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When Did the Boer War start?

The Boer Wars (known in Afrikaans as Vryheidsoorloee [lit. "freedom wars"]) were two wars fought between the United Kingdom and the two independent Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic).

The First Anglo-Boer War (1880-1881), also known as the "Transvaal War," was a relatively brief conflict in which Boer (Descendants of Dutch settlers. Translates as 'Farmer') successfully rebelled against British rule in the Transvaal, and re-established their independence, lost in 1877, when the Boers fought the British in order to regain the independence they had given up to obtain British help against the Zulus.

The Second War (1899-1902), by contrast, was a lengthy war - involving large numbers of troops from many British possessions - which ended with the conversion of the Boer republics into British colonies (with a promise of limited self-government). These colonies later formed part of the Union of South Africa. The British fought directly against the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The bloodshed that was seen during the war was alarming. There were two main factors that contributed to this. First, many of the British soldiers were physically unprepared for the environment and poorly trained for the tactical conditions they faced. As a result, British losses were high due to both disease and combat. Second, the policies of "scorched earth" and civilian internment (adopted by the British in response to the Boer guerrilla campaign) ravaged the civilian populations in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

During the Second Boer War, the UK pursued the policy of rounding up and isolating the Boer civilian population into concentration camps. The wives and children of Boer guerrillas were sent to these camps with poor hygiene and little food, although this was remedied to some extent as time went on. The death and suffering of the civilians, according to many scholars, is what broke the guerrillas' will. The "pacification" theory has been repeated many times in warfare since.

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Why Collect Boer War Relics

Collecting Boer War relics allows the collector to come into physical contact with history and with those who participated in it. It is an interesting experience to read on a certain aspect of Boer War history and then be able to hold or own an item that was actually there. Information is contained in war relics. Owning an item is part of the learning experience - it helps bring history alive.

But why collect artefacts from the Boer War? Understanding the Boer War and the events that took place around it helps us understand why many things are as they are today. For many, there is an immediate or personal family connection to the war - collecting can preserve the memory of their family's contributions, it can also help them connect and reconcile events that were directly or indirectly significant in their personal histories.

For others, collecting Boer War Relics is a way of connecting personal interest and business. As with all types of antiques, there is no certainty that a Boer War Relic will appreciate in value - what's desirable today may be out of favour tomorrow when a collector decides to sell, and speculating and knowing the form is part of the fun. However based on today's market demands, and the very limited supply of original relics, Boer War Relics are becoming great antiques to invest in.

Whatever the motivations, collecting Boer War relics is a great way to spend your time and a great way to remember the sacrifices of all those who were involved. Whether it is Boer War helmets, uniforms, medals, weapons or photos, you can usually find it on the open market. So get started, browse the categories and see what Boer War relics you can hunt down.

 
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