SOUTH AFRICA'S PAST IS OUR PAST, ITS FUTURE IS OUR FUTURE | 2003-09-27
There were two Afrikaner Republics in 1898. The Afrikaners who settled in those Boer Republics came from Cape Town, where their ancestors had lived for two centuries when Cape Town belonged to the Dutch. Those Boers left Cape Town about 1837 after the British took it over and moved to upper South Africa. In Afrikaans they called this great movement the Great Trek.
That's where we get that word Trek, as in Star Trek.
At the same time the Afrikaners were moving north, our own pioneers were moving west, and if you had seen one of their wagon trains and one of ours from a distance, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
Britain conquered the two Afrikaner republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, in the Boer War. Like Confederates they were overwhelmingly outnumbered, but the Boers whipped the whole British Empire for along time.
The British invented concentration camps during the Boer War, which lasted from 1899 to 1902. You might say the British invented the Twentieth Century.
In fact, the only way the British beat the Boers was by imprisoning their women and children in a new invention the British called "concentration camps." Those concentration camps would have a great future in the twentieth century, but the British seldom get credit for inventing them.
A major portion of the Afrikaner women and children died in those British concentration camps. The figures I can find show there were a total of 120,000 Boer men, women and children against the British Empire
. The number of women and children who died in the British concentration camps is estimated to be about 27,000, or about a quarter of the Boer population
Neither figure is accurate, but both are in the ballpark The total Boer army is estimated at 35,000, about the same as the number of women and children the British killed.
The British couldn't beat the Afrikaners by fighting their men, so they won the Boer War by making war on women and children.
So most Afrikaners got where they are on wagon trains, like so many Americans did.
The Afrikaners have another important thing in common with Americans. The Boers (Afrikaners) are the only large European population outside Europe that does not maintain its European political ties.
Australians and Canadians, for instance, have old white populations, but their military uniforms still have the British Crown on their hats, and each of them considers Queen Elizabeth to be their sovereign.
The ruling British monarch during the Boer War was Queen Victoria. She LOVED those concentration camps! Real Afrikaners always hated the British monarchy.
What I just said will upset respectable conservatives. Most conservative historians love the British Monarchy, and conservative historians brag about the great Victorian Era.
So what I just said about Victorian Regina will really piss respectable conservatives off.
Oh, well. I suspect respectable conservatives don't love me anyway.