Boerwar map

What were the Boer Wars and how did the Concentration Camps effect the outcome?

  • Tensions Increasing

    Tensions Increasing
    By 1870, all of southern Africa had been annexed by the British, except for the 2 Boer republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State (Pretes). The British increased their military efforts in order to annex the 2 republics (Pretes).
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    Introduction to the Boer War

    The Boer War was one of the bloodiest and costliest wars in British and South African history (Weber). There were many white and black casualties, including innocent civilians sent to concentration camps (Pretes). These camps killed more boys and girls than the men killed in the war (Farwell 106). Works Cited
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    Overall Death Totals

    The British lost almost 5,774 men and 22,829 were wounded at the end of both of the Boer Wars, and the Boers lost about 4,000, with over 10,000 men wounded and more than 40,000 captured by the British (Boer Wars).
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    Conclusion to the Boer War

    This war was costly in not only money, but also lives (Weber). In total, 27,000 Boers died (Pretes). The Africans averaged 14,000 deaths in the concentration camps as well (Krebs). Put together, 46,000 people died in the concentrations camps (South African War 7). This war represented a fight for freedom and way of life for the Boers (Weber). Even though the Boers lost, they were still seen as a symbol of hope for other countries ruled by others (Weber).
  • Annexation of Transvaal

    Annexation of Transvaal
    It was not until 1877 that the British were able to completely annex Transvaal (Pretes). However, in 1880 the Boer people were able to earn Transvaal back (Pretes).
  • The Violence Begins

    The Violence Begins
    It was not until December of 1880 that the Boer began to use violent tactics to fight the British (Pretorius).
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    The First Boer War

    The First Boer War was a short war between the British and the Boers (Pretorius). It has also been known as the Transvaal Rebellion because of the struggle over Transvaal in 1877 (Pretorius). Even though few lives were lost, the tension between the Boers and British remained intense (Pretes).
  • Treaty of Pretoria

    Treaty of Pretoria
    The first Boer War was compromised by the Treaty of Pretoria of April 5th, 1881, which gave independence to the Boers, but with a British dependency (Boer Wars).
  • Gold in Transvaal

    Gold in Transvaal
    Gold was discovered in Transvaal in 1886, bringing in a mass of British to the Boer Republics (Boer War).
  • Start of the Boer War

    Start of the Boer War
    The Second Boer war officially started in 1899 (Pretes).
  • British Reinforcements

    British Reinforcements
    After the Boers won many battles, the British had to bring in reinforcements (South African War 4).
  • Kimberley and Ladysmith

    Kimberley and Ladysmith
    Two British territories, Kimberley and Ladysmith, were surrendered to the British in late February 1900 (Pretorius).
  • Concentration camps begin

    Concentration camps begin
    The Boer would leave their families on their farms because it was impossible to take on commando tactics and move quickly with their families, so the British opened concentration camps in order to burn down the farms without having families killed in the process (Scott 45). By the end of the war 28,000 whites, mostly women and children, had died in the boer camps – more than twice the number of men on both sides killed in the fighting (Krebs 41).
  • The Capture of the Boer Capitals

    The Capture of the Boer Capitals
    By this time in June of 1900, the British had captured both of the Republic's Capitals, which led to the use of guerrilla warfare for the Boer people (Pretes).
  • Parliament speaks out

    Parliament speaks out
    In 1901, the first voices in Parliament start to speak against the concentration camp policy of the government in the form of Liberal M.P Lloyd George (Rawlings).
  • Problems in the concentration camps

    Problems in the concentration camps
    During this time, the situation was particulasrly bad because British politicians had not yet been alerted to the poor condition of the camps (De Reuck 75). Emily Hobhouse reports that hospital wards were never cleaned, rats were crawling through the blankets, there was no food other than milk and water in one camp, and children were left naked for hours because they had no clean, dry clothing (De Reuck 75). Women who complained were often sexually abused by the soldiers (De Reuck 75).
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    Emily Hobhouse visits concentration camps

    From december of 1901 to May of 1904, Emily Hobhouse photographed and journaled the conditions of the concentration camps, which were used to push British opinion against the Boer War (Scott 4).
  • Drop in death rate in concentration camps

    Drop in death rate in concentration camps
    When the camp death rates began to drop in the last months of 1901 and during 1902, the improvement was attributed by most anti-war factions to the agitations of Emily Hobhouse and by the Government to the work of the Fawcett Commission(Krebs 53).
  • The End of the Boer War

    The End of the Boer War
    On May 31st, 1902, the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed which meant the Boers accepted British rule (Boer Wars). Although the Boer accpeted the defeat from the British, the British still had to pay three million pounds in compensation for the damaged farms (Boer Wars).
  • Boer leverage themselves above blacks

    Boer leverage themselves above blacks
    In 1910, the Boer used their suffering during the Boer War in the concentration camps to justify that they deserve more rights than the blacks, whose suffering went widely unacknowledged (De Reuck 81). This could be seen as a signal for the beginning of apartheid in South Africa.
  • Blame placed on the Boer

    Blame placed on the Boer
    One historian, M.A. Gronum, placed the fault of the victimization of the Boer on the Boer themselves decades after the events of the war occured.(De Reuck 78). This is eerily similar to the way the Nazis placed blame on the Jews for their own demise (De Reuck 80). The Boer concentration camps served as the model for many other historical uses of the concentration camp (De Reuck 80).