Second Anglo-Boer War

The Second Boer War, also known as the Second Anglo-Boer War and the South African War, 11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902 was the first major international conflict of the twentieth century. The war was fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic). After a protracted hard-fought war, the two independent republics lost and were absorbed into the British Empire.

In all, the war had cost around 75,000 lives — 22,000 British soldiers (7,792 battle casualties, the rest through disease), 6,000-7,000 Boer Commandos, 20,000-28,000 Boer civilians, mostly woman and children, and an estimated 20,000 black Africans. The last of the Boers surrendered in May 1902 and the war ended with the Treaty of Vereeniging in the same month. The Union of South Africa was established in 1910. The treaty ended the existence of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State as Boer republics and placed them within the British Empire.

The Boers referred to the two wars as the Freedom Wars. Those Boers who wanted to continue the fight were known as “bitter-einders” (or irreconcilables) and at the end of the war a number like Deneys Reitz chose exile rather than sign an undertaking that they would abide by the peace terms. Over the following decade, many returned to South Africa and never signed the undertaking. Some, like Reitz, eventually reconciled themselves to the new status quo, but others waited for a suitable opportunity to restart the old quarrel. At the start of World War I the bitter-einders and their allies took part in a revolt known as the Maritz Rebellion

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