Mahatma Gandhi and Boer Wars

Boer Wars 1880-1902

Boer is an Afrikaans word for Farmer. The Southern African Kingdoms of Orange Free State, Transvaal (Now South Africa) and to some extent Natal were known as Boer Republics. The two Boer wars were fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) during the 1880 to 1902 period.

  • In the First Boer War, the British lost the Transvaal and the Boers of Transvaal got freedom, but in the second Boer war which lasted from 1899 to 1902, converted these republics into British Colonies. These colonies later became part of Union of South Africa.

Gandhi and the Second Boer War 1899

Gandhi abhorred the mistreatments of the Indians in South Africa. But he was not anti-British Empire and had the faith over the British Constitution and empire. In his views, the empire was not responsible for the individual problems of the colonies whose vast conglomeration was under the Government in London. In his view, it was the local problems.

The First Boer war resulted in the British defeat in 1881. In 1899, the war again started. Gandhi wished to support the British in a hope that the conditions of Indians would improve later. He set up by organizing 1100 volunteers and served in the Indian Ambulance Corps.

This ambulance did not continue throughout the war. In 1901 his family returned to India. Gandhi established a legal practice in Mumbai and started taking interest in the Indian National Movement. But in 1902, he received a Telegram from Durban and returned there.

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