While the Jameson Raid had been a military bellyflop, its aftermath started the engine for a much larger war. As the Boers picked up the pieces and combed through Jameson’s correspondence, there was no question of Rhodes’ support for the operation. But nothing Jameson possessed explicitly linked Chamberlain or the other shadowy backers of the […]Read more "Stumbling Towards War"
It’s really not surprising that so many historical flashpoints start with a rich man, a bad idea, and a bunch of mercenaries. In this case, the rich man in question was Cecil John Rhodes. There were other gold “bugs” that had grown fat and wealthy feeding on the gold mining industry, but none possessed the […]Read more "Cecil John Rhodes and A Shot of Jameson"
Following the Boer War, Paul Kruger returned in triumph from London to the newly independent South African Republic, and it’s high time he gets an introduction. Kruger was a big man, with the kind of beard Abraham Lincoln would have possessed if he misplaced his razor for six years. His family was among the first […]Read more "The Lion of Transvaal"
The first British to learn about the war was a column of about 250 men led by Lieutenant Colonel Anstruther. Heading for the capital of Pretoria, he was surprised to see a rider approaching with the Vierkleur (lit. “four color”) raised. The Transvaal Vierkleur flag resembled the modern Dutch one, with stripes of red, white, […]Read more "The First Boer War"
While the Anglo-Zulu War had ended in their favor, the British quickly learned that removing Cetshwayo had simply cut a regional ally from the picture. The result led Frere and the British to step onto another political rake. The Boer’s traditional enemies were now gone, and the Transvaal had essentially burned through the attached bailout […]Read more "For Want of a Wagon"
Optional Musical Accompaniment for this post General Chelmsford, about to be famous for more than the impressive brown caterpillar of a handlebar mustache he wore on his face, started off immediately on the wrong foot. His invasion plans called for 15,000 men, but he had to settle for about half that. Also in a hurry […]Read more "A Buffalo by the Horns"