Causes of the Boer War

Category: Military, Slavery, Wars
Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
Pages: 2 Views: 426

There were significant political conflicts between the two sides. The Boers treated all blacks very badly and did not give basic human rights even to the blacks working for them. They made them pay taxes but could not vote. It was said to be through religious reasons that the Boers treated blacks so badly. This awful treatment infuriated the British, who had abolished slavery in all its colonies as well as at home in 1834. The Dutch wanted to keep its slaves. Europeans working in the Boer territories were also mistreated.

These "Uitlanders" as they were known were key to the Boers' economic success, yet were still denied the vote. The war occurred also because of strategic reasons. The British had already seized Swaziland, Bechuanaland and Basutoland, which more or less surrounded the Boers who feared that if the British took any more territory, they could be under siege, particularly if their route to the sea was blocked. The British wanted to control all of Southern Africa, not just small areas which were isolated - the Boers were their main opponents. There were economic issues involved in the war.

The Boers took control of the Transvaal and set up the Orange Free State. They found gold in the Transvaal and this area became very rich indeed. Later diamonds were found in this area as well, and there was argument between the British and Boers over in which nation's territory they lay. Certain individuals had a major role in provoking the war. Cecil Rhodes was probably the most ambitious of Britain's leaders abroad. He was a real imperialist, and strove to expand the British Empire further, especially through his dream of a "Cape Colony to Cairo" railway.

Order custom essay Causes of the Boer War with free plagiarism report

feat icon 450+ experts on 30 subjects feat icon Starting from 3 hours delivery
Get Essay Help

He was strongly anti-Boer, and his actions seemed to shape British policy back at home. Also highly influential was Sir Alfred Milner, who was the British High Commissioner and was also strongly anti-Boer. He was supposed to be a peacemaker, but it were the demands he placed on the Boers which sparked the war, and he ended up looking more like a warmonger. Paul Kruger, President of the Transvaal and leader of the Boers, did not want to give in to the Uitlanders, since he feared he would lose his position if they were given the vote. It was he who had ordered the first attack against he British in 1881. The British were angered by the Boers first assault, but the Zulus' victory over the British led the arrogant Boers to believe that they could defeat them with ease. They were most ambitious, particularly after the absurd "Jameson Raid" where the British Dr. Jameson led only 500 men into the Transvaal. It was planned that the Uitlanders would join up and form an uprising to overpower and defeat Kruger and the Boers, however the raid was a failure and most of the British were killed or captured. The Boers did not accurately judge the British military.

Cite this Page

Causes of the Boer War. (2017, Dec 12). Retrieved from

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

plagiarism ruin image

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer