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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

February 7th, 1900- The Battle of Vaal Krantz

Conflict: Second Boer War

Combatants: Boers vs. British

Location: South Africa

Outcome: Boer victory


Boer hostility toward the British had simmered, and sometimes boiled over, ever since Great Britain had annexed the Transvaal in 1877 and the First Boer War of 1880. The discovery of gold in the Transvaal in the 1890s brought a flood of more British settlers, further straining relations. Cecil Rhodes, the Prime Minister of Cape Colony, openly sought to incorporate even more Boer territory. In 1899, the Orange Free State and the South African Republic allied with one another and went to war once again with the British Empire.


In the opening months of 1900, the Boers were besieging the town of Ladysmith. British General Sir Redvers Buller took 20,000 soldiers, crossed the Tugela River and moved to relieve the town. In January, Buller seized the heights south of Ladysmith but was driven off by the counterattacks of General Louis Botha leading combined Boer forces. In February, Buller's troops moved into Ladysmith. But by February 7th, after two days of fighting, the British were once again driven off by Botha's Boers.


British QF 4.7 inch naval guns in action at the Battle of Vaal Kranz during the Second Boer War by an unknown photographer

A Sudden Alarm - One of Buller's Patrols from Battles of the nineteenth century (1901) by an unknown artist (Cropped)

Points of Interest:

  • The British had defeated the Boer armies by 1900, but guerilla warfare continued for two more years. Lord Kitchener 'solved' the guerilla problem by placing 120,000 Boers in concentration camps.

  • Louis Botha would be elected Prime Minister of the new Union of South Africa in 1910.


General Sir Redvers Henry Buller (1839-1908) c.1882 by an unknown photographer
General Louis Botha, Führer der letzten Transvaalburen, 1900 by Rudolf Steger



















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Sources:


Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).


Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.


Maurice, Sir John Fredrick (1908). History of the War in South Africa, 1899-1902 London, Hurst and Black Limited.

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