I am over at Writing to be Read today with a post about the Second Anglo Boer War propaganda poetry and a cover reveal for my forthcoming novel, A Ghost and His Gold, which is about this war. Thank you, Kaye Lynne Booth, for hosting me.
For those of you who do not know, a Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for “farmer”.
Britain occupied the Cape in South Africa in 1795, ending the role of the Dutch East India Company in the region. After the British occupation, the infrastructure in the Cape Colony began to change as English replaced Dutch, the British pound sterling replaced the Dutch rix-dollar and a freehold system of landownership gradually replaced the existing Dutch tenant system.
Between 1835 and 1840, the Great Trek took place when approximately 12 000 Boers from the Cape Colony migrated into the South African interior to escape British control and to acquire cheap land.
Over time, the Boers achieved the independence of their two republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State which shared borders with the British controlled Cape Colony.
When Sir Alfred Milner took over as Governor of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner for Southern Africa in May 1897, relations between Britain and the two Boer republics had been strained for some time. The Boers had already successfully defended the annexation of the Transvaal by the British during the first Anglo Boer War. Milner knew that an independent Transvaal stood in the way of Britain’s ambition to control all of Africa from the Cape to Cairo and that, with the discovery of gold in the Transvaal, the balance of power in South Africa had shifted from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
After the discovery of gold in the Transvaal, thousands of British and other gold seekers called Uitlanders, flocked to the Witwatersrand. The Boers considered that the Uitlanders threated the independence of their republic and refused to give them the vote. Milner used the Uitlander issue as a pretext to provoke the Boer government. The two republics declared war on the British Empire on 11 October 1899 and the second Anglo Boer War started.