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The Boers were itinerant farmers who lived on the colony's frontiers, seeking better pastures for their livestock. Many Boers who were dissatisfied with aspects of British administration, in particular with Britain's abolition of slavery on 1 December 1834, elected to migrate away from British rule in what became known as the Great Trek.
In 1893, a Muslim merchant in Kathiawar named Dada Abdullah contacted Gandhi. Abdullah owned a large successful shipping business in South Africa. His distant cousin in Johannesburg needed a lawyer, and they preferred someone with Kathiawari heritage. Gandhi inquired about his pay for the work. They offered a total salary of £105 plus travel expenses. He accepted it, knowing that it would be at least one-year commitment in the Colony of Natal, South Africa, also a part of the British Empire. In April 1893, Gandhi aged 23, set sail for South Africa to be the lawyer for Abdullah's cousin.
Paul Kruger, the President of the South African Republic, issued an ultimatum on 9 October 1899, giving the British government 48 hours to withdraw all their troops from the borders of both the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, albeit Kruger had ordered Commandos to the Natal border in early September and Britain only had troops in garrison towns far from the border, failing which the Transvaal, allied to the Orange Free State, would declare war on the British government.
War was declared on 11 October 1899 with a Boer offensive into the British-held Natal and Cape Colony areas. The Boers had about 33,000 soldiers, and decisively outnumbered the British, who could move only 13,000 troops to the front line.
Meanwhile, to the north-west at Mafeking, on the border with Transvaal, Colonel Robert Baden-Powell had raised two regiments of local forces amounting to about 1,200 men in order to attack and create diversions if things further south went amiss. Mafeking, being a railway junction, provided good supply facilities and was the obvious place for Baden-Powell to fortify in readiness for such attacks. However, instead of being the aggressor Baden-Powell and Mafeking were forced to defend when 6,000 Boer, commanded by Piet Cronjé, attempted a determined assault on the town. But this quickly subsided into a desultory affair with the Boers prepared to starve the stronghold into submission, and so, on 13 October, began the 217-day Siege of Mafeking.
Lastly, over 360 kilometres (220 mi) to the south of Mafeking lay the diamond mining city of Kimberley, which was also subjected to a siege. Although not militarily significant, it nonetheless represented an enclave of British imperialism on the borders of the Orange Free State and was hence an important Boer objective. The Siege of Kimberley took place during the Second Boer War at Kimberley, Cape Colony (present-day South Africa), when Boer forces from the Orange Free State and the Transvaal besieged the diamond mining town. The Boers moved quickly to try to capture the area when war broke out between the British and the two Boer republics in October 1899.
Boer guns began shelling the British camp from the summit of Talana Hill at dawn on 20 October. Penn Symons immediately counter-attacked: his infantry drove the Boers from the hill, for the loss of 446 British casualties, including Penn Symons.
The Battle of Elandslaagte was a battle of the Second Boer War, and one of the few clear-cut tactical victories won by the British during the conflict. However, the British force retreated afterward, throwing away their advantage.
As Boers surrounded Ladysmith and opened fire on the town with siege guns, White ordered a major sortie against their artillery positions. The result was a disaster, with 140 men killed and over 1,000 captured. The Siege of Ladysmith began, and was to last several months. The Siege of Ladysmith was a protracted engagement in the Second Boer War, taking place between 2 November 1899 and 28 February 1900 at Ladysmith, Natal.
The Battle of Belmont was an engagement of the Second Boer War on 23 November 1899, where the British under Lord Methuen assaulted a Boer position on Belmont kopje. Methuen's three brigades were on their way to raise the Boer siege of Kimberley. A Boer force of about 2,000 men had entrenched on the range of Belmont kopje to delay their advance. Methuen sent the Guards Brigade on a night march to outflank the Boers, but due to faulty maps the Grenadier Guards found themselves in front of the Boer position instead.
The Battle of Modder River (known in Afrikaans as Slag van die Twee Riviere, which translates as "Battle of the two rivers") was an engagement in the Boer War, fought at Muddy River, on 28 November 1899. A British column under Lord Methuen, that was attempting to relieve the besieged town of Kimberley, forced Boers under General Piet Cronjé to retreat to Magersfontein, but suffered heavy casualties themselves.
On 10 December, General Gatacre tried to recapture Stormberg railway junction about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of the Orange River. Gatacre's attack was marked by administrative and tactical blunders and the Battle of Stormberg ended in a British defeat, with 135 killed and wounded and two guns and over 600 troops captured.
Battle of Magersfontein was fought on 11 December 1899, at Magersfontein near Kimberley, South Africa, on the borders of the Cape Colony and the independent republic of the Orange Free State. British forces under Lieutenant General Lord Methuen were advancing north along the railway line from the Cape in order to relieve the Siege of Kimberley, but their path was blocked at Magersfontein by a Boer force that was entrenched in the surrounding hills. The British had already fought a series of battles with the Boers, most recently at Modder River, where the advance was temporarily halted. Lord Methuen failed to perform adequate reconnaissance in preparation for the impending battle, and was unaware that Boer Vecht-generaal (Combat General) De la Rey had entrenched his forces at the foot of the hills rather than the forward slopes as was the accepted practice. This allowed the Boers to survive the initial British artillery bombardment; when the British troops failed to deploy from a compact formation during their advance, the defenders were able to inflict heavy casualties. The Highland Brigade suffered the worst casualties, while on the Boer side, the Scandinavian Corps was destroyed. The Boers attained a tactical victory and succeeded in holding the British in their advance on Kimberley. The battle was the second of three battles during what became known as the Black Week of the Second Boer War. Following their defeat, the British delayed at the Modder River for another two months while reinforcements were brought forward. General Lord Roberts was appointed Commander in Chief of the British forces in South Africa and moved to take personal command of this front. He subsequently lifted the Siege of Kimberley and forced Cronje to surrender at the Battle of Paardeberg.
The Battle of Spion Kop was fought about 38 km (24 mi) west-south-west of Ladysmith on the hilltop of Spioenkop along the Tugela River, Natal in South Africa from 23–24 January 1900. It was fought between the South African Republic and the Orange Free State on the one hand and British forces during the Second Boer War campaign to relieve Ladysmith. It resulted in a Boer victory. The battle, collectively with its location at a hill, has gone down in British football lore as the namesake of a common British term for single-tier terraces and/or stands at football stadia.
British troops captured the summit by surprise during the early hours of 24 January 1900, but as the early morning fog lifted they realised too late that they were overlooked by Boer gun emplacements on the surrounding hills. The result was 350 men killed and nearly 1,000 wounded and a retreat across the Tugela River into British territory. There were nearly 300 Boer casualties.
Roberts launched his main attack on 10 February 1900 and although hampered by a long supply route, managed to outflank the Boers defending Magersfontein. Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts was a British Victorian era general who became one of the most successful British military commanders of his time. Born in India to an Anglo-Irish family, Roberts joined the East India Company Army and served as a young officer in the Indian Rebellion during which he won a Victoria Cross for gallantry. He was then transferred to the British Army and fought in the Expedition to Abyssinia and the Second Anglo-Afghan War, in which his exploits earned him widespread fame. Roberts would go on to serve as the Commander-in-Chief, India before leading British Forces to success in the Second Boer War. He also became the last Commander-in-Chief of the Forces before the post was abolished in 1904.
On 14 February, a cavalry division under Major General John French launched a major attack to relieve Kimberley. Although encountering severe fire, a massed cavalry charge split the Boer defenses on 15 February, opening the way for French to enter Kimberley that evening, ending its 124 days' siege.
In Natal, the Battle of the Tugela Heights, which started on 14 February was Buller's fourth attempt to relieve Ladysmith. The losses Buller's troops had sustained convinced Buller to adopt Boer tactics "in the firing line—to advance in small rushes, covered by rifle fire from behind; to use the tactical support of artillery; and above all, to use the ground, making rock and earth work for them as it did for the enemy." Despite reinforcements his progress was painfully slow against stiff opposition.
On 17 February, a pincer movement involving both French's cavalry and the main British force attempted to take the entrenched position, but the frontal attacks were uncoordinated and so were easily repulsed by the Boers. Finally, Roberts resorted to bombarding Cronjé into submission, but it took a further ten precious days, and with the British troops using the polluted Modder River as water supply, there was a typhoid epidemic killing many troops. General Cronjé was forced to surrender at Surrender Hill with 4,000 men.
The Battle of Paardeberg or Perdeberg ("Horse Mountain") was a major battle during the Second Anglo-Boer War. It was fought near Paardeberg Drift on the banks of the Modder River in the Orange Free State near Kimberley. Lord Methuen advanced up the railway line in November 1899 with the objective of relieving the besieged city of Kimberley (and the town of Mafeking, also under siege). Battles were fought on this front at Graspan, Belmont, Modder River before the advance was halted for two months after the British defeat at the Battle of Magersfontein. In February 1900, Field Marshal Lord Roberts assumed personal command of a significantly reinforced British offensive.
On 26 February, after much deliberation, Buller used all his forces in one all-out attack for the first time and at last succeeded in forcing a crossing of the Tugela to defeat Botha's outnumbered forces north of Colenso.
Battle of Poplar Grove. was an incident on 7 March 1900 during the Second Boer War in South Africa. It followed on from the Relief of Kimberley as the British Army moved to take the Boer capital of Bloemfontein. The Boers were demoralized following the surrender of Piet Cronjé at the Battle of Paardeberg.
After a succession of defeats, the Boers realized that against such overwhelming numbers of troops, they had little chance of defeating the British and so became demoralized. Roberts then advanced into the Orange Free State from the west, putting the Boers to flight at the Battle of Poplar Grove and capturing Bloemfontein, the capital, unopposed on 13 March with the Boer defenders escaping and scattering. Meanwhile, he detached a small force to relieve Baden-Powell.
On 15 March 1900, Lord Roberts proclaimed an amnesty for all burghers, except leaders, who took an oath of neutrality and returned quietly to their homes. It is estimated that between 12,000 and 14,000 burghers took this oath between March and June 1900.
British observers believed the war to be all but over after the capture of the two capital cities. However, the Boers had earlier met at the temporary new capital of the Orange Free State, Kroonstad, and planned a guerrilla campaign to hit the British supply and communication lines. The first engagement of this new form of warfare was at Sanna's Post on 31 March where 1,500 Boers under the command of Christiaan de Wet attacked Bloemfontein's waterworks about 37 kilometres (23 mi) east of the city, and ambushed a heavily escorted convoy, which caused 155 British casualties and the capture of seven guns, 117 wagons, and 428 British troops.
Roberts was forced to halt again at Kroonstad for 10 days, due once again to the collapse of his medical and supply systems, but finally captured Johannesburg on 31 May and the capital of the Transvaal, Pretoria, on 5 June.
The set-piece period of the war now largely gave way to a mobile guerrilla war, but one final operation remained. President Kruger and what remained of the Transvaal government had retreated to eastern Transvaal. Roberts, joined by troops from Natal under Buller, advanced against them, and broke their last defensive position at Bergendal on 26 August.
On 25 February, Koos De La Rey attacked a British column under Lieutenant-Colonel S. B. von Donop at Ysterspruit near Wolmaransstad. De La Rey succeeded in capturing many men and a large amount of ammunition. The Boer attacks prompted General Methuen, the British second-in-command after Lord Kitchener, to move his column from Vryburg to Klerksdorp to deal with De La Rey.
On the morning of 7 March 1902, the Boers attacked the rear guard of Methuen's moving column at Tweebosch. Confusion reigned in British ranks and Methuen was wounded and captured by the Boers.
The opportunity the British were waiting for arose on 11 April 1902 at Rooiwal, where a commando led by General Jan Kemp and Commandant Potgieter attacked a superior force under Kekewich. The British soldiers were well positioned on the hillside and inflicted severe casualties on the Boers charging on horseback over a large distance, beating them back. This was the end of the war in the Western Transvaal and also the last major battle of the war.
On 6 May 1902 at Holkrantz in the southeastern Transvaal, a Zulu faction had their cattle stolen and their people mistreated by the Boers as a punishment for helping the British. The local Boer officer then sent an insulting message to the tribe, challenging them to take back their cattle. The Zulus attacked at night, and in a mutual bloodbath, the Boers lost 56 killed and 3 wounded, while the Africans suffered 52 killed and 48 wounded.
In 1906, the Transvaal government promulgated a new Act compelling registration of the colony's Indian and Chinese populations. At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September that year, Gandhi urged Indians to defy the new law and to suffer the punishments for doing so.
At Sisulu's house, Mandela met Evelyn Mase, a trainee nurse and ANC activist from Engcobo, Transkei. Entering a relationship and marrying in October 1944, they initially lived with her relatives until moving into a rented house in the township of Orlando in early 1946.
On 1 February 1947, Margaret, Elizabeth, and their parents embarked on a state tour of Southern Africa. The three-month-long visit was Margaret's first visit abroad, and she later claimed that she remembered "every minute of it". Margaret's chaperone was Peter Townsend, the King's equerry and very firm toward Margaret, who he apparently considered an indulged child.
On 29 March 1961, six years after the Treason Trial began, the judges produced a verdict of not guilty, ruling that there was insufficient evidence to convict the accused of "high treason", since they had advocated neither communism nor violent revolution; the outcome embarrassed the government.
On 12 June 1964, justice De Wet found Mandela and two of his co-accused guilty on all charges; although the prosecution had called for the death sentence to be applied, the judge instead condemned them to life imprisonment.Mandela and his co-accused were transferred from Pretoria to the prison on Robben Island, remaining there for the next 18 years.