Commander in Chief by Field Marshal Lord Roberts. Like Buller, Roberts first intended to attack directly along the Cape Town  Pretoria railway but, again like Buller, was forced to relieve the beleaguered garrisons.

 
  Leaving Buller in command in Natal, Roberts massed his main force near the Orange River and along the Western Railway behind Methuen's force at the Modder River, and prepared to make a wide outflanking move to relieve Kimberley.  
 

Except in Natal, the war had stagnated. Other than a single attempt to storm Ladysmith, the Boers made no attempt to capture the besieged towns. In the Cape Midlands, the Boers did not exploit the British defeat at Stormberg, and were prevented from capturing the railway junction at Colesberg. In the dry summer, the grazing on the veld became parched, weakening the Boers' horses and draught oxen, and many Boer families joined their menfolk in the siege lines and laagers (encampments), fatally encumbering Cronje's army.

 
  Roberts launched his main attack on 10 February 1900 and although hampered by a long supply route, managed to outflank the Boers defending Magersfontein. On 14 February, a cavalry division under Major General John French launched a major attack to relieve Kimberley. Although encountering severe fire, a massed cavalry charge split the Boer defences on 15 February, opening the way for French to enter Kimberley that evening, ending its 124 days’ siege.  
 

Meanwhile, Roberts pursued Piet Cronje’s 7,000-strong force, which had abandoned Magersfontein to head for Bloemfontein. General French’s cavalry was ordered to assist in the pursuit by embarking on an epic 30-mile drive towards Paardeberg where Cronje was attempting to cross the Modder River. At the Battle of Paardeberg from 18 to 27 February, Roberts then surrounded General Piet Cronje's retreating Boer army.

 
  On 17 February, a pincer movement involving both French’s cavalry and the main British force attempted to take the entrenched position, but the frontal attacks were uncoordinated and so were easily repulsed by the Boers. Finally, Roberts resorted to bombarding Cronje into submission, but it took a further ten precious days and with the British troops using the polluted Modder River as water supply, resulting in a typhoid epidemic killing many troops. General Cronje was forced to surrender at Surrender Hill with 4000 men.   
 

In Natal, the Battle of the Tugela Heights, which started on 14 February was Buller's fourth attempt to relieve Ladysmith. Despite reinforcements his progress was painfully slow against stiff opposition. However, on 26 February, after much deliberation, Buller used all his forces in one all-out attack for the first time and at last succeeded in forcing a crossing of the Tugela, and defeated Botha's outnumbered forces north of Colenso. After a siege lasting 118 days, the Relief of Ladysmith was effected, the day after Cronje surrendered, but at a total cost of 7,000 British casualties

 
  After a succession of defeats, the Boers realised that against such overwhelming superiority of troops, they had little chance of defeating the British and so became demoralised. Roberts then advanced into the Orange Free State from the west, putting the Boers to flight at the Battle of Poplar Grove and capturing Bloemfontein, the capital, unopposed on 13 March with the Boer defenders escaping and scattering. Meanwhile, he detached a small force to relieve Baden-Powell, and the Relief of Mafeking on 18 May 1900 provoked riotous celebrations in Britain.On 28 May, the Orange Free State was annexed and renamed the Orange River Colony  
  After being forced to delay for several weeks at Bloemfontein due to a shortage of supplies and enteric fever caused by poor hygiene, drinking bad water at Paardeburg and appalling medical care, Roberts resumed his advance. He was forced to halt again at Kroonstad for 10 days, due once again to the collapse of his medical and supply systems, but finally captured Johannesburg on 31 May and the capital of the Transvaal, Pretoria, on 5 June.

The first into Pretoria, was Lt. William Watson of the New South Wales Mounted Rifles, who persuaded the Boers to surrender the capital.Before the war, the Boers had constructed several forts south of Pretoria, but the artillery had been removed from the forts for use in the field, and in the event the Boers abandoned Pretoria without a fight.

 
 

British observers believed the war to be all but over after the capture of the two capital cities. However, the Boers had earlier met at the temporary new capital of the Orange Free State, Kroonstad, and planned a guerrilla campaign to hit the British supply and communication lines. The first engagement of this new form of warfare was at Sanna's Post on 31 March where 1,500 Boers under the command of Christiaan De Wet attacked Bloemfontein's waterworks about 23 miles (37 km) east of the city, and ambushed a heavily escorted convoy, which caused 155 British casualties and the capture of seven guns, 117 wagons, and 428 British troops.

After the fall of Pretoria, one of the last formal battles was at Diamond Hill on 11 – 12 June, where Roberts attempted to drive the remnants of the Boer field army beyond striking distance of Pretoria. Although Roberts drove the Boers from the hill, the Boer commander, Louis Botha, did not regard it as a defeat, for he inflicted more casualties on the British totalling 162 men while suffering around 50 casualties.

The set-piece period of the war now largely gave way to a mobile guerrilla war, but one final operation remained. President Kruger and what remained of the Transvaal government had retreated to eastern Transvaal. Roberts, joined by troops from Natal under Buller, advanced against them, and broke their last defensive position at Bergendal on 26 August.

 
  As Roberts and Buller followed up along the railway line to Komatipoort, Kruger sought asylum in Portuguese East Africa modern Mozambique. Some dispirited Boers did likewise, and the British gathered up much war material. However, the core of the Boer fighters under Botha easily broke back through the Drakensberg mountains into the Transvaal highveld after riding north through the bushveld. Under the new conditions of the war, heavy equipment was no use to them, and therefore no great loss.

As Roberts's army occupied Pretoria, the Boer fighters in the Orange Free State had been driven into a fertile area known as the Brandwater Basin in the north east of the Republic. This offered only temporary sanctuary, as the mountain passes leading to it could be occupied by the British, trapping the Boers.
 
  A force under General Archibald Hunter set out from Bloemfontein to achieve this in July 1900. The hard core of the Free State Boers under Christiaan De Wet, accompanied by President Steyn, left the basin early. Those remaining fell into confusion and most failed to break out before Hunter trapped them. 4,500 Boers surrendered and much equipment was captured but as with Roberts's drive against Kruger at the same time, these losses were of relatively little consequence, as the hardcore of the Boer armies and their most determined and active leaders remained at large.

From the Basin, Christiaan De Wet headed west. Although hounded by British columns, he succeeded in crossing the Vaal into western Transvaal, to allow Steyn to travel to meet the Transvaal leaders.
 
 

There was much sympathy for the Boers on mainland Europe and in October, President Kruger and members of the Transvaal government left Portuguese East Africa on the Dutch warship De Gelderland, sent by the Queen of the Netherlands Wilhelmina, who had simply ignored the British naval blockade of South Africa.

Paul Kruger's wife, however, was too ill to travel and remained in South Africa where she died on 20 July 1901 without seeing her husband again. President Kruger first went to Marseille and then on to The Netherlands where he stayed for a while before moving finally to Clarens, Switzerland, where he died in exile on 14 July 1904.

 
  Second Phase.  
     
     
     
 

 

 
     
     
     
  Third phase: Guerrilla war September 1900 – May 1902  
  By September 1900, the British were nominally in control of both Republics, with the exception of the northern part of Transvaal. However, they soon discovered that they only controlled the territory their columns physically occupied. The Boer commanders adopted guerrilla warfare tactics, primarily conducting raids against infrastructure, resource and supply targets, all aimed at disrupting the operational capacity of the British army.  
 

Each Boer commando unit was sent to the district from which its members had been recruited, which meant that they could rely on local support and personal knowledge of the terrain and the towns within the district thereby enabling them to live off the land. Their orders were simply to act against the British whenever possible. Their tactics were to strike fast and hard causing as much damage to the enemy as possible, and then to withdraw and vanish before enemy reinforcements could arrive.

 
  The vast distances of the Republics allowed the Boer commandos considerable freedom to move about and made it impossible for the 250,000 British troops to control the territory effectively using columns alone. As soon as a British column left a town or district, British control of that area faded away.  
  The Boer commandos were especially effective during the initial guerrilla phase of the war because Roberts had assumed that the war would end with the capture of the Boer capitals and the dispersal of the main Boer armies. Many British troops were therefore redeployed out of the area, and had been replaced by lower-quality contingents of Imperial Yeomanry and locally raised irregular corps.  
 

From late May 1900, the first successes of the Boer strategy were at Lindley where 500 Yeomanry surrendered, and at Heilbron where a large convoy and its escort were captured and other skirmishes resulting in 1,500 British casualties in less than ten days. In December 1900, De la Rey and Christiaan Beyers mauled a British brigade at Nooitgedacht. As a result of these and other Boer successes, the British, led by Lord Kitchener, mounted three extensive searches for De Wet, but without success. However, by its very nature the guerrilla war was sporadic, poorly planned and with little overall objective in mind except to harass the British. This led to a disorganised pattern of scattered engagements throughout the region.

 
The Orange Free State
  After having conferred with the Transvaal leaders, De Wet returned to the Orange Free State, where he inspired a series of successful attacks and raids from the hitherto quiet western part of the country, though he suffered a rare defeat at Bothaville in November 1900. Many Boers who had earlier returned to their farms, sometimes giving formal parole to the British, took up arms again. In late January 1901, De Wet led a renewed invasion of Cape Colony. This was less successful, because there was no general uprising among the Cape Boers, and De Wet's men were hampered by bad weather and relentlessly pursued by British forces. They narrowly escaped across the Orange River.   
 
 

From then until the final days of the war, De Wet remained comparatively quiet, partly because the Orange Free State was effectively left desolate by British sweeps. In late 1901, De Wet overran an isolated British detachment at Groenkop, inflicting heavy casualties. This prompted Kitchener to launch the first of the "New Model" drives against him. De Wet escaped the first such drive, but lost 300 of his fighters. This was a severe loss, and a portent of further attrition, although the subsequent attempts to round up De Wet were badly handled, and De Wet's forces avoided capture.

Western Transvaal


The Boer commandos in the Western Transvaal were very active after September 1901. Several battles of importance were fought here between September 1901 and March 1902. At Moedwil on 30 September 1901 and again at Driefontein on 24 October, General Koos De La Rey’s forces attacked the British, but were forced to withdraw after the British offered strong resistance.

A time of relative quiet descended thereafter on the western Transvaal. February 1902 saw the next major battle in that region. On 25 February, Koos De La Rey attacked a British column under Lieutenant-Colonel S. B. Von Donop at Ysterspruit near Wolmaransstad. De La Rey succeeded in capturing many men and a large amount of ammunition.

The Boer attacks prompted Lord Methuen, the British second-in-command after Lord Kitchener, to move his column from Vryburg to Klerksdorp to deal with De La Rey. On the morning of 7 March 1902, the Boers attacked the rear guard of Methuen’s moving column at Tweebosch. Confusion reigned in British ranks and Methuen was wounded and captured by the Boers.

The Boer victories in the west led to stronger action by the British. In the second half of March 1902, large British reinforcements were sent to the Western Transvaal under the direction of Ian Hamilton. The opportunity the British were waiting for arose on 11 April 1902 at Rooiwal, where a commando led by General Jan Kemp and Commandant Potgieter attacked a superior force under Kekewich. The British soldiers were well positioned on the hillside and inflicted severe casualties on the Boers charging on horseback over a large distance, beating them back. This was the end of the war in the Western Transvaal and also the last major battle of the war.

Eastern Transvaal

 
  Two Boer forces fought in this area, one under Botha in the south east and a second under Ben Viljoen in the north east around Lydenburg. Botha's forces were particularly active, raiding railways and British supply convoys, and even mounting a renewed invasion of Natal in September, 1901.

After defeating British mounted infantry in the Battle of Blood River Poort near Dundee, Botha was forced to withdraw by heavy rains that made movement difficult and crippled his horses. Back on the Transvaal territory around his home district of Vryheid, Botha attacked a British raiding column at Bakenlaagte, using an effective mounted charge. One of the most active British units was effectively destroyed in this engagement.

This made Botha's forces the target of increasingly large and ruthless drives by British forces, in which the British made particular use of native scouts and informers. Eventually, Botha had to abandon the high veld and retreat to a narrow enclave bordering Swaziland.To the north, Ben Viljoen grew steadily less active. His forces mounted comparatively few attacks and as a result, the Boer enclave around Lydenburg was largely unmolested. Viljoen was eventually captured.
 
  Cape Colony  
 

In parts of Cape Colony, particularly the Cape Midlands district where Boers formed a majority of the white inhabitants, the British had always feared a general uprising against them. In fact, no such uprising took place, even in the early days of the war when Boer armies had advanced across the Orange. The cautious conduct of some of the elderly Orange Free State generals had been one factor that discouraged the Cape Boers from siding with the Boer republics. Nevertheless, there was widespread pro-Boer sympathy.

 
  After he escaped across the Orange in March 1901, De Wet had left forces under Cape rebels Kritzinger and Scheepers to maintain a guerrilla campaign in the Cape Midlands.

The campaign here was one of the least chivalrous of the war, with intimidation by both sides of each other's civilian sympathizers. In one of many skirmishes, Commandant Lotter's small commando was tracked down by a much-superior British column and wiped out at Groenkloof.

Several captured rebels, including Lotter and Scheepers, who was captured when he fell ill with appendicitis, were executed by the British for treason or for capital crimes such as the murder of prisoners or of unarmed civilians. Some of the executions took place in public, to deter further disaffection. Since the Cape Colony was Imperial territory, its authorities forbade the British army to burn farms or to force Boers into concentration camps.
 
  Fresh Boer forces under Jan Christiaan Smuts, joined by the surviving rebels under Kritzinger, made another attack on the Cape in September 1901. They suffered severe hardships and were hard pressed by British columns, but eventually rescued themselves by routing some of their pursuers at the Battle of Elands River and capturing their equipment. From then until the end of the war, Smuts increased his forces from among Cape rebels until they numbered 3,000. However, no general uprising took place, and the situation in the Cape remained stalemated.  
 

In January 1902, Boer leader Manie Maritz was implicated in the Leliefontein massacre in the far Northern Cape.

 
  The Fawcett Commission   
 

Although the government had comfortably won the parliamentary debate by a margin of 252 to 149, it was stung by the criticism and concerned by the escalating public outcry, and called on Kitchener for a detailed report. In response, complete statistical returns from camps were sent in July 1901. By August 1901, it was clear to government and opposition alike that Miss Hobhouse's worst fears were being confirmed  93,940 Boers and 24,457 black Africans were reported to be in "camps of refuge" and the crisis was becoming a catastrophe as the death rates appeared very high, especially among the children.

 
  The government responded to the growing clamour by appointing a commission. The Fawcett Commission, as it became known was, uniquely for its time, an all woman affair headed by Millicent Fawcett who despite being the leader of the women's suffrage movement was a Liberal Unionist and thus a government supporter and considered a safe pair of hands. Between August and December, 1901, the Fawcett Commission conducted its own tour of the camps in South Africa. While it is probable that the British government expected the Commission to produce a report that could be used to fend off criticism, in the end it confirmed everything that Emily Hobhouse had said. Indeed, if anything the Commission's recommendations went even further.  
  The Commission insisted that rations should be increased and that additional nurses be sent out immediately, and included a long list of other practical measures designed to improve conditions in the camp. Millicent Fawcett was quite blunt in expressing her opinion that much of the catastrophe was owed to a simple failure to observe elementary rules of hygiene.In November 1901, the Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain ordered Alfred Milner to ensure that "all possible steps are being taken to reduce the rate of mortality."  
  The civil authority took over the running of the camps from Kitchener and the British command and by February 1902 the annual death-rate in the concentration camps for white inmates dropped to 6.9 percent and eventually to 2 percent, which was a lower rate than pertained in many British cities at the time. However, by then the damage had been done. A report after the war concluded that 27,927 Boers of whom 24,074 [50 percent of the Boer child population] were children under 16 had died of starvation, disease and exposure in the concentration camps. In all, about one in four 25 percent of the Boer inmates, mostly children, died.  
  "Improvements however were much slower in coming to the black camps. It is thought that about 12 percent of black African inmates died about 14,154 but the precise number of deaths of black Africans in concentration camps is unknown as little attempt was made to keep any records of the 107,000 black Africans who were interned.  
 

The main decisions or their absence had been left to the soldiers, to whom the life or death of the 154,000 Boer and African civilians in the camps rated as an abysmally low priority. It was only ... ten months after the subject had first been raised in Parliament  and after public outcry and after the Fawcett Commission that remedial action was taken and  the terrible mortality figures were at last declining. In the interval, at least twenty thousand whites and twelve thousand coloured people had died in the concentration camps, the majority from epidemics of measles and typhoid that could have been avoided.

Somewhat higher figures for total deaths in the concentration camps are given by S.B. Spies.

 
 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had served as a volunteer doctor in the Langman Field Hospital at Bloemfontein between March and June 1900. In his widely distributed and translated pamphlet 'The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct' he justified both the causes of the war and its conduct.

He also pointed out that over 14,000 British soldiers had died of disease during the conflict as opposed to 8000 killed in combat) and at the height of epidemics he was seeing 50–60 British soldiers dying each day in a single illequipped and overwhelmed military hospital.

 
The end of the war
  Towards the end of the war, British tactics of containment, denial, and harassment began to yield results against the guerrillas.   
 

The sourcing and coordination of intelligence became increasingly efficient with regular reporting from observers in the blockhouses, from units patrolling the fences and conducting "sweeper" operations, and from native Africans in rural areas who increasingly supplied intelligence, as the Scorched Earth policy took effect and they found themselves competing with the Boers for food supplies. Kitchener's forces at last began to seriously affect the Boers' fighting strength and freedom of manoeuvre, and made it harder for the Boers and their families to survive.

The Boers and the British both feared the consequences of arming Africans. The memories of the Zulu and other tribal conflicts were still fresh, and they recognised that whoever won would have to deal with the consequences of a mass militarisation of the tribes. There was therefore an unwritten agreement that this war would be a “white man's war.” At the outset, British officials instructed all white magistrates in the Natal Colony to appeal to Zulu ama-khosi to remain neutral, and President Kruger sent emissaries asking them to stay out of it.

However, in some cases there were old scores to be settled, and some Africans, such as the Swazis, were eager to enter the war with the specific aim of reclaiming land confiscated by the Boers. As the war went on there was greater involvement of Africans, and in particular large numbers became embroiled in the conflict on the British side, either voluntarily or involuntarily. By the end of the war, many blacks had been armed and had shown conspicuous gallantry in roles such as scouts, messengers, watchmen in blockhouses, and auxiliaries.

 

And there were more flash-points outside of the war. On 6 May 1902 at Holkrantz in the southeastern Transvaal, a Zulu faction had their cattle stolen and their people mistreated by the Boers as a punishment for helping the British. The local Boer officer then sent an insulting message to the tribe, challenging them to take back their cattle.

The Zulus attacked at night, and in a mutual bloodbath, the Boers lost 56 killed and 3 wounded, while the Africans suffered 52 killed and 48 wounded. The official statistics of blacks who had served as combatants or non-combatants or who died in the concentration camps are unreliable. Many black combatants were dumped in unmarked graves, and most of the superintendents of the concentration camps did not record the deaths of black inmates.

 
  After the war the British government went to great lengths to attempt to conciliate Boer opinion to the extent of refusing to officially recognise the military contribution made by blacks by issuing campaign medals.   
  It was felt that the Boers would already feel insecure and angry at the arming of blacks, and granting medals would have prejudiced the stability of the region. Boer insecurity and the British government’s favouring of Boer over African interests caused much bitterness, and did much to shape the racial politics of the region.The British offered terms of peace on various occasions, notably in March, 1901, but were rejected by Botha.  
  The last of the Boers surrendered in May, 1902 and the war ended with the Treaty of Vereeniging signed on 31 May 1902. Although the British had won, this came at a cost; the Boers were given £3,000,000 for reconstruction and were promised eventual limited self-government, which was granted in 1906 and 1907.  
  The treaty ended the existence of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State as independent Boer republics and placed them within the British Empire. The Union of South Africa was established as a member of the Commonwealth in 1910.  
 

In all, the war had cost around 75,000 lives; 22,000 British and allied soldiers 7,792 killed in battle, the rest through disease, between 6,000 and 7,000 Boer fighters, and, mainly in the concentration camps, between 20,000 to 28,000 Boer civilians mainly women and children and perhaps 20,000 black Africans both on the battlefield and in the concentration camps.

 
  During the conflict, 78 Victoria Crosses (VC)  the highest and most prestigious award in the British armed forces for bravery in the face of the enemy  were awarded to British and colonial soldiers. See List of Boer War Victoria Cross recipients.  
Aftermath and analysis
  The Second Boer War cast long shadows over the history of the South African region. The predominantly agrarian society of the former Boer republics was profoundly and fundamentally affected by the scorched earth policy of Roberts and Kitchener.    
 

The devastation of both Boer and black African populations in the concentration camps and through war and exile were to have a lasting effect on the demography and quality of life in the region. Many exiles and prisoners were unable to return to their farms at all; others attempted to do so but were forced to abandon the farms as unworkable given the damage caused by farm burning and salting of the fields in the course of the scorched earth policy. Destitute Boers and black Africans swelled the ranks of the unskilled urban poor competing with the "uitlanders" in the mines.

The postwar reconstruction administration was presided over by Lord Milner and his largely Oxford trained Milner's Kindergarten. This small group of civil servants had a profound effect on the region, eventually leading to the Union of South Africa. “In the aftermath of the war, an imperial administration freed from accountability to a domestic electorate set about reconstructing an economy that was by then predicated unambiguously on gold.

At the same time, British civil servants, municipal officials, and their cultural adjuncts were hard at work in the heartland of the former Boer Republics helping to forge new identities – first as 'British South Africans' and then, later still, as 'white South Africans'." Some scholars, for good reasons, identify these new identities as partly underpinning the act of union that followed in 1910. Although challenged by a Boer rebellion only four years later, they did much to shape South African politics between the two world wars and right up to the present day.

 
  The counterinsurgency techniques and lessons the restriction of movement, the containment of space, the ruthless targeting of anything, everything and anyone that could give sustenance to guerrillas, the relentless harassment through sweeper groups coupled with rapid reaction forces, the sourcing and coordination of intelligence, and the nurturing of native allies learned during the Boer War were used by the British and other forces in future guerrilla campaigns including to counter Malayan communist rebels during the Malayan Emergency.  
  In World War II the British also adopted some of the concepts of raiding from the Boer commandos when, after the fall of France, they set up their special raiding forces, and in acknowledgement of their erstwhile enemies, chose the name British Commandos.  
 

Many of the Boers referred to the war as the second of the Freedom Wars. The most resistant of Boers wanted to continue the fight and were known as "bittereinders" or irreconcilables and at the end of the war a number of Boer fighters such as Deneys Reitz chose exile rather than sign an oath, such as the following, to pledge allegiance to Britain

 
     
 
       







  








 
 
     

 






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