Being Remembered for their Bravery
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
By Will Andrews – Training Director
May 31, 2019 marks the 117th anniversary of the end of the Boer War. The Boers were descendants of the original Dutch settlers in southern Africa. The roots of the conflict stretch back to Great Britain taking control of the Dutch Cape as a result of the Napoleonic war. As everywhere else they went, the British immediately made themselves unpopular and unwelcome. The Boers, bent on independence, resisted British rule. These general tensions grew until the 1890’s, when minor fighting broke out. By 1899, a full-fledged war was underway!
While history records that the British won this war, thus forming South Africa from the defeated states of the Boers, it is important to look deeper into the details.
The Boers, after losing control of the cities in their own states, resorted to guerrilla warfare. In response, the British implemented a scorched earth policy, destroying everything in their path. Boer civilians were captured and placed in concentration camps, where many died of disease and starvation. According to history, the British won the war.
In actuality, however, the Boer “army” was probably never larger than about 35,000 men. Thirty five thousand men who had farmed and ranched in this area of Africa their entire lives. They were adept at living off the land, were excellent horsemen and unrivaled marksmen. The British brought to bear on them an army of 400,000. Yes, the British won the fight. But the Boers, outnumbered more than 11 to 1, delayed the inevitable outcome by more than 3 years!
These intrepid Boers share much with the men who formed the United States of America. Hard working men with a rifle and a dream of independence who showed no fear in the face of the most powerful nation on Earth. Ultimately, the Boers were unsuccessful. And they deserve being remembered for their bravery and dedication to the cause of liberty.