October 30, 2008

The Boers Were Not Interested In Gold.

The Boers were in fact not interested in & were even against the extraction of the gold in the region as they knew that the foreign interest & influx this would generate would spell the end of their independence & of course this is precisely what did happen later.

    The actual discovery of gold in the Transvaal territory is credited to a German named Mauch, who travelled through that part of the country early in the century. He returned to Berlin with wonderful reports of the gold he had found, and attempted to enlist capital to work the mines. Whether his reports were not credited, or whether the Germans feared the natives, is not recorded, but Mauch is not heard of again in connection with the later history of the country. In 1854 a Dutchman named Jan Marais, who had a short time before returned from the Australian gold fields, prospected in the Transvaal, and found many evidences of gold. The Boers, fearing that their land would be overrun with gold-seekers, paid five hundred pounds to Marais, and sent him home after extracting a promise that he would not reveal his secret to any one.

From: Chapter 3. The Johannesburg Gold Fields. Oom Paul's People. Howard C Hillegas.

    It is a strange anomaly that the Boers, a pastoral people exclusively, should have settled in a section of the earth where Nature has two of her richest storehouses. Both the Kimberley diamond mines and the Witwatersrandt gold mines, each the richest deposit of its kind discovered thus far, were found where the Boers were accustomed to graze their herds and flocks. It would seem as if Nature had influenced the Boers to settle above her treasures, and protect them from the attacks of nations and men who are not satisfied with the products of the earth's surface, but must delve below.

From: Chapter 1. South Africa of the Present Time. Oom Paul's People. Howard C Hillegas. Published: 1900.

    Small traces of gold had been found in the Transvaal before Burgers took over but, far from exploiting this discovery to relieve their state's near penury, the Transvaalers, believing that no good could come of it, did their best to hush it up.

From: The Anglo-Boer Wars by Micheal Barthorp. Page 12.

    The discovery and exploitation of mineral wealth (diamonds and gold) is undoubtedly the biggest factor in the creation of modern South Africa, but Trekboers had little role in that; in fact, they often wanted to impede that development.
From: The Great Trek. by Canadian Professor Wallace Mills.

Therefore contrary to what some uniformed folks might claim: the Boers were not fighting for the gold because they never even wanted it to be extracted in the first place - valuing their hard won independence much more & also realizing the severe consequences of mining it. Those concerns proved valid later as the discovery of gold was one of the main reasons for the British drive to war against the republics. The other compelling reason being that the British did not want to have powerful Boer Republics scuppering their Colonial agenda in the region.

The Concentration Camps Were Death Camps.

The concentration camps the British used to round up Boer civilians during the second Anglo-Boer War in fact soon turned into death camps resulting in the death of 27 000 of which 24 000 were children under the age of sixteen which represented the death of close to 50 % of the total Boer child population.

The establishment of these camps is often glossed over in modern times without realizing the horrors which occurred within them nor the understanding of how significant an event this was to the Boerevolk whose numbers were greatly reduced as a result.

The following is an excerpt from Hennie Barnard entitled: The Concentration Camps. 
    The English claim of decent actions towards the Boer women and children are further contradicted by the location of the concentration camps. The military authorities, who often had to plan and erect camps for their soldiers, would certainly have been well aware of the essential requirements for such camps. Yet the concentration camps were established in the most unsuitable locations possible.

    At Standerton the camp was erected on both banks of the Vaal River. It was on the Highveld, which ensured that it was extremely cold in winter and infested with mosquitoes in summer. The fact that Standerton had turf soil and a high rainfall, ensured that the camp was one big mud bath in summer, even inside the tents.

    The same circumstances were experienced in camps such as Brandfort, Springfontein and Orange River. At Pretoria, the Irene Camp was located at the chilly southern side of the town, while the northern side had a much more favourable climate. Balmoral, Middelburg and other camps were also located on the south-eastern hangs of the hills to ensure that the inhabitants were exposed to the icy south easterly winds.

    Merebank camp was located in a swamp where there was an abundance of various kinds of insects. Water oozed out of the ground, ensuring that everything was constantly wet and slimy.

    By October 1900 there were already 58 883 people in concentration camps in Transvaal and 45 306 in the Free State.

    The amenities in the camps were clearly planned to kill as many of the women and children as possible. They were accommodated in tattered reject tents which offered no protection against the elements.

    Emily Hobhouse, the Cornish lady who campaigned for better conditions for the Boer women, wrote: "Throughout the night there was a downpour. Puddles of water were everywhere. They tried to get themselves and their possessions dry on the soaked ground."

    (Hobhouse: Brunt of the War, page 169.)

    Dr Kendal Franks reports on the Irene Camp: "In one of the tents there were three families; parents and children, a total of 14 people and all were suffering from measles."

    In Springfontein camp, 19 to 20 people where crammed into one tent.

    There were neither beds nor mattresses and nearly the whole camp population had to sleep on the bare ground, which was damp most of the time.

    One person wrote the following plea for aid to the New York Herald: "In the name of small children who have to sleep in open tents without fire, with barely any clothes, I plea for help."

    3.4. Let them die of hunger.

    According to a British journalist, WT Stead, the concentration camps were nothing more than a cruel torture machine. He writes: "Every one of these children who died as a result of the halving of their rations, thereby exerting pressure onto their family still on the battle-field, was purposefully murdered. The system of half rations stands exposed and stark and unshamefully as a cold-blooded deed of state policy employed with the purpose of ensuring the surrender of people whom we were not able to defeat on the battlefield."

    The detainees received no fruit or vegetables; not even milk for the babies.

    The meat and flour issued were crawling with maggots. Emily Hobhouse writes: "I have in my possession coffee and sugar which were described as follows by a London analyst: In the case of the first, 66% imitation, and in the case of the second, sweepings from a warehouse."

    In her book, Met die Boere in die Veld (With the Boers in the field), Sara Raal states that "there were poisonous sulphate of copper, grounded glass, fishhooks, and razor blades in the rations." The evidence given on this fact is so overwhelming that it must be regarded as a historical fact.

    3.5. No hygiene.

    The outbreak of disease and epidemics in the camps were further promoted by, inter alia, the lack of sanitary conveniences. Bloemfontein camp had only 13 toilets for more than 3 500 people. Aliwal North camp had one toilet for every 170 people.

    A British physician, Dr Henry Becker, writes: "First, they chose an ill-suited site for the camp. Then they supplied so little water that the people could neither wash themselves nor their clothes. Furthermore, they made no provision for sufficient waste removal. And lastly, they did not provide enough toilets for the overpopulation they had crammed into the camps."

    A report on a Ladies' Committee's visit to Bloemfontein camp stated: "They saw how the women tried to wash clothes in small puddles of water and sometimes had to use the water more than once."

    3.6. Hospitals of homicide.

    Ill and healthy people were crammed together into unventilated areas conducive to the spreading of disease and epidemics. At first there were no medical amenities whatsoever in the camps.

    Later doctors were appointed, but too few. In Johannesburg there was one doctor for every 4 000 afflicted patients.

    A report on the Irene camp states that, out of a population of 1325 detainees, 154 were ill and 20 had died during the previous week. Still this camp had only one doctor and no hospital.

    In some camps matters were even worse. The large Bloemfontein camp did not have a single doctor; only one nurse who could not possibly cope with the conditions. During a visit to Norvalspont camp Emily Hobhouse could not even find a trained nurse.

    The later appointment of medical personnel did not improve the conditions. They were appointed for their loyalty towards the British invasion; not for their medical capability. They maltreated the Boere.

    Emily Hobhouse tells the story of the young Lizzie van Zyl who died in the Bloemfontein concentration camp: "She was a frail, weak little child in desperate need of good care. Yet, because her mother was one of the 'undesirables' due to the fact that her father neither surrendered nor betrayed his people, Lizzie was placed on the lowest rations and so perished with hunger that, after a month in the camp, she was transferred to the new small hospital. Here she was treated harshly. The English disposed doctor and his nurses did not understand her language and, as she could not speak English, labelled her an idiot although she was mentally fit and normal. One day she dejectedly started calling:

    Mother! Mother! I want to go to my mother! One Mrs Botha walked over to her to console her. She was just telling the child that she would soon see her mother again, when she was brusquely interrupted by one of the nurses who told her not to interfere with the child as she was a nuisance." Shortly afterwards, Lizzie van Zyl died.

    Treu, a medical assistant in the Johannesburg concentration camp, stated that patients were bullied and even lashed with a strap.

    Ill people who were taken to the camp hospitals were as good as dead. One woman declared: "We fear the hospitals more than death."

    The following two reports should give an idea of the inefficiency of the camp hospitals: "Often people suffering from a minor ailment were violently removed from the tents of protesting mothers or family members to be taken to hospital. After a few days they were more often than not carried to the grave."

    "Should a child leave the hospital alive, it was simply a miracle."

    (Both quotations from Stemme uit die Verlede - a collection of sworn statements by women who were detained in the concentration camps during the Second War of Independence.)

    3.7. The highest sacrifice.

    In total 27 000 women and children made the highest sacrifice in the British hell camps during the struggle for the freedom of the Boerevolk.

    Mrs Helen Harris, who paid a visit to the Potchefstroom concentration camp, stated: "Imagine a one year old baby who receives no milk; who has to drink water or coffee - there is no doubt that this is the cause of the poor health of the children."

    Should one take note of the fact that it were the English who killed the Boers' cattle with bayonets, thereby depriving the children of their food sources, then the high fatality rate does not seem to be incidental.

    Despite shocking fatality figures in the concentration camps, the English did nothing to improve the situation, and the English public remained deaf to the lamentations in the concentration camps as thousands of people, especially children, were carried to their graves.

    The Welshman, Lloyd George, stated: "The fatality rate of our soldiers on the battlefields, who were exposed to all the risks of war, was 52 per thousand per year, while the fatalities of women and children in the camps were 450 per thousand per year. We have no right to put women and children into such a position."

    An Irishman, Dillon, said: "I can produce and endless succession of confirmations that the conditions in most of the camps are appalling and brutal. To my opinion the fatality rate is nothing less than cold-blooded murder."

    One European had the following comment on England's conduct with the concentration camps: "Great Britain cannot win her battles without resorting to the despicable cowardice of the most loathsome cure on earth - the act of striking at a brave man's heart through his wife's honour and his child's life."

    The barbarousness of the English is strongly evidenced by the way in which they unceremoniously threw the corpses of children in heaps on mule carts to be transported to the cemeteries. The mourning mothers had to follow on foot. Due to illness or fatigue many of them could not follow fast enough and had to miss the funerals of their children.

    According to PF Bruwer, author of Vir Volk en Vryheid, all the facts point out that the concentration camps, also known as the hell camps, were a calculated and deliberate effort by England to commit a holocaust on the Boerevolk.

The above was an excerpt from The Concentration Camps from Hennie Barnard.

Click on the link to read the full report.

The Great Trek Was Not Over Abolition.

Certain historians have erroneously asserted the the Great Trek was motivated over the issue of the abolition of slavery but the fact of the matter is that historians have noted that most of the Boers of the frontiers did not own slaves as most of the slave owners were among the Cape Dutch of the Western Cape of whom very few went on the Great Trek.

The fact of the matter is that most of the Boers of the frontier did not own slaves. Canadian professor Wallace Mills noted this in his course on the Great Trek & the Encyclopedia Britannica BOTH note that most of the Boers did not own slaves. The Great Trek was motivated over the constant frontier wars with the Xhosas who were killing so many Boers that they decided that the best thing for them to do was to trek away from the area as their ancestors had done from the VOC power back almost one century & a half earlier.

The British Imperialism in the region was simply the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. There were other pressing matters such as the constant border wars & growing land shortages. The notable consequence relating to the abolition of slavery which might have in fact played a role in causing the Great Trek was that the former slaves were now wandering all over often attacking local residents. Piet Retief only mentioned the abolition of slavery in his Manifesto in a vain attempt at getting the tacit support or understanding of the slave owning Cape Dutch. Who in fact often looked down at the Boers & ridiculed them for wanting to trek. 

The following is an excerpt from the course by the Canadian Professor Wallace Mills.


    [ Landless poor whites.

    - recent interpretations tend to stress more mundane factors and motivations for the movement. The migratory habits to acquire more land, which were firmly established by trekboers throughout the 18th C, had been bottled up for 40-50 years and there were growing numbers of landless white males. In trekboer society, this was a terrible situation and fate. Their only course was to become a ‘bywoner’ to some relative or other farmer with land. As such, they would provide services (usually as an overseer) and be allowed to use some land for a few cattle or agricultural purposes. This meant that their status was only a bit better than non-white servants.

    - this interpretation sees the ‘Great Trek’ as merely the bursting of the dam that had bottled such migrations up for over 2 generations.

    Piet Retief’s Manifesto.

    - Retief was one of the most influential of the Great Trek leaders. Among those who joined the Great Trek, he was a bit unusual in a couple of respects. He was much better off than most trekkers; at one time he owned over 20 lots in Grahamstown as well as farm properties. As can be seen from his letter (it was translated for publication in the Grahamstown Journal), he was better educated than most who were illiterate or just barely literate.

    - Retief’s so-called manifesto has too often been accepted uncritically and without analysis of context. Not all the assertions can be accepted at face value. It must be analysed carefully and critically.

    - for example, the complaint about the abolition of slavery and the process of compensation for a long time went unexamined and was repeated innumerable times as a factor in the trek (by both friends and critics).

    -however, investigation revealed that slavery was not common in the eastern frontier areas from which almost all the Voortrekkers came. Besides, no new slaves could be imported after 1807 and the prices of the existing slaves had risen markedly. Very few (if any) Voortrekkers had ever owned slaves. Retief’s only known connection was that at one time he had borrowed money from an ex-slave woman!

    Shutting down of migration after 1780s.

    - the earlier expansion had left some land not taken up behind the leading edges and the pushing back of the Xhosa in the early wars in the 19th C had made some land available (however, the 1820 settlers had also been assigned much of that); nevertheless, the voracious appetite for land among trekboers meant that by the 1830s, landlessness had grown. In effect, the on-going migration that had characterised the 18th C had been dammed up for almost 50 years. Thus, the Great Trek can be viewed as the bursting of the dam. Thus, the Great Trek can be seen as merely the resumption of the earlier process.

    - this interpretation is supported by the fact that late in the 19th C when the problem of landlessness again reemerged in the South African Republic (Transvaal), a couple of attempts were made to organize new treks farther into the interior (into Zimbabwe or Angola). These efforts were blocked by Rhodes who wanted to ensure that it was the British Empire that got these areas. ]

End of quote.

From: The Great Trek. Wallace Mills.

The following is from American author Stephen Crane.

    [ As far back as 1809, Hottentots were prohibited from wandering about the country without passes, and from 1812, Hottentot children who had been maintained for eight years by the employers of their parents, were bound as apprenticed for ten years longer. The missionaries were dissatisfied with these restrictions; both of them were removed by an ordinance passed July, 1828, when vagrant Hottentots began to wander over the country at will. Farming became almost impossible; the farm-laborers became vagabonds and petty thefts took place constantly.

    Early in 1834, Sir Benjamin D'Urban, called "the Good," was appointed Governor. A legislative council was then granted the colony, but its powers were not great.

    The Boers had never been greatly in favor (many opposed it strongly) of slavery, but they had yielded to the general custom and over three million pounds was invested in slaves throughout the colony in 1834. Sir Benjamin D'Urban proclaimed the emancipation of the slaves, who had been set free throughout the British Empire, in August, 1833. This freeing was to take effect in Cape Colony on the 1st of December, 1834.

    The news of the emancipation was felt to be a relief, but the terms on which it was conducted were productive of unending trouble. The slave-owners of Cape Colony were awarded less than a million and a quarter for their slaves -- and the imperial government refused to send the money to South Africa; each claim was to be proved before commissioners in London, when the amount would be paid in stock. To make a journey of one hundred days to London was, of course, impossible to the farmers; they were at the mercy of agents who made their way down to the colony and purchased the claims, so that the colonist received sometimes a fifth, sometimes a sixth, or less, of the value of his slaves. The colonists had hoped that a vagrant act would have been passed by the Council when the slaves were freed, to keep them from being still further overrun by this large released black population, but this was not done. ]

End of quote.

From: The Great Boer Trek.

The slave owners were the Cape Dutch in the Western Cape most of whom did not go on the series of mass migrations later called the Great Trek. Therefore if slavery was a motivating factor then why did MOST of the slave owners not go on the trek? The only grievance anyone had about the abolition of slavery was the fact that the compensation was impossible to collect.

    [ The discontent, so often, and to his detriment, ascribed to the Boer was exaggerated and misrepresented, as, for instance, in the matter of the freeing of the slaves, when he was described as being inhumanly against their liberation. No! Your Majesty, it was not the Christian Boers' repugnance to the emancipation, but his opposition to the means employed in effecting same under the blessed British rule. Is Your Majesty perhaps aware how the Boers became possessed of those slaves? They, the Boers, had no ships to convey the slaves from Mozambique and elsewhere, as none other than English vessels were allowed to bring slaves to the Cape market; therefore, it was from English slave-ships that the Boers first bought their slaves, and in this manner enjoyed a short season of prosperity; for, assisted by their dearly bought slaves, they could have their lands ploughed and sown with grain, which, under the blessings of Britannia's laws, could be sold for not more than 18d. per bag.

    It was thereafter shipped abroad by English merchants and sold at immense profits. And then,Your Majesty, the Boer was suddenly told: "Your slaves are free, and you will receive compensation to such and such an amount for them, which you will have to go and get in England." Your Majesty, how could the Boer be expected with his ox-wagon or horses to go and fetch same?

    To have undertaken, at that time, a voyage so dangerous and lengthy (a hundred days or so being the time required to accomplish same) would have cost more than the small amount of the indemnity he was to receive for his dearly bought slaves. What could the Boer do? The only means left him was to engage the English dealer, from whom he had purchased the slaves at exorbitant prices, to go and fetch the money for him, or to sell his chance for what he could get. ]

The above excerpt was from: General Petrus Joubert. Vice President of the Transvaal Republic during the tenure of President Paul Kruger whom he ran against 3 times. This excerpt is noted in the Story of the Boers: a book compiled by a Dutch diplomat named C W van der Hoogt who met President Paul Kruger & was published in 1900. The role of the abolition of slavery was certainly minimal in nature when taking the above facts into consideration.

October 19, 2008

The Boers Recognized With 5 Conventions.

The Boers have been recognized through conventions at least 5 times. The Sand River Convention of 1852 - which lead to the independence of the Boer Republics within the Transvaal region / the Orange River Convention of 1854 - which lead to the independence of the Orange Free State within the Transorangia region / the Pretoria Convention of 1881 - which lead to the re-established independence of the ZAR in the Transvaal region / the London Convention of 1884 - which lead to the full independence of the ZAR in the Transvaal region / the Vereeniging Treaty of 1902 which concluded the second Anglo-Boer War.  

October 5, 2008

The Boer Republics Were Recognized.

The two major Boer Republics: the Transvaal Republic & the Orange Free State which fought against Britain during the Anglo-Boer War were recognized around the world prior to the outbreak of the war.

    The Republic was now in possession of a Convention, which from the nature of its provisions seemed to promise a peaceful future. In addition to Great Britain it was recognized in Holland, France, Germany, Belgium, and especially in the United States of America. The American Secretary of State at Washington, writing to President Pretorius on the 19th November, 1870, said: "That his Government, while heartily acknowledging the Sovereignty of the Transvaal Republic, would be ready to take any steps which might be deemed necessary for that purpose."

From: The Story of the Boers. C W van der Hoogt. Published in 1900. Page 96. 

The independence of the Boers north of the Orange River was recognized internationally first with the Sand River Convention which granted independence to the Boers north of the Vaal River up to the Limpopo River in 1852 then with the Orange River Convention of 1854 which recognized the independence of the Boers north of the Orange River which extended up to the Vaal River wherein the Orange Free State was declared existing right up to the conclusion of the second Anglo-Boer War.