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The Boer War of 1899-1902 or the South African War was not the first conflict between the Boers and the British. The first conflict had taken place in 1880-1881 when the Boers of the Transvaal had risen up against the 1887 annexation by Britain.

From 1835 to 1845 a mass exodus of Dutch settlers, known as the Vootrekkers, left the British Cape Colony and crossed the Orange River into an unclaimed area (unclaimed by Europeans) in the interior of Southern Africa. This movement was known as the Great Trek and the Dutch became known as the Boers. (Dutch for farmer) They were looking for freedom from British rule and established two republics known as the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

It was however only a matter of time before British Imperialistic ambitions expanding beyond the Cape Colony and with the discovery of diamonds along the Orange and Vaal rivers, Britain proposed a confederation of all South African states under British rule. The British Annexed the Boer republics in 1875 and met little resistance until 1880 when the Boers rose up against British rule and tried to assert their independence.

The First Boer War dragged on for 4 years with an uneasy peace established in 1884 which accepted Boer internal rule over their territories under British control. This peace was not to last and with the gold and diamonds discoveries was to flare into open warfare again in 1899

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