1815-1914

The British Empire

Talk on ‘The Boer War’

This talk takes you through the main causes and events of the Second Boer War 1899-1902 which shook the British Empire to the core and was responsible for the British abandoning its policy of splendid isolation that had been the basis of British Foreign Policy for much of the c19th.


The causes have been much debated. Was this a war about capitalism and fought for the interests of the Randlords who ran the gold industry on the Witwatersrand or was this a war about who was to control the tip of south Africa. Salisbury said the war was to teach the Boers who was boss. Was it or was this a war to extend the dominance of the Anglo-Saxon race?


 Salisbury, Chamberlain, Rhodes and Milner all wanted different thing but whose view prevailed?

Within a few weeks of war breaking out three British centres of population were besieged. In one week in December three different British armies suffered catastrophic defeats leading to the sacking of the British Commander-in-Chief, General Buller. How was the situation brought under control. How did the British persuade the Boers to come to a peace table and who actually won the war? All important questions that still cause hot debate.


For more information on ‘The Boer War, click here