Dutch, Huguenot and German immigrants first came to settle the Cape area of South Africa in 1652. In 1814 Britain took control of this area and refusing to submit to foreign colonial rule some 10,000 Boers (Dutch for “Farmers”) left the Cape area to embark on the “Great Trek of 1835-1842”. They first moved north to Natal and then to the interior highlands to set up two independent republics, the Orange Free State and the South African (Transvaal Republic). After several unsuccessful takeover attempts the call to war was issued on 11 October 1899. It would turn out to be one of the longest and bloodiest wars fought by Britain between 1815 and 1914.
The Second War, commonly known as the Boer War, between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics lasted three years, 1899-1902 and involved a large number of troops from many British possessions such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada and the Boer people with a high casualty rate on both sides. Two factors that contributed to the large amount of casualties were that many British soldiers were physically unprepared for the environment and poorly trained for the tactical conditions they faced. As a result, British losses were high due to both disease and combat. The Boer War was finally concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902.
About this Data Collection:
This data collection contains the following information on over 54,000 soldiers who either died or were wounded during the Boer War:
- Casualty type, date, and place
For example: South Africa Field Source, Staff, 3rd Brigade, Major-Genl. MacDonald H., C.B., D.S.O. wounded in Paardeberg on 18/02/1902.