The History of the Boer Wars

Historical Events

  • 1870-07-30 The Republic of Klipdrift is proclaimed by Transvaal President Andries Pretorius after the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1866 resulted in a flood of treasure hunters; ownership of the diamond fields was contested by the Boer republics
  • 1880-12-08 5,000 armed Boers gather in Paardekraal, South Africa
  • 1880-12-16 Beginning of the First Boer War between British Empire and Boer South African Republic
  • 1881-01-28 Battle at Laing's Neck Natal: Boers beat superior powered British
  • 1881-02-07 Battle at Ingogo, Transvaal: Boers beat superior British forces
  • 1881-02-27 Battle at Amajuba: South African Boers vs British army under General Colley
  • 1881-03-23 Boers & Britain sign peace accord; end 1st Boer war
  • 1881-08-03 Boers signs Convention of Pretoria: Transvaal semi-autonomous

Meeting of Interest

1894-06-25 Boer leader Paul Kruger meets British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Loch, on Pretoria station in South Africa and accompanies him to his hotel to discuss the grievances of the Uitlanders (Foreigners)

  • 1899-09-28 Transvaal mobilizes its army - leadup to Second Boer War
  • 1899-10-11 South African Boers declare war on Great Britain
  • 1899-10-12 South Africa Boer Republic declares war on Britain
  • 1899-10-20 Battle at Talana Hill, Natal: British army vs Boers
  • 1899-10-21 Battle at Elandslaagte Natal: (Boers vs British army)
  • 1899-10-24 Battle at Rietfontein, South Africa: Boers vs British army
  • 1899-10-30 Battle of Ladysmith, Natal: Boers defeat the British, leading to the Siege of Ladysmith
  • 1899-11-02 Boers begin siege of Ladysmith, Natal

Historic Event

1899-11-15 Morning Post reporter Winston Churchill captured by Boers in Natal

  • 1899-11-22 -23] Battle at Willow Grange, Natal (British vs Boer army)
  • 1899-11-23 Battle at Belmont: General Methuen's British brigades engage Boer force during Second Boer War
  • 1899-11-28 Battle of Mud River (Boer general Cronjé beats British gen Methuen)
  • 1899-12-09 Boer War: During Siege of Ladysmith, Boers storm King's Post and Caesar's Camp - driven back
  • 1899-12-10 Battle at Storm Berge South Africa - Boers vs British army
  • 1899-12-15 Battle at Colenso, South Africa: British army defeated by Boer force
  • 1899-12-23 British Field Marshal Lord Roberts departs Southampton for South Africa for the 2nd Boer War
  • 1899-12-25 Shelling on besieged Ladysmith during the Boer War includes one shell containing a plum pudding
  • 1900-01-06 Boers attack at Ladysmith, about 1,000 killed or injured
  • 1900-01-21 The second contingent of Canadian troops sails from Halifax to fight in South Africa against the Boers
  • 1900-01-24 Battle of Tugela-Spionkop, South Africa (Boers vs British army)
  • 1900-01-29 Boers under Joubert beat British forces at Spionkop, Natal, 2,000 killed
  • 1900-02-06 The Battle of Vaal Krantz, South Africa (Boers vs British army)

Historic Siege

1900-02-15 Boer War: Siege of Kimberley broken by British troops under Lieutenant-General John French after a 124 day siege. Kimberley defense led by Cecil Rhodes.

  • 1900-02-22 Battle at Wynne's Hill, South Africa (Boers vs British army)
  • 1900-02-23 Battle at Hart's Hill, South Africa (Boers vs British army)
  • 1900-02-27 Battle at Pietershoogte during the Boer War
  • 1900-02-27 Boer General Cronjé surrenders to British in Pardenberg, South Africa
  • 1900-03-10 Battle of Driefontein, South Africa, British offensive against the Boers, who are forced to withdraw

Historic Event

1900-03-11 British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury rejects peace overtures from the Boer leader Paul Kruger (on 5 March) as demanding too-favourable terms

  • 1900-03-13 British troops occupy Bloemfontein, capital of the Orange Free State (Boer War)
  • 1900-03-17 In South Africa, British troops relieve Mafeking, besieged by the Boers since 13 October, 1899
  • 1900-03-27 Recognising that the war in South Africa is going to take a major commitment, Parliament passes the War Loan Act, calling for £35 million to support the fight against the Boers.
  • 1900-03-31 At " Surprise of Sanna’s Post" in the Second Boer War 150 troops under Brigadier General Robert Broadwood are killed

Assassination Attempt

1900-04-04 Assassination attempt on Prince of Wales, later British King Edward VII when shot by Jean-Baptiste Sipido in protest over Boer war

  • 1900-04-04 British garrison of Reddersberg surrenders to Boer general De Wet
  • 1900-05-12 Boer attack under Sarel Eloff, about 70 killed
  • 1900-05-12 Lord Roberts' British forces occupy Crown city during Boer War
  • 1900-05-28 Paul Kruger, President of the Boer Republic of South Africa, flees its capital, Pretoria, goes to Watervalboven to evade the advancing British
  • 1900-06-05 Pretoria, capital of the Boer Republic of South Africa, falls to the British led by General Buller
  • 1900-06-07 Boer general Christian de Law occupies British rail depot at Roodewal
  • 1900-07-03 The British evacuate Rustenburg and occupy Commando Nek and Silkaatsnek in the Anglo-Boer war
  • 1900-07-11 Boer general De la Rey captures Scots Greys and Lincolns
  • 1900-07-31 Boer Generals Prinsloo & Roux surrender in Brandwater Basin

Victory in Battle

1900-08-27 Battle of Bergendal: General Buller defeats the Boer under general Louis Botha

  • 1900-09-03 With a proclamation by General Lord Roberts, Britain annexes the Boer Republic of South Africa
  • 1900-09-15 A Boer delegation issues an appeal at the Hague, Netherlands, that the major powers intervene in the war in South Africa
  • 1900-10-25 Great Britain annexes the former Boer South African Republic, renaming it the Transvaal Colony
  • 1900-11-06 Battle at Bothaville: Major General Charles Knox beats Boers
  • 1900-11-22 Paul Kruger, exiled President of the Boer Republic of South Africa, is given a popular welcome when he lands at Marseilles, France
  • 1900-12-13 Battle of Nooitgedacht: Boer generals De La Reyand Smuts defeat a British brigade under the command of Major General R. Clements
  • 1900-12-16 Boer army under gen Kritzinger take Cape colony

Historic Event

1900-12-19 General Horatio Kitchener offers protections to all Boers who will surrender and asks the Dutch community of Pretoria to convey this offer, leaders in the field refuse to surrender

  • 1901-01-31 Boer generals Jan Smuts & De la Rey conqueror Mud river, Transvaal
  • 1901-02-26 British General Kitchener confers with Boer general Louis Botha about peace conditions, which break down over the question of amnesty for some Boers
  • 1901-02-27 A General Committee of National Liberal Federation meets and adopts a resolution deploring the continuation of the war in South Africa and condemning the British Government's insistence on unconditional surrender by the Boers
  • 1901-08-12 Boer general Kritzinger driven out of Cape colony
  • 1901-08-15 Great Britain issues a proclamation calling on the Boers to surrender by 15 September or face banishment and confiscation of their property
  • 1901-09-03 Boer General Smuts enters Kiba Drift in Cape Colony
  • 1901-09-17 Battle at Elands River Port: Boer General Smuts destroys unit 17th Lancers
  • 1901-09-17 Battle of Blood River Port: Boer General Botha beats Major Gough's cavalry
  • 1901-09-26 Boer General Botha fails to capture Fort Itala in Natal
  • 1901-10-30 Battle at Bakenlaagte: Lieutenant-Colonel Benson's British unit vs Boers
  • 1901-12-16 Boer general Kritzinger captured
  • 1901-12-25 Battle at Tweefontein: British force camped on a hill is surprised by a Boer attack at 2am
  • 1902-01-10 Although it has professed neutrality in the Boer War, German Chancellor von Bulow joins others in attacking British actions in South Africa
  • 1902-02-24 Battle at Yzer Spruit: Boer general De la Rey beats British
  • 1902-03-07 Boers beat British troops at Tweebosch, Transvaal
  • 1902-04-11 Second Boer War: British forces defeat Boer commandos in Battle of Rooiwal, South Africa
  • 1902-05-19 Great Britain and Boers resume peace talks in Pretoria
  • 1902-05-31 Boer War Ends; Treaty of Unity signed, Britain annexes Transvaal
  • 1907-03-22 The new Boer government in the Transvaal passes an Asiatic Registration Bill, that restricts immigration from India
  • 1910-04-27 Louis Botha and J. B. M. Hertzog establish the moderately nationalist South African Party promising equality of Britons and Boers
  • 1910-09-15 Boers & Afrikaners win 1st general elections in Union of South-Africa
  • 1914-01-27 A petition is written and submitted by the black and coloured women of the Orange Free State, an independent Boer sovereign republic in southern Africa, against the carrying of passes by women
  • 1914-08-15 The first large public gathering of Boers in South Africa who do not want to support Britain in a war against Germany; British authorities will try to repress this movement, but discontent spreads
  • 1914-10-13 Pro-German Boers begin opposition to British authority in South Africa
  • 1914-12-08 Boers rebelling against the British in South Africa suffer several defeats, with one of their leaders, General Beyers, accidentally drowning
  • 1938-08-08 Great Trek Centenary Celebrations commence; the Great Trek was a migration involving Boers leaving the Cape Colony and settling in the interior of South Africa
  • 1955-10-26 British troops occupy Saudi Arabian oil field at Boeraimi

Famous Birthdays

Paul Kruger

1825-10-10 Paul Kruger, 3rd President of South African Republic (1883-1900) and face of Boer resistance during the Second Boer War, born in Steynsburg, Cape Colony (d. 1904)

  • 1832-09-30 Frederick Sleigh "Bobs" Roberts, British governor of Natal (Ireland-Boer war)
  • 1847-10-22 Jacobus Herculas de la Rey, Boer leader in the South African War (1899–1902), born in Winburg, South Africa (d. 1914)

Horatio Kitchener

1850-06-24 Horatio Kitchener, British General who commanded British forces during the Battle of Omdurman (Sudan) and the Second Boer War who became British Secretary of State for War during WWI (1914-16), born in Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland (d. 1916)

  • 1854-10-07 Christiaan R de Wet, South African rebel leader, politician and general in the Boer War

Louis Botha

1862-09-27 Louis Botha, Boer general and statesman, 1st Prime Minister of South Africa (1910-19), born in Greytown, Natal (d. 1919)

  • 1899-12-06 Harry Buller Siege Willis, son of South Africa boer in Ladysmith
  • 1906-07-09 Beene Dubbelboer, Dutch writer (Secret Resistance), born in Tweede Exloërmond, Netherlands (d. 1982)
  • 1910-03-16 Martijn Lijnema, boer/resistance fighter (WWII)

Famous Deaths

  • 1853-07-23 Andries Pretorius, Boer leader (Pretoria named after him), dies at 54
  • 1899-10-23 Penn Symons, British Major General during Second Boer War, dies in battle during the Battle Of Talana Hill at 56
  • 1899-12-11 Andrew Wauchope, British Major-General, dies in Battle of Magersfontein in the Boer war, South Africa. Another British Major, The Marquess of Winchester also killed.
  • 1901-01-08 John Barry, Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, dies during the Second Boer War at 27
  • 1901-10-30 ... Opperman, South African Boer general (Spy), killed in battle
  • 1902-01-17 Gideon Scheepers, South Africa Boer leader, executed
  • 1902-04-11 General Jacobus Potgieter, South African Boer commander, dies in Second Boer War Battle of Rooiwal, South African Republic

Paul Kruger

1904-07-14 Paul Kruger, 3rd President of South African Republic (1883-1900) and face of Boer resistance during the Second Boer War, dies of pneumonia at 78

  • 1911-02-04 Peter A "Piet" Cronje, South Africa Boer general, dies at about 75
  • 1911-02-05 Petrus A Cronjé, Transvaal Boer general, dies
  • 1914-09-15 Jacobus Herculas de la Rey, Boer leader in the South African War (1899–1902), dies at 66

Horatio Kitchener

1916-06-05 Horatio Kitchener, British General who commanded British forces during the Battle of Omdurman (Sudan) and the Second Boer War who became British Secretary of State for War during WWI (1914-16), drowns at 65 after the HMS Hampshire struck a German mine

  • 1922-02-03 Christiaan R. de Wet, South African Boer general, dies at 67
  • 1993-04-15 George Frederick Ives, British-Canadian army veteran & last survivor of the Boer War, dies at 111