This unit is about the First Anglo Boer war and the other conventions that followed after that.




  • The major cause was the 1877 British annexation of Transvaal which annoyed the Boers since they lost their independence.
  • The 1877 Pedi attack on Transvaal weakened the Boers bringing in the much hated British administration.
  • Transvaal was over indebted to the cape bankers so the British took this as an advantage
  • The British were worried that the hopeless situation in Transvaal was likely to be exploited by the Zulu
  • Lord Carnavan, a British leader wanted to bring Transvaal by force into a federation led by the British
  • The long held hatred and suspicion between the Boers and British since the days of the great trek
  • The British were always following the Boers leaving the Boers with no alternative but to fight
  • Transvaal had started being prosperous with small scale mining taking place which invited British interest.
  • Rise of British imperialism championed by Carnavan and others.
  • The role played by Jourbate, Paul Kruger on the Boer side and by Carnavan on the British side.
  • Rise of Boer nationalism especially in the republic the Transvaal where the hard core or strong hearted Boers lived.
  • The immediate cause was a taxation incident in which a Boer farmer had his property confiscated property.
  • The issue of the mistreatment of the Utilanders and discrimination of British goods in favour of German and Portuguese goods.
  • After the failure of two journeys to London by Paul Kruger to demand for independence, war became inevitable
  • When after the Boer raid the farmers hoisted the old Boers independence flag and declared that their Volksraad was to meet war became inevitable.



  • After failure of peace 6000 Boers met at Wonderfontein to prepare for war against the British in 1879.
  • A three man committee of Krufar, Pretorians and Jourbert was appointed to run the country.
  • Then the British confiscated the property of the Boer farmer had not paid taxes
  • A band of 300 Boers got back the property forcefully
  • On 8th December 1880 the republic was secretly re-established with Kruger as president of the parliament.
  • Then on 16th December the independence flag was flown marking completion of the struggle to get back Boer independence.
  • On 20th December 1880 the British lost the first battle when they lost over 100 men
  • Generally Colley than rushed from natal with reinforcements
  • Colley than attacked the Boers at Laing’s Nek
  • Then at Majaba hill the British let the Boers climb the lillon which the British had bases
  • Later the British failed to defend the hill and lost many soldiers including Sir Pomerroy Colley
  • By February the Boers had defeated the few British soldiers at Transvaal
  • In august 1881 the two agreed to stop the war with the signing of the Pretoria treaty
  • It was by ambush and sudden attack that the British forces were defeated


  • Loss of lives as over 200 soldiers died
  • The Boers defeated the British at Majuba hill
  • Destruction of property especially farms
  • Disruption of trade and agriculture
  • It led to more Anglo Boer wars
  • It increased hostility between the British and Boers
  • It led to increase of Boer nationalism
  • It encouraged Boer unity since O.F.S rowed to help Transvaal in future.



It was the treaty that ended the first Anglo Boer war. It was between the British and the Boers.

It was facilitated by the British Prime Minister Gladstone who was fed up of the war and wanted quick conclusion to it.

The treaty aimed at claiming the Transvaal Boers to quicken the British federation plans.

Paul Kruger and Jourbert signed and accepted the peace terms on behalf of Boers

The treaty occurred in Pretoria the capital of Transvaal on August 1881.


  • Transvaal was to lose her independence to the British.
  • Transvaal was to maintain self-government i.e. only internal independence.
  • Transvaal was to accept the British flag and leadership of the queen
  • Transvaal foreign affairs were to be conducted by the British
  • The civil rights of the Utilanders were to be protected
  • The Boers were to stop discriminating against British goods
  • The resident British officer was to stay in Pretoria to protect African rights


  • Kruger and Jourbert became very powerful people
  • The Boers who were discriminated
  • The Transvaal Boers were disunited
  • Boers became even more proud
  • It led to a new president
  • The Boers in Orange Free State vowed to unite with the transvaalers to defend Boer values
  • It weakened the Zulu further confirming their loss of independence




The Jameson’s raid was mainly a result of misunderstandings between the Transvaal Boers led by Paul Kruger against the British subjects, the Utilanders under the influence of Cecil Rhodes.

The Utilanders were mainly English subjects who had gone into Transvaal to prospect for minerals

The leaders of the raid were Lieutenant Rhodes and Dr Jameson

The chief planner and architect of the raid was the rich cape Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes.


The men in power in South Africa were war hungry i.e. Paul Kruger and Cecil Rhodes only believed in war as a solution to their problems.

The increased number of Utilanders who were 3 quarters of the Transvaal population worried the Boers

Kruger’s mistreatment of the Utilanders because he looked at them as exploitative and could leave as soon as gold was exhausted caused tension.

Kruger’s harassment of the utilanders included

  • They were not to speak English on public functions
  • Utilander’s children were to study from boer controlled schools
  • Kruger gave the bigger contracts to only Dutch companies excluding the utilanders
  • He denied utilanders voter’s rights in Transvaal so as to preserve boer independence
  • The utilanders were to vote only after studying in Transvaal for a long period of time
  • Kruger extended the voting period from 2 years to 5 years then later to 7 years
  • Only those who had stayed in transvaal for 14 yaers could vote for a member of partliament

Kruger and the boers were determined to safe guard their economic and political independence.

The scramble for the mineral wealth in South Africa between the boers and the british.

The long held suspicions and hatred between the boers and the british since the great trek

The british since 1835 kept on following the boers

The poor military record of the british in the past

The rise of british imperialism and their desire to colonize the whole of south Africa

Rise of Boer nationalism championed by ultra-very strong nationalists for example Paul Kruger

Paul Kruger over taxed the uitilanders goods and machines which created tension

Rhode Cecil’s smuggling of firearms into Transvaal to check the growing strength of the Boers created panic.

When Cecil Rhodes tried to use the cheaper road transport across the Vaal, Kruger closed the Vaal drifts. Though he later opened the road later the atmosphere was poisoned.

The overthrow of the Pretoria convention in 1881 by Kruger from 1894 opened the gates for war.


  • Cecil resigned as prime minister of the cape
  • The mistreatment of the Uitilanders increased
  • The British were defeated and humiliated
  • Robinson was recalled as governor of the cape and replaced by Alfred Milner
  • It prepared the whites for the second Anglo Boer war
  • Boer nationalism increased and they vowed to fight together in future against the British.
  • Boer hatred against the British increased just as their conflicts.
  • Jameson was captured alive leading to his imprisonment.
  • The British international relations were affected as she was isolated and condemned
  • The German king sent a congratulatory telegram promising military help against the British in future intensifying Anglo German conflicts.
  • Victorious Paul Kruger became more popular and was re-elected as president of Transvaal
  • British Boer alliance at the cape collapsed
  • The British gained nothing since the raid ended as a fiasco (great failure)
  • A commission of inquiry was formed in 1897 and it condemned Chamberlain and dismissed his claims of ignorance about the raid.
  • It led to the Matabele rebellion since soldiers were withdrawn from central Africa
  • It won the sympathy of European and even many British for Kruger
  • It ruined the prospects for a quicker federation
  • It almost led to the withdraw of the charter to B.S.A. company although it was restricted to only central Africa
  • Transvaal importation of fire arms from Germans and Portugal was intensified.


  • The Uitilanders refused to cooperate with the British
  • Uitilanders were more business minded disregarding politics.
  • Kruger was warned before
  • Cecil project was not supported by the British government
  • Jameson and Rhodes went into Transvaal with only 5oomen.
  • The British under estimated the Boer strength
  • Paul Kruger’s ambush gave Jameson no chance.
  • Lt Rhodes failed to convince the Uitilanders to rebel
  • The Boers had built a very strong force
  • Not all Uitilanders were British supporters actually only a few of them in Johannesburg revolted
  • The Boers were very much determined
  • Able leadership of Kruger and Jorbert
  • The capture of Dr. Jameson and the crushing of the rebel Uitilanders in Johannesburg killed morale.
  • The breakdown of communication between Rhodes and Jameson since Rhodes had halted the raid.
  • Jameson’s impatience and ambition. He moved before final authorization from Rhoda.
  • Soldiers were reckless instead of cutting the Pretoria telegraphic were those of the cape were cut.
  • The popularity of Kruger ensured popular resistance against the British.

NB; it should be noted that Anglo Boer relations in the second half of the 19th century were mainly dominated by minerals and Uitilanders. The minerals have already been tackled. We should however, look at the Uitilanders before proceeding to the second Anglo Boer war.


ASSIGNMENT : FIRST ANGLO-BOERS WAR assignment MARKS : 10  DURATION : 1 week, 3 days

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