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The Boers were Dutch settlers who had come to South Africa to make a home for themselves where they could farm and live under their own rule and away from European powers and politics. They co-existed with other settlers including the English but soon fount the encroachment of European control was becoming restrictive. They eventually migrated deeper into The south African interior into areas known as the Orange State and the Transvaal and established their own governments and lands.

British imperialism eventually caught up with them and after the first Boer War they were given self-government in the Transvaal but with the enormous deposits of gold and diamonds, the British were eventually drawn into conflict with the Boers and their refusal to grant any non-Boers rights in their states.

The Boers were led by Paul Kruger and with supplies from Germany were able to score a series of success against the Cape Colony and Natal from October 1899 to January 1900. They raised over 88,000 troops and commanders such as Jan Smits, (South African leaders during WWII) and Louis Botha helped them to shake the British Empire to it's foundations.

Although initially successful against the British, the eventually weight of the Empire wore them down and in the last phase of the war they had to resort to a guerrilla war against the occupying British forces. They were taken prisoner and placed in concentration camps in order for the British to control the country side. Many died of malnutrition and dieses in the camps and the British were severally criticized for these camps.

The war ended in May of 1902 with the signing of the treaty of Vereeniging which saw an end to the Orange Free State and the Transvaal but also included the payment by the British to the Boers of over 3 million lbs for reconstruction. They were also promised self government within the British Empire and this was granted in 1907.

The Boers retained their spirit of independence, individualism and that spirit of frontierism which may them self reliant, resourceful people as they had spread out into the wild lands of South Africa and fought the blacks, the British, the Empire and all who challenge them. Although they lost the Boer war they did not lose their identity and today form an important component of South African society.



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Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/war/war.html