1899 Boer War

The Boer War (the word “Boer” meaning Dutch farmer) in the Cape of South Africa was fought between the original European settlers and the British Empire who sort to take over the colony beginning in 1814. Refusing to submit to foreign colonial rule, some 10,000 Boers left the Cape in 1836 and moved northwards on the ‘Great Trek’ and set up the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic. The discovery of gold and diamonds in the Witwatersrand in the Transvaal in 1886 made the region a ‘most desirable’ property.

On 10th October, 1899 the government alliance of the Transvaal and Orange Free State, served an ultimatum to the British to remove their forces from South Africa, this was refused and war became inevitable.

16,175 Australians were recruited from Australia directly. Most Australians served in mounted units known variously as Bushmen, Mounted Rifles, Imperial Bushmen, The Australian Commonwealth Horse and the Light Horse. These Troops were highly valued for their expert riding and shooting skills gaining an enviable reputation as superb fighters using their bushcraft, riding and shooting skills to produce formidable fighting units and future commanders.

The war officially ended in 1902 with the two regions being in British hands.

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