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Anglo Boer War (1899-1902)

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  • Frederick William Bergin (1869 - 1921)
    On September 22, 1890 Fred enlisted in 2nd Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), at Perth, Scotland. He went on to serve for twelve years. Three of the years were spent in South Africa fighting i...
  • Edward Compton Mackintosh (b. - 1901)
    Eldest son, Edward Compton Mackintosh, died of a fever, on 28 January 1901, at Pretoria, while he was serving as a private in the Canadian contingent with Lord Strathcona's Horse fighting in the South ...
  • Sydney Ernest Bergin (1873 - 1944)
    Sydney was born on 8 April 1873. He was the son of George Bergin and Frances Cook. He was christened in the parish church at Christ Church, Streatham on 1 August 1875, aged 2. At the time of his christ...

Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) Anglo Boere Oorlog

The Second Boer War / Tweede Boereoorlog or Tweede Vryheidsoorlog

This object of this project is to outline the events of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 and to coordinate the various Boer War projects in place on GENi.

Geni profiles can be linked to this project but more accurately to the various projects set up for particular categories:

Anglo Boere Oorlog/Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) - Boers

...a place where we can add information about those who fought for the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War.

'n Projek waar daarna gestreef word om alle Boere profiele op Geni wat aan die ABO op die vegveld deelgeneem het.

Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) - Notable British Armed Forces

British military leaders and notable participants

Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) - British Armed Forces

dedicated to the lower ranks of the British Armed Forces

There are projects for many aspects of the conflict - a "site map" is to follow.

The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Boer inhabitants of the two independent Boer republics:

  • the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State. It ended with the annexation of the region under the British Empire, ultimately forming the Union of South Africa as part of the Commonwealth. 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 the Engelse oorlog (English War)


The origins of the war were complex, resulting from over a century of conflict between the Boers and the British Empire. During the Napoleonic Wars, a British expedition landed in the Cape Colony and defeated the defending Dutch forces at the Battle of Blaauwberg.After the wars, the British formally acquired the colony, and encouraged immigration by British settlers who were largely at odds with the Dutch settlers. Over subsequent decades, many Boers who were dissatisfied with aspects of the British administration elected to migrate away from British rule in what became known as the Great Trek. The migration was initially along the eastern coast towards Natal and then, after Natal was annexed in 1843, northwards towards the interior where two independent Boer republics (the Orange Free State, and the South African Republic - also called the Transvaal) were established. The British recognised the two Boer Republics in 1852 and 1854, but the annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 led to the First Boer War in 1880 and 1881. After British defeats, most heavily at the Battle of Majuba, Transvaal independence was restored subject to certain conditions, but relations were uneasy.

In 1871, diamonds had been discovered at Kimberley, prompting a diamond rush and a massive influx of foreigners to the borders of the Orange Free State. Then, gold was discovered in the South African Republic in 1886. 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 fresh waves of uitlanders (foreigners), mainly from Britain, who came to the Boer region in search of employment and fortune. This resulted in the number of uitlanders in the Transvaal eventually exceeding the number of Boers, and precipitated confrontations between the old order and the new. British expansionist ideas (led notably by Cecil Rhodes) as well as disputes over uitlander political and economic rights resulted in the failed Jameson Raid of 1895. This raid led by (and named after) Dr Leander Starr Jameson, the Administrator in Southern Rhodesia of the Chartered Company, was intended to encourage an uprising of the uitlanders in Johannesburg. However Johannesburg failed to rise and Transvaal government forces surrounded the column and captured Jameson's men before they could reach Johannesburg.

As tensions escalated from local to national level, there were political manoeuvrings and lengthy negotiations to reach a compromise ostensibly over the issue of "uitlander rights" but ultimately over control of the gold mining industry and the British desire to incorporate the Transvaal and the Orange Free State in a federation under British control. Given the number of British uitlanders already resident in the Transvaal and the ongoing inflow, the Boers recognised that the franchise policy demanded by the British would inevitably result in the loss of independence of the South African Republic. The negotiations failed, and in September 1899 Joseph Chamberlain (the British Colonial Secretary) sent an ultimatum to the Boers, demanding full equality for those uitlanders resident in the Transvaal. President Kruger, seeing no other option than war, issued his own ultimatum, giving the British 48 hours to withdraw all their troops from the border of the Transvaal, failing which the Transvaal, allied with the Orange Free State, would declare war against the British. The rejection of the ultimatum followed and war was declared.

In all that follows, it is important to remember that there was no single Boer, Afrikaner or Black African experience. A sense of the complexity of the political situation can be gathered from the fact that more Afrikaans-speaking whites lived in the British Cape Colony than in the Transvaal and Orange Free State combined and, crucially, that the vast majority did not give active support to the Afrikaans-speaking whites fighting the British. Similarly, by the end of the war, there were some 5,000 'joiners' -- Boers who had begun fighting against the British, and ended fighting with them; this represented about 20% of all Boers under arms.


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