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01-Aug-2017 08:43

In a familiar pattern, Language and nationalism go together.The Taalbond ('language union') is formed in 1903 to promote the use of Dutch rather than English.First he pioneers a new use of a railway network in warfare, building corrugated-iron blockhouses beside the railway lines as temporary forts for British troops. Meanwhile, from this relative security, they ride out to effect a scorched earth policy, destroying the crops and farms of the Boers.This results in a great many homeless and starving women and children, whom Kitchener provides for in a manner recently pioneered by the Spanish governor in Cuba - concentration camps.And he begins a programme of rearmament to improve his republic's military capability.On the British side new factors make war increasingly likely.In the event the promise is fulfilled with reasonable speed, largely because the Conservative government in Britain (responsible for the conduct of the recent war) is replaced in 1906 by a Liberal administration more inclined to offer concessions.Transvaal is given self-governing status in 1906, followed by the Orange River Colony in 1907. During the years immediately after the war Milner does much to integrate the economies of the British and Boer colonies, bringing them into a single customs union and amalgamating their railway systems.

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Kimberley and Ladysmith are relieved in February, followed on May 17 by Mafeking (where Robert Baden-Powell first makes his name in command of a heroic resistance).

In 1895 Joseph Chamberlain, a man with a strong imperialist vision, becomes the British secretary of state for the colonies.

In 1897 he appoints as his south African high commissioner Alfred Milner, an equally keen imperialist.

Meanwhile Roberts has occupied Bloemfontein, capital of the Orange Free State - the annexation of which he announces on May 24. On June 5 he occupies Pretoria, capital of the Transvaal. A few days later Kruger escapes from the republic into Mozambique.

In all normal senses the war is over, but the Boers are not so easily defeated.At the same time there is a campaign to take more seriously the writing of Afrikaans, the colloquial version of Dutch spoken by the Boers.

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