Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa

The Natal Battlefields

The Voortrekkers - The Sixth Border War

Increasing land prices and the emancipation of slaves in 1833 caused many to consider moving away.

The Sixth Border War - 1834

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Another Setback for the Boer Settlers

To exacerbate matters further, a border conflict (1834) - the sixth Border War - came to an end in an area already settled and called Queen Adelaide.

For years, rustling across the border would be followed by a raid to return the cattle, that would be followed by a raid on Boer homesteads which would finally be followed by a punitive raid on the Xhosa until peace of a sort was established.

This uneasy equilibrium changed when the British moved forces to the frontier and pushed the Xhosa back, demanding a significant penalty in cattle for their marauding.

Sir Harry Smith

The officer commanding the British was Sir Harry Smith (of more, later). During a scuffle between himself and the Xhosa chief, the chief was shot dead. When the report reached London, the manner of the chief's death caused consternation in liberal circles and Queen Adelaide was revoked, returned to the Xhosa and the settlers there (mainly Afrikaners) forced to move out.

Other Grievances

For many Boers, the state of constant flare-ups was then seen to continue indefinitely and this was the last straw. Other grievances were the creeping adoption of English as an official language, the immigration of 5,000 settlers into the eastern Cape Province (1820), the increasing price of land as the Afrikaner population increased, the emancipation of slaves and several years of drought.

In particular, two stand out - the emancipation of slaves (1833), which was timed to take effect during harvest and for which the owners received scant compensation (and were required to travel to London to collect it).

To the Boers, this law placed blacks and whites on an equal footing and was contrary to the laws of God. Secondly, the 'meddling' of the missionaries was a running sore.

Talks of Trekking away from the British

In many Boer homes, talk of moving away from the 'Kaffirs' (kafir - Arabic for 'unbeliever') and the English increased. The Boers could not move further east but there was frequent talk of an empty country to the north.

This country was not unknown. For many years, traders and hunters had crossed the Orange River into TransOrangia. One intrepid Afrikaner - Coenraad Buys - who had fallen foul of the law, had trekked all the way up to the northern Transvaal with his assorted wives, children and some English deserters. These 'Buys Volk' were known to have settled in lush, well-watered country in which their descendents live today.

The talks take action with the despatch of Kommissie Treks to search out the most favourable areas.

Next: The Voortrekkers send out Scouting Parties

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