10 Causes of the Anglo- Boer war of 1880 – 1881

This was the war fought between the British and the Boers between 1880 – 1881.This war is also called the Transvaal war of independence

The Boers were led by President Paul Kruger assisted by Jourbert a commander in chief.

The British were led by General Colley and Battle Frere.

Causes of the Anglo- Boer war

  • The desire by the Boers to regain their independence. The Transvaal Boers had lost their independence after theBritish the annexation of Transvaal in1877.
  • The Pedi resistance of 1861 and the defeat of the Boers of Transvaal. These Boers claimed that they were defeated because the British did not assist them.
  • The British annexation of Transvaal in 1877 greatly annoyed the Boers who resorted to war to recover it.

  • The idea of the federation which began in 1854 provided the Boers with an opportunity to show their hostility against the British.
  • Over taxation of the Boers by the British also caused dislike of the British. Besides the taxes were harshly collected.
  • Disrespect of the Dutch culture by the British in Transvaal also caused the war. Example the Afrikaans language was disrespected and only made second to English.
  • The Boer intention of not paying back the loans they owed to the British government at the cape. The cape government had loaned money especially to the Boers of Transvaal. However, it had become very difficult for them to pay back. The defeat of the British would help them to repudiate (not pay)
  • The need by the British to force the Boers of Transvaal to pay back the loans they had acquired from the cape.

  • The influence of the Anglo – Zulu war of 1879. The defeat of the British at Isandhlwana gave the Boers confidence to fight. Besides the defeat of the Zulu at Ulundi also encourage the Boers to fight since the Zulu threat had been removed.
  • Transvaal nationalism by the Boers also caused the war. These Boers were very nationalistic and refused to accept the British annexation of Transvaal.
  • Need to control the mineral wealth by both the British and Boers. Each wanted to control the mineral wealth exclusively.
  • The growth and development of Transvaal republic also made the British to envy it and this ended in war in 1880 – 1881.
  • The personality and character of Battle Frere. He wanted to show the Boers how strong the British were.
  • The character and personality of Paul Kruger president of Transvaal. Kruger opposed the British and demanded for the independence of Transvaal.

  • The change of government in Britain that led to the coming in office of Gladstone of the Liberal Party in Great Britain. He condemned the British annexation of Transvaal and reasoned that the Boers should be given chance of self governance.
  • Long term enmity between the British and the Boers. This started way back to Great trek period.
  • Increased British imperialism in south Africa also led to the war
  • The immediate cause of the war was the confiscation of the property of the Boer farm for the failure to pay tax by the British tax collectors. This act annoyed the Boers who decided to save their friend by force hence the war.
  • The act of resorting to violence as a method of recovering the confiscated property created the war feelings. The Boers organized a group of 300 people attacked the British hence the war.