The Second Boer War, a conflict between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics in South Africa, lasted from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902.
With the British in nominal control of the republics by 1901, the Boer farmers adopted guerrilla warfare tactics: strike fast and hard causing as much damage to the enemy as possible, and then withdraw and vanish before enemy reinforcements could arrive. This strategy proved effective and the British were forced to revise their own tactics.
The British retaliated with a “Scorched Earth” policy, bringing the Boers to their knees. As British troops swept the countryside, they systematically destroyed crops, burned homesteads and farms, poisoned wells, and interned Boer women and children in concentration camps.
In the aftermath, many of the defeated Boers were unable to return to their farms at all; others attempted to do so but were forced to abandon farms as unworkable given the damage caused by farm burning and salting of the fields in the course of the scorched earth policy. Thus, many drifted to the far corners of the empire, in search of a new home…