The Anglo-Boer War Philatelic Society


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After Pretoria - The Guerrilla War

The Boers determined to continue fighting by guerrilla methods, led by Louis Botha, Koos de la Rey and Christiaan de Wet. Kruger was too old to go on commando; he was therefore to travel to Europe to drum up support. The 20-year-old Queen Wilhelmina sent her warship Gelderland to bring Oom Paul from Lorenço Marques to Europe.

He made a triumphal tour, winning moral support but no actual help; continental leaders were still in awe of Britain and her fleet.

His wife, Tante Sannie, was too ill to travel with him; she remained in Pretoria where she was respectfully treated; she died in July 1901 (Queen Victoria had died in January).

Roberts returned home, leaving Kitchener to tie up the ends. But already guerrilla action had started. To deal with it, Roberts borrowed from the Spanish example in Cuba in 1898: namely to round up the peasants and leave the countryside barren. When Kitchener took over he found that two things went wrong. First, the country was too large: the commandos still found supplies. Secondly, the camps became overcrowded and unhealthy. Through illness or starvation 26,000 Boers died (including 21,000 children) and 15,000 black people. The policy was not universally popular.

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