Effects of the Boer War.
The Boer war had effects on the soldiers on both sides of the war, the indigenous people of South Africa and the families of the Boer soldiers.
Even though the main parties of the war - the British
and the two Boer republics were mainly whites, this war was by no means
a white man's
war. The indigenous black people of South Africa were involved as well.
At least 15,000 blacks were armed and served in
British mobile columns. About 25,000 served as watches of the English
fields of imprisonment.They were also employed for the maintenance of
the system of the Military and Imperial Railroad and in the few mines
that had reopened in the attempt
to let work begin again in the economy.They were employed in a role
of military support as explorers and drivers of wagons. In
this, there were as many as 37 black concentration
camps recorded in
Transvaal and 29 in Orange River state. These camps are said to have
imprisoned as many as 11,500 adult persons. As many as 20,000 Africans
were in concentration camps and African women were raped.
The Boers did not conform to the usual rules of war. They were constantly shelling the British and this meant that the British soldiers could not move openly during the day and had to camp in insanitary dugouts rather than in the open, which accelerated the spread of disease in the British camp. This also curtailed recreational activities such as playing cricket and polo, which created an insidious air of boredom throughout the camp. Furthermore, fighting a war in which large numbers of British troops were dying coupled with the high level of stress deeply affected morale. This was a new experience for the British which deeply humiliated them, especially as they outnumbered the Boers 2-1. These had negative psychological effects on the British soldiers. Apart from these psychological effects, the British also suffered casualties from the war. It is estimated that 7,792 British soldiers were killed in the war while as many as 13,250 died from disease.
The Boers soldiers suffered as many as 6,000 casualties as a result of this war.The British managed to capture the capital cities of the two Boer republics(Bloemfontein and Pretoria) in May/June, 1900. Britain therefore considered the war over. But the Boers had a long and proud tradition in South Africa and were not about to give up so easily. Some Boer commando units, the 'bitter-enders', escaped into the vast bush country and for 2 more years continue to wage unconventional guerilla warfare by blowing up trains and ambushing British troops and garrisons. The British Army, unable to defeat the Boers using conventional tactics, adopted many of the Boer methods, and the war degenerated into a devastating and cruel struggle between British righteous might and Boer nationalist desperation. The British criss-crossed the countryside with blockhouses to flush the Boers into the open; they burnt farms and confiscated foodstuffs to prevent them falling into Boer hands. By the time the war was over, the Boer lands had been left in ruins. The British also packed off Boer women and children to concentration camps as 'collaborators'. Some analysts however argue that the British set up the concentration camps to house people in comfort and safety. The administration of the camps however ran into difficulties, causing bad conditions which led to the death of Boer women and children .Regardless of this argument, the fact remains that the construction of these concentration camps together with other acts of the British army literally starved the commandos into submission. The last of the Boer commandos, left without food, clothing, ammunition or hope, surrendered in May, 1902 and the war ended with the Treaty of Vereeniging.
The Anglo- Boer war was a very tragic war, not only
did the Boers lose their independence to the British, they also lost
thousands of women
and children from the concentration camps. Also, thousands of native Southern
Africans lost their lives, in a war that had nothing to do with them.
the war destroy
farms, it destroyed the Boer way of life completely.