The Boer War 1899-1902

Speaker: James (Jim) Vanstone, M.A., Ph.D.
When: Thursday, November 15, 2018
Where:  Centennial Hall,
       288 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield, H9W 4A4
Lecture in English, followed by a bilingual question period

2018 11 15JimVanstone BoerWarConcentrationcampIn 1899 the South African Boer War begins between the British Empire and the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. The Boers, also known as Afrikaners, were the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of southern Africa. Britain took possession of the Dutch Cape colony in 1806 during the Napoleonic wars, sparking resistance from the independence-minded Boers, who resented the Anglicization of South Africa and Britain’s anti-slavery policies. In 1833, the Boers began an exodus into African tribal territory, where they founded the republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The two new republics lived peaceably with their British neighbours until 1867, when the discovery of diamonds and gold in the region made conflict between the Boer states and Britain inevitable. Minor fighting with Britain began for the second time in the 1890s, and in October 1899 full-scale war ensued. By mid-June 1900, British forces had captured most major Boer cities and formally annexed their territories, but the Boers launched a guerrilla war that frustrated the British occupiers. Beginning in 1901, the British began a strategy of systematically searching out and destroying these guerrilla units, while herding the families of the Boer soldiers into concentration camps. By 1902, the British had crushed the Boer resistance, and on May 31 of that year the Peace of Vereeniging was signed, ending hostilities. The treaty recognized the British military administration over Transvaal and the Orange Free State and authorized a general amnesty for Boer forces. In 1910, the autonomous Union of South Africa was established by the British. It included Transvaal, the Orange Free State, the Cape of Good Hope, and Natal as provinces.

S 15225 1James (Jim) Vanstone was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. While majoring in History and Philosophy at the University of Windsor, Jim was elected President of the history society called the Lord Acton Club. Graduating with an Honours B.A. and the University’s gold medal in history Jim went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario majoring in “Imperial”, now more popularly called Third World history. He obtained his M.A. (1967) and Ph.D. (1974) from Queen’s. Doing research for his Ph.D. in Southern Africa (1969-1970) Jim spent a year in Africa. Returning to Queen’s, Jim taught Imperial History for one year before going to John Abbott College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue in 1972 where he taught history for 45 years until he retired in 2017. Jim was elected member of the Academic Council of John Abbott College (1974-2017), Chairperson of the Faculty Professional Development Committee (1975-2017), on the college’s Board of Governors (1979-1985), served on the Academic Programs Coordinating Committee, as well as being involved over the years in the United Church of Canada. Jim is also member of the Board of Governors of the United Theological College of McGill University and is currently the Chair of the Montreal School of Theology of McGill University.

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