South Africa - The build up to the Anglo-Boer war
Updated: Feb 28, 2021
In 1886 gold rich deposits at Langlaagte, Johannesburg in the Transvaal Region were uncovered leading to the Witwatersrand gold rush. Mining in the gold field was tough, gold ore was abundant but contained little gold. The layers ran deep, and mining needed to be intensive to be profitable. For this reason, the Transvaal didn’t attract small scale speculators like previous gold discoveries, instead it required capital on a massive scale. Capitalists who had obtained great wealth from the South African diamond fields, known as the Randlords, were quick to supply the required capital and controlled the gold mines of the Transvaal.
The huge inflow of Uitlanders (foreigners) coming to the region in search of employment and the wealth being generated was concerning to the Boer Government. By 1895 the Uitlanders outnumbered the
Boers. With the majority of newcomers being British fears grew that the Transvaal Region could lose its independence and become a British colony. The Boer Government began heavily taxing the gold mining industry and introduced policies to restrict voting rights to those residing for four years or more. These actions caused resentment among the Uitlanders and an uprising was organised by one the Randlords, Cecil John Rhodes. He began to plan an uprising to overthrow the Boer government of the Transvaal and turn it into a British colony. This uprising was known as the Jameson Raid as it was led by Leander Starr Jameson. It began on the 29th of December 1895 and ended in failure four days later.