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Explain The Developments Leading Up To The Boer War

2367 words - 10 pages

Southern Africa had been shared between British colonies and republics of Dutch-Afrikaner settlers, also known as the Boers, since its acquisition by Britain at the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars. Throughout the 19th century, these two inhabitants maintained a strained relationship, and the question of the retention of total sovereignty became increasingly prevalent as the 20th century approached. The Boers and the British had already fought a war in 1880 that provided no answer to the question, however the discovery of both gold and diamonds after this conflict intensified the already tense relationship between the two governing powers. Furthermore, British imperial ambition and ...view middle of the document...

On one hand, Britain sought the unification of South Africa under the British flag and, on the other hand, the two Boer republics, the South African Republic and Orange Free State , wanted to retain their independence and to develop their republics into regional forces.Diamonds were discovered within the Boer governed Transvaal in 1872, and Britain took over the Transvaal in 1877, declaring it a British crown colony. The Boers who inhabited the Transvaal protested, resulting in insurrection in 1880 referred to as the First Anglo-Boer War or Transvaal War . The Boers, with their extensive knowledge of the land, humiliated the British in the Battle of Majuba Hill and British Prime Minister William Gladstone restored the Transvaal as a South African Republic. However, subsequent to this insurrection, the Boers established alliances with Germany, which made the British nervous and served to further increase tensions between the two nations.A new phase in the rivalry between the two opposing ideologies occurred when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand in the South African Republic. Subsequently, the Transvaal was flooded with engineers, miners and merchants from England, America and Europe. The Transvaal government benefited greatly economically from the influx of foreign miners, however, culturally it was reluctant to grant political power to the Uitlanders who were necessary for a successful mining industry, but perceived by the South African Republic as a threat to both Afrikaner nationalism and culture. Frustrated by this, the Uitlanders orchestrated an uprising, masterminded by the Premier of the Cape, Cecil Rhodes, and led by physician Dr. Leander Starr Jameson in December 1895. This rebellion, often referred to as Jameson's Raid , failed conclusively but, more significantly, the political consequences were far more dire than any militaristic repercussion, with Boer skepticism and mistrust of the British and their intentions soaring. Furthermore, the Orange Free State broke off diplomatic relations with Britain and entered into a military alliance with the South African, or Transvaal, republic. Forts were built in Pretoria, and the Transvaal imported heavy military equipment from Germany, in the process succeeding in establishing a link with an independent seaport after the completion of the Pretoria-Delagoa Bay Railway several months after the insurgency .This alliance that the two South Africa republics forged with Germany was particularly significant to the world in 1900 as the seeds for World War were being sown, with the signing of both the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente soon after the conclusion of the Boer War. Under Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany sought to push themselves into world prominence and challenge Great Britain as a superpower by supporting the Boers in the Boer War, and then challenging the British in the Moroccan Crisis of 1905. From this, it can be deduced that the Boer conflict was not only a war based on imperial...

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