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The British Empire Essay

The British Empire had the difficult time in defeating the Boers. It took them about three years, 1899-1902, to stop the Boers. The Boers signified to those pioneering individuals who attempted to create an autonomous nation for themselves in South Africa (see Weber, Mark. “The Boer War Remembered”). There are two Boer Wars happened in the world history. These are the First Boer War (1880-1881) and the Second Boer War (1899-1902).

These wars were between the British Empire and the two self-governing Boer republics, which were the Orange Free State and the South African Republican and were founded by pioneers recognized as Voortrekkers who created the Great Trek originated in Cape Colony and were mostly of Dutch, German and French. These pioneers were frequently named as Boers and were primarily the Afrikaners’ descendants who dwelt in the Eastern Cape frontier. The war frequently named as the “Boer War” pertains to the Second Boer War (see “Boer War”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. November 3, 2006).

The intents of this paper are to: (1) understand what Boer War is; (2) figure out the reason and effects of Boer War and; (3) discuss the first and second Boer Wars. II. Background The “Boer War”, also recognized as the South African War (1899-1902), has marked the first official dispatch of troops of Canada to a foreign war. During 1899, there were two conflicts and combats occurred between the Great Britain and South Africa’s two small republics. The two small republics were mentioned earlier, the Orange Free State and the South African Republican and were pioneered by Boers who were the descendants of the Dutch immigrants.

The first descendants of Dutch in the region were not anticipated to survive against the greatest power of the world, which is the Great Britain. The Canadian citizens who were on the side of the Great Britain asked their government to lend a hand to the Empire; thus, “the war, they argued, pitted British freedom, justice, and civilization against Boer backwardness”. Despite the fact that there are several English-Canadians showed their support to the Britain Empire, yet majority of the French-Canadians and several of the present immigrants from nations other than Britain questioned why Canada “should fight in a war half way around the world.

“There were approximately 7,000 Canadians, involving 12 women nurses, who rendered services during the war (see “Canada & The South African War, 1899-1902. September 2, 2005). III. Discussion A. The reason and effects of Boer War Moreover, during 1899, Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. During this time, the British Empire was on its top in terms of power and prestige. But despite of this high status and achievements, the High Commissioner of Cape Colony (Alfred Milner) wanted to have more.

He desired to gain more economic power for the Empire by having interests of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State’s gold mines in the Dutch Boer republics. He desired to make a Cape-to-Cairo confederation of British colonies to control and govern the African continent. And in order to carry out his plan, Alfred Milner made a precipitated war against the Boers. The generals and politicians were very confident that the war will end ‘by Christmas’ as they usually have wars with other countries that only took for a short time. But in this case, they were having the difficult times in defeating the Boers and the war even took three years.

In 1899 of October, the Boers invaded Natal and Cape Province (Boers used the principle ‘the key to a good defense is a good offense’ in the said attacked) and immediately invaded three towns namely the Mafeking, Kimberley and Ladysmith. This attacked forced the British to leave behind their first offensive and violent plans “in order to lift the sieges” (see “The Boer War: South Africa, 1899-1902). A. First Boer War The First Boer War is also recognized as the “Transvaal War”. Transvaal War started from December 16, 1880 up until March 23, 1881.

It was the first battle between the Transvaal Boers and the British. It was led by Sir Theophilus Shepstone who took control of the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) in 1877 for the British. The British had strengthened and established their power and prestige over the South Africa’s colonies in 1879 right after the Anglo-Zulu War. The Boers started to protest and subsequently led to revolution in December 1880. The fight had started on December 16, 1880 along with the shots fired by Transvaal Boers at Potchefstroom when Transvaal officially promulgated independence from the Britain Empire.

A fight occurred at Bronkhorstspruit on December 20, 1880 where the Boers ambushed and defeated the British army group. Since December 22, 1880 up until to January 6, 1881, the “British army garrison all over the Transvaal became besieged”. Moreover, the Boers clothed in their usual and daily farming clothing which were earth tone khaki clothes; unlike with the British uniforms which were bright scarlet red that enabled the Boers, who are expert marksmen, to identify and snipe the British troops even from a distance. After the war (in March 6, 1881), William Gladstone signed a treaty and the final peace treaty was on March 23, 1881.

The British Empire set the Boers free and gave them independence “in the Transvaal under a theoretical British oversight” (see “First Boer War”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. November 1, 2006). B. Second Boer War The Second Boer War, is commonly known as the South African War (outside of South Africa), Afrikaans as the Anglo-Boereoorlog or Tweede Vryheidsoorlog (the Second War of Independence), and the Anglo-Boer War (amongst several South Africans), started to have battle since 1899 of October 11 up until 1902 of May 31.

The battle was between the British Empire and the two self-governing Boer republics of the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and of the Orange Free State. Prior to that, there was a discovery of gold in 1885 in Transvaal that kept the thousands of British and different miners and pioneers interested in their place and flowed over the border starting from the cape Colony and from across the globe. The Johannesburg’s city became a shanty town in a short span of time as the uitlanders continued to grow in number and dwelt close the mines.

Because of this scenario, the uitlanders immediately grow in number compared to the Boers on the Rand yet still a minority in the Transvaal in general. The Afrikaners were anxious and indignant of the presence of the uitlanders and because of this; they did not give the uitlanders voting rights and overtax the gold industry. As a result, there was tension from the British mine owners and the uitlanders to revolt and defeat the Boer government. By the year 1895, Cecil Rhodes supported a failed coup d’etat which was backed up by armed invasion which was the Jameson Raid (see “Second Boer War” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

November 1, 2006). IV. Conclusion The British Empire during 1800 and 1900s was considered as one of the biggest and most prestige in all continents. However, the said Empire was not satisfied of what they have. The Empire’s greediness of wealth and power encouraged them to invade African continent in order to get and satisfy their selfish desires. Moreover, the Boers also show this kind of character when they were overpowered by the uitlanders and British mine owners. Its greediness to power and fame has led them to wars. References 1. Weber, Mark. “The Boer War Remembered”. http://www. boer.

co. za/boerwar/weber. html 2. “Boer War”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. November 3, 2006. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Boer_War 3. “Canada & the South African War, 1899-1902. September 2, 2005. http://www. warmuseum. ca/cwm/boer/boerwarhistory_e. html 4. “The Boer War: South Africa, 1899-1902. http://www. geocities. com/Athens/Acropolis/8141/boerwar. html 5. “First Boer War”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. November 1, 2006. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/First_Boer_War 6. “Second Boer War” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. November 1, 2006. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Second_Boer_War


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