Second Boer war
Major Wars Of 20th Century
Years 1899 1902 Battle deaths 30,800In 1896 Cecil Rhodes sponsored the ineffective coup detat of the Jameson Raid and the failure to gain improved rights for Britons was used as an excuse to justify a major military buildup in the Cape. There was another reason for the British intention to take control of the Boer Republics there was at the time an attempt made by the Transvaal Republic to link up with German South West Africa, a possibility which the British, with an eye to the coming clash with the Empire of the Germans, determined to thwart.
The Boers, under Paul Kruger, struck first. The Boers attacked into Cape Colony and Natal between October 1899 and January 1900. The Boers were able to successfully besiege the British garrisons in the towns of Ladysmith, Mafeking (defended by troops headed by Robert Baden Powell) and Kimberley and inflicted three separate defeats on the British in one week, December 10 to 15, 1899. It was not until reinforcements arrived on February 14, 1900 that British troops commanded by Lord Roberts could launch counter offences to relieve the garrisons (the relief of Mafeking on May 18, 1900 provoked riotous celebrations in England) and enabled the British to take Bloemfontein on March 13 and the Boer capital, Pretoria, on June 5. Boer units fought for two more years as guerrillas, the British, now under the command of Lord Kitchener, responded by constructing blockhouses, destroying farms and confiscating food to prevent them from falling into Boer hands and placing Boer civilians in concentration camps.
The last of the Boers surrendered in May 1902 and the war ended with the Treaty of Vereeniging in the same month. 22,000 British troops had died and over 25,000 Boer civilians. The treaty ended the existence of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State as Boer republics and placed them within the British Empire. But the Boers were given