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Anglo Boere Oorlog/Boer War (1899-1902) POW Portugal

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The purpose of this project is to gather profiles of these men, women and children who have profiles on Geni and to share interesting tales and anecdotes about individuals. Please collaborate...


The British advance during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) forced some 1443 Boers, consisted largely of refugee families including 173 children. as well as foreigners and 'Cape rebels' (ie British subjects who had joined Boer Commandos) fighting for the Boers over the Mozambican border from Transvaal, where they were interned by the Portuguese in September 1900. Owing to a lack of housing facilities, a serious epidemic of fever and pressure from the British government the Boers were shipped off to Portugal and held there until the cessation of hostilities..


C R de Wet in Chapter 7 of his book says "This harbour (Delagoa Bay), then the only harbour in South Africa open to us, was subsequently forbidden us by the Portuguese Government, whose officials even went so far as to arrest eight hundred of our burghers (who, for want of horses, had taken refuge in Portuguese territory), and to send them to Portugal

Immediately after their arrival in the port of Lisbon the Boer internees were transported to the 6 internment camps in Portugal:

  • Order of Christ Monastery in Tomar
  • Alcobaça (376 men in the monastery there)
  • Caldas da Rainha (320 men, women and children at the thermal baths resort)
  • Abrantes (possibly at a monastery)
  • Oeiras (near Lisbon; possibly at the prison nearby at Caxias)
  • Peniche (380 Boers were housed in a old fort)

where they were to sojourn for the duration of the war

The Boer internees had to adjust to sympathetic, but unfamiliar circumstances. They were themselves responsible for the tidiness of their living quarters and the preparation of food. The medical care of the Boers was entrusted by the Portuguese authorities to full-time medical officers. Religious services were conducted regularly and three Boer schools were founded. Organized leisure time was not commonly practised among Boer internees. A number of concerts were, however, presented and they gladly participated in the Portuguese festivities. Since they were allowed considerable freedom of movement, long walks and excursions were popular. A few dexterous ones made curios. The relationship between the Boer internees and the Portuguese authorities and people was particularly cordial. Under these circumstances it was only natural that close friendships were formed. Shortly after the declaration of peace the Portuguese government agreed to hand over the internees to the British government so that repatriation arrangements could be finalized. After the taking of the oath of allegiance to the British Crown had been concluded the internees boarded the Bavarian and left for South Africa. By the end of September 1902 all internees had already been united with their next of kin. Thanks to the good care bestowed on the Boer internees in Portugal, only sixteen of them died there. In 1913 the government of the Union of South Africa had a central monument erected for them in the British cemetery in Lisbon.

Amongst Boer prisoners of war detained at the camp near Lisbon is Mr J S Marais, late Auditor-General of the Transvaal.

Deaths (13)

  • Charel Jacob Vorster died of the fever he caught in Lourenco Marques

How to Participate

If you have an interest or an ancestor who was in the Portugal internment Camps:

  1. Get yourself added as a collaborator
  2. Navigate to your ancestor's profile
  3. Under the "More Actions" link choose "Add to Project"
  4. Select the "Portugal internment " project

How to add a link is explained in the attached document - Adding links to Geni profiles to projects.


  • Include in the "About Me" section of each person a brief biographical sketch of their lives. Also include the ship name and arrival date if known
  • Include a photograph/painting of your ancestor if one exists.
  • Your ancestor's profiles should be marked as "public" and not "private".
  • All included profiles should include full identifying information including birth and death dates as well as birth and death locations. It would also be very helpful if the immediate family of your pioneer ancestor, (their parents, siblings and children) profiles were public profiles also.
  • Do not make public any profiles of living people. NOTE: All Internees included on this project will have their profiles editable by other collaborators of this project. The object of reproducing the list here is to see if these people can be located on Geni and perhaps develop trees from them. To take part in any project - you do need to first be a collaborator - so join the project. See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!

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