Monday, March 24, 2014

Centenary of the 1st Boer war

The two stamps on this pretty cover commemorate the Centenary of the 1st Boer war near Volksrust in South Africa. The stamps were aptly released from Volksrust on 27.2.1981.
The Battle of Majuba Hill (near Volksrust, South Africa) on 27 February 1881 was the main and decisive battle of the First Boer War. It was a resounding victory for the Boers.
Although small in scope, the battle is historically significant for three reasons:
  • It led to the signing of a peace treaty and later the Pretoria Convention, between the British and the reinstated South African Republic, ending the first Boer War  .
  • Thefire and movement   ("vuur en beweeg" in Afrikaans) tactics employed by the Boers, especially Sommandant Smit in his final assault on the hill, were years ahead of their time.
  • Coupled with the defeats at Laing’s Nek and Schuinshoogte, this third crushing defeat at the hands of the Boers ratified the strength of the Boers in the minds of the British, arguably to have consequences in the Second Anglo-Boer War. "Remember Majuba"became a rallying cry.
Some notable British historians, although not all agree, claim that this defeat marked the beginning of the decline of the British Empire. Since the American Revolution, Great Britain had never signed a treaty on unfavorable terms with anyone and had never lost the final engagements of the war. In every preceding conflict, even if the British suffered a defeat initially, they would retaliate with a decisive victory.The Boers showed that the British were not the invincible foe the world feared.

Thank you Maria.

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