Capitalism: Cause of the Boer War

Length: 5 Pages 1254 Words

The Boer War was the armed conflict between Britain and the two Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State in South Africa. It began on October 11, 1899 and lasted almost three years ending May 31, 1902. During that three-year period, the British were humiliated by an undermanned force in the Boers, which led to the implementation of barbarous and savage techniques for which the British were heavily scrutinized. Capitalism caused this British version of Vietnam, and by doing so demonstrated the foundation of British imperialism. Several factors contributed to the outbreak of the war, including race, nationalism and international power politics, but the main reason was the capitalistic nature of the British. The British forced the war in 1899 to gain control of the Transvaal, the independent republic where Boers had political control and where gold mining was a major new industry. During the late 1800’s, gold had become the keystone of the world’s expanding commerce. By 1890 London was the financial center of the world’s trade, and a steady supply of the world’s stock of gold was critical for maintaining this position. The conflict between the British and Dutch-descendents was not new. A rivalry between the Boers Continue...


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In 1877 Britain took over the Transvaal, declaring it a British crown colony after the discovery of diamonds near Kimberley in 1872. Frustrated with the lack of political power within the state, the Uitlanders orchestrated an ill fated uprising, masterminded by Cecil Rhodes and financed by Beit (to the tune of 200,000 pounds!). At first the Boers did surprisingly well, achieving victory over their British counterparts during the "black week" of mid-December 1899. After the failed raid, Sir Alfred Milner, British High commissioner for South Africa, began secretly to plan a full-scale war. By September 1, 1900 the Transvaal was annexed to the British crown and the war seemed over. On the contrary, this is when the action heated up and a guerrilla war began. " Although several factors were evident throughout this struggle, among them race, politics and nationalism, it was the capitalistic nature of the British that led to the massacre of over 28, 000 civilians in one of the most brutal incidents in world history. Unpopular opinion, not only from the homeland, but also from several other European countries, made it necessary for a quick end to the war to avoid any further blows to British imperialism. These techniques drew heated criticism from several prominent figures, i. His empire controlled a labor force of 120,000 men. The Transvaal was transformed by its overnight wealth, but was reluctant to grant political power to the 'Uitlanders' who were needed for the industry, but more so as a threat to local culture. The greed of these "gold bugs" coincided with the imperialistic schemes of British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain and the political ambitions of Alfred Milner, forming the triumvirate that invoked the Boer War.

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