• The war started when a Boer farmer killed a Utilander and Kruger refused to punish the murderer
  • By October 1899, The British troops had started moving near Transvaal boarder to encircle it.

  • On 9th October, Paul Kruger, the president of Transvaal demanded the British to remove their forces within 48 hours.
  • Since the British needed war, they kept a deaf ear to Kruger’s demands and when the deadline expired on 11th October 1899 war was declared on the British.
  • The war found the British not well prepared as compared to the Boers. Besides, the Boers were fighting in the country they knew very well.
  • The Boers managed to win the first battle chased the British out of Transvaal through Orange Free State.
  • The Boers also followed the British forces in places such as Ladysmith in Natal, Kimberly and Mafeking in the Cape Colony.

  • At this point Boers from all over south Africa including British areas come out to help their brothers
  • However, the Boer troops had attempted too much to consolidate. They quickly become weak and this gave the British troops a chance to re- organizes.
  • The British got reinforcement (more troops) from Britain, India, Australia and Sudan to crush the Boers.
  • Though increased in number, the British troops continued to suffer defeat from determined Boers. For example at Magerfontein, Stomberg , and Colenso. This week of British defeat was called “Black week”
  • By March 1900, the British troops under the command of General Roberts had got an upper hand against the Boers in several battles.
  • British forces took control over Bloemfontein; the capital of Orange Free State in March 1900 and Pretoria; the capital of Transvaal by June of the same year.
  • In August 1900, Paul Kruger had become disappointed, disparate, old and weak. He migrated to Europe where he died on 14th July 1904.

  • After the British had defeated the Boer regular forces, they turned to guerilla warfare which made it difficult for the British to completely defeat them.
  • The guerilla war in Transvaal was led by Dela Rey and Luis Botha.
  • The Boers were only defeated for good after the British employed the scotched earth policy.This policy was employed by Kitchener and involved destroying the enemy’s farms, water sources, houses, crops, and livestock.
  • The concentration camps were also set up for the Boer civilians to facilitate the clean- up operations.

  • Faced with hardships of starvation and diseases , the Boer Generals ;De Wet , Dela Rey,Luis Botha and Hertzog surrendered to the British commander General Smuts by signing the Vereeniging treaty on 31st may 1902.


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